What Does Crabgrass Look Like?

Crabgrass Identification Help

What does crabgrass look like? will be the first question you'll need to answer in your fight against this stubborn lawn problem. It only makes sense that you'll need to confirm what it really is before you can start the process of getting rid of crabgrass.


What Is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is an annual plant with characteristics of a perennial, that reproduces only from seed that germinates in late spring to early summer.

You might be amazed to know that just one plant can produce over 150,000 seeds.


The stems lie very close to the ground and produce new roots from stem nodes. These produce new stems along the ground with side shoots that expand into circular clumps about 12 inches in diameter. Some say it gets its name because these runners look like crab legs.

When the seedling first comes up it has a wide leaf blade of about 1/4 inch. This is an early crabgrass identification sign as the thicker blade contrasts the much thinner blade of lawn grass.



The leaves or blades are a short and yellow-green in color when young.

They turn purplish with age, being another clue to crabgrass identification.

Check for this purple color in late summer or early fall as another confirmation that it is, in fact, a crabgrass plant.

Types of Crabgrass

Exploring the question, what does crabgrass look like, you might be interested to know that there are two common types of crabgrass found on lawns.

Small Crabgrass

Known as Smooth Crabgrass as the name suggests, it has no hair on the leaf blades. The blades, being 3/16 inch, are usually purplish-brown in color and the stems grow from 1 to 6 inches high. This variety is more common to northern areas.

Large Crabgrass

Commonly known as Hairy Crabgrass, and yes, it has distinct hair on the leaves and leaf sheaths. The blades are 3/16 to 2/5 inch wide and have a greenish-brown coloring.

These stems grow from 12 to 48 inches high if left untouched. When mowed it adapts to running close to the ground. This is more familiar to us in southern Canada and the United States.

Crabgrass Identification And Where It Grows

Crabgrass growth is directly affected by how much water and sunlight it receives. It generally prefers sunny, bare spots on your lawn and thrives on lawns that are under watered, under fertilized, with poor drainage and thin grass.

Take note of these particular areas on your lawn that are more prone to lawn weeds. Yet another good reason to practice lawn weed and disease prevention as the best strategy.

Now that you have the answer to 'What does crabgrass look like?', you're on your way to winning the battle against this invasive and fast spreading weed-like grass. It will require a focused effort to kill crabgrass as it can easily overtake existing lawn grass.


Crabgrass Killer




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