Crabgrass is of very high nuisance value to lawn owners everywhere, as a lawn weed it is both a prolific seeder and spreader, overtaking and killing lawns as it continues to expand. All lawn owners should remove this weed as soon as possible or risk massive damage to their lawns. The damage occurs when crabgrass continues to spread and kill off your lawn, as the Crabgrass dies off in Winter, all that is left is bare patches that cannot be repaired over the Winter months as the lawn has gone into a state of dormancy.
Problems worsen when in the following Spring we begin to see the emergence of even more Crabgrass / Crowsfoot Grass that was seeded from the previous season, and the cycle of lawn destruction continues. Crabgrass has even been listed as one of the 12 worst weeds in the world.
Crabgrass grows flat along the ground with wide leaves on very tough and wiry stems, the leaves of young plants will be rolled over in half, opening as the leaf matures. Masses of seeds are produced on several finger-like branches on top of the numerous stems produced by each Crowsfoot Grass plant.
Crabgrass is very difficult to eradicate with selective herbicides as the weed is very similar in nature to many desirable grass varieties we use as lawns. Take note of your turf variety before going to the Nursery to purchase a selective weed killer, as different poisons to kill this plant can kill some turf varieties. Instances are also arising of new tolerance of Glyphosate poisons.
The best form of control is to maintain a healthy lawn where a Crabgrass infestation in unlikely to take off, following that is to remove the weed as soon as it is noticed and before it can produce any seeds. Spot poisoning with Glyphosate could also be an option.
Summer Grass and Crabgrass (Crowsfoot Grass) as they are known by their common names in Australia look very similar and can be confused for each other. For ease of identification we have included pictures in both articles.
Further confusion arises when a search on the internet produces pages from elsewhere in the world where these names can be interchanged with each other. For any searching, always use the Botanical Name.