Crabgrass: How To Fix Your Burned Out Lawn

This is a follow-up to my previous post on fixing your burned out lawn

I received this comment in my inbox today:

I just read your blog on lawns. Well written!  My only question is, Will you come help me pull all of my crabgrass by hand?  Also, if I don’t get the crabgrass out now, what happens in the spring?  I  thatched and aerated this weekend.  I overseeded as well as put some lime down.  The lawn literally is a huge pile of crabgrass.  I seeded in the hopes that in the spring the grass would win out over the weeds.  Any suggestions? 

– Dwight, Bethlehem, PA.

Dwight: Thanks for the email.
Granted, pulling crabgrass by hand is pretty unrealistic if it’s running amok in a large lawn. If the crabgrass is really out of control like mine is, the best thing you can do is wait.

Fall frost will kill the crabgrass as it does many weeds. Early in the Spring, around the time Crocuses bloom, spread Corn Gluten Meal on your lawn much as you would fertilizer. Corn Gluten Meal is a pre-emergent treatment for weed seeds of all kinds. Unlike your lawn grass which grows via rhizomes and stolons , crabgrass goes to seed. The corn gluten meal interferes with the germination of the crabgrass seeds and most other weed seeds, but you must spread it very early in the spring before the seeds germinate. But don’t apply corn gluten meal if you’ve already seeded your lawn, as it will stop your grass seed from germinating as well – it affects all seeds.

If you use Corn Gluten Meal for a few seasons, you should notice less crabgrass and other weeds in your lawn. For an additional bonus, as the corn gluten meal breaks down, it provides nitrogen for your grass, just like fertilizer. I know that waiting until Spring will be torture (it kills me to see my lawn now, too), but if you don’t make room for the grass by removing the weeds first, there’s little chance your grass seed will germinate or grow into healthy lawn.

Corn Gluten Meal can be purchased at most nurseries.

Buy on Amazon: Natural Guard Corn Gluten Meal Weed And Feed

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About Todd Heft

Todd Heft is an organic gardener and freelance garden writer who lives in the Lehigh Valley, PA and has gardened for most of his life. When he isn't writing or reading about organic gardening, he's gardening. His first book, "Homegrown Tomatoes: The Step-By-Step Guide to Growing Delicious Organic Tomatoes In Your Garden" is available on Amazon now. Google

2 Responses to Crabgrass: How To Fix Your Burned Out Lawn

  1. Marsha says:

    I have a yard filled with winter-killed crab grass. Just bought Scott’s Starter Fertizlizer with Halt. Grass seed may be broadcast at the same time as the aforementioned fertilizer. I was told to plow up the dead area, rake, then apply the fertilizer and grass seed. Any opinion on this plan of attack?