How to Kill Crab Grass Without Killing the Yard

Crab grass is unsightly and extraordinarily difficult to remove once it has taken hold in your lawn. The only way to remove crab grass from your lawn without risking damage to the desirable grass is to pull it from the lawn by hand.

However, if you have a large lawn or a lot of crab grass, removing it by hand is not likely to be your first choice for how to spend your Saturday. Another good choice is a commercial crab grass killer that uses a method designed to reduce damage to your lawn.

  1. Cut a six-inch piece from a three- to four-inch diameter PVC pipe, or roll a piece of sturdy cardboard into a large tube.

  2. Mix a commercial crab grass killer in a tank sprayer with the required amount of water. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate proportion of chemical to water.

  3. Place the PVC pipe or cardboard tube over the crab grass and spray the weed killer down the tube. Repeat this process for every tuft of crab grass in your lawn.


Treat your lawn with a pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer in the fall and a fertilizer in the spring to strengthen your grass. Sturdier grass is less likely to allow weeds to grow.


Do not water the lawn after applying the weed killer or it will wash onto the grass and kill it. Do not treat the crab grass if rain is forecast for the next two days. Turn off your sprinkler system to avoid washing the weed killer onto the rest of your lawn. Always wear gloves when working with weed killer.