What Does Crabgrass Look Like?

Would you know what crabgrass looks like if you saw it? Chances are, if you’re not a lawn and garden enthusiast, you might not.

Crabgrass is one of the most common types of weed you can find in your yard. It can be difficult to get rid of, and in order to do so effectively, it’s important to be able to identify it. That way you can control and eliminate it before it takes over your lawn.

This blog post will help you learn all about this pesky weed – what crabgrass looks like, how to get rid of it, and more! Stay tuned for more information on this pesky weed.

What is Crabgrass? 

Crabgrass is a type of grassy weed that can be a major problem in lawns and gardens. The scientific name for crabgrass is Digitaria, and there are two main types: Digitaria sanguinalis and Digitaria ischaemum.

Digitaria sanguinalis is also called Large Crabgrass or Hairy Crabgrass, and Digitaria ischaemum is sometimes called Smooth Crabgrass. These are the two most prevalent types of crabgrass in the United States.

Crabgrass is an annual plant, which means it only lives for one year. It grows from seed each spring, and produces seeds of its own in late summer/early fall. The plant dies back in winter, but the seeds remain dormant in the soil, waiting to germinate the following spring.

Crabgrass is an opportunistic weed, meaning it thrives in conditions that are not ideal for other plants. It prefers warm weather and dry soil, and will often take over areas of a lawn that are stressed or damaged.

Where Does Crabgrass Grow?

Crabgrass is an annual grass that germinates in late spring or early summer. It’s a warm-season grass, which means it grows best in temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crabgrass is also an opportunistic plant, meaning it thrives in disturbed soil. This makes it particularly adept at colonizing bare patches or poorly-drained areas in lawns. Crabgrass is also very drought-tolerant, which further contributes to its success as a weed.

It is so prolific that one crabgrass plant can produce as many as 150,000 seeds throughout the year. The seeds develop in the late spring and early summer, frequently outperforming cultivated lawn grasses.

Despite its well-deserved reputation as a nuisance, crabgrass does have some redeeming qualities. For one thing, it’s an excellent source of food for birds and other wildlife. Crabgrass seeds are particularly high in protein, making them a valuable food source during the winter months.

How to Identify Crabgrass

Crabgrass is a type of thick, mat-forming grass that is often considered to be a nuisance. It has thick blades that can crowd out other plants, and it tends to spread quickly. If you think you might have crabgrass in your garden, there are a few things you can look for.

Visual Characteristics 

First, check for thick patches of grass that are spreading quickly. Crabgrass typically has a lighter green color than other types of grass, so it may stand out in your lawn. You should also look for curved or V-shaped blades of grass. Each blade of crabgrass is usually about 1/8 inch wide, and the leaves are arranged in pairs along the stem.

Another visual cue that you may have crabgrass is the presence of seed heads. These are small, round clusters of seeds that form at the ends of the stems in late summer or early fall. Seed heads are typically about 1/4 inch wide, and they can be either green or brown.

If you’re still not sure whether you have crabgrass, pull up a few blades of grass and check the roots. Crabgrass has shallow, fibrous roots that grow close to the surface of the soil. These roots are often reddish-brown or yellow in color.

Growth Stages

Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that germinates in late spring and early summer. The first stage of growth is the leaf stage, during which time the plant looks like a tiny corn plant.

However, the blades are still fairly large even at this point; some can be 1/4 inch or more in thickness.

The second stage is the stem elongation stage, during which the plant produces long stems that can reach up to 2 feet in length. These stems grow in a radial pattern that shoots outward from the center like a star.

Knowing the different stages of crabgrass growth can help you better eliminate this pesky weed.

Other Unique Traits

You will most likely find crabgrass in bare patches of your yard that get a lot of sun and not as much water. They can also grow well in disturbed soil, so look along walkways or next to the road.

It also does not like competition, so it will want to grow outward as fast as possible and take over the soil around it. This also means it’ll likely grow where no other plants or grass grow.

Plants that look like Crabgrass

There are several types of plants that can resemble crabgrass. Bermuda grass and Quackgrass are two of the most common offenders.

Both of these plants have long, thin leaves that can be tricky to tell apart from crabgrass. However, there are a few key differences that can help you identify them.

Bermuda grass is more likely to have a purple tint to its leaves, while quackgrass is more likely to have a yellow tint. In addition, Bermuda grass tends to grow in clumps, while quackgrass spreads by sending out runners (aka stolons).

If you’re still not sure, pull up a few blades of grass and check the roots. Bermuda grass and quackgrass both have deep, fibrous roots, while crabgrass has shallow, fibrous roots that grow close to the surface of the soil.

How to Remove Crabgrass

There are multiple ways you can get rid of crabgrass and other weeds that are taking over your yard.

One method is to physically remove it from the ground. You can do this by hand or with a hoe. Make sure you do this on a day when the soil is moist and warm.

Vinegar is a great all-natural solution. Simply pour some on the crabgrass and the surrounding areas. It will kill the roots and make the crabgrass shrivel up.

Another method is to use herbicides. There are several weed killers that are effective against crabgrass. For example, use a glyphosate based herbicide like RoundUp Ready-To-Use Poison Ivy Plus Weed Killer. Make sure you are safe when using weed killer, however, and that you only spray the plants you want to get rid of!

Ending Thoughts

Crabgrass can be a pesky weed to get rid of, but with the right information it is possible. By knowing what crabgrass looks like and where it grows, you can more easily identify it and remove it before it takes over your lawn, keeping your lawn healthy and looking great.

Make sure to keep an eye out for these telltale signs of crabgrass so you can nip this weed in the bud! We hope this article has helped you to learn more about crabgrass and how to identify it correctly in different growth stages.

Have you ever dealt with crabgrass before? What tips do you have for removing it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.