Home Gardening Dallisgrass vs. Crabgrass (Lawn Weeds)

Dallisgrass vs. Crabgrass (Lawn Weeds) – GIY Plants

Keeping a lush, green lawn involves dealing with various weed challenges. Homeowners encounter two of the most troublesome grassy weeds: dallisgrass and crabgrass.

Both weeds can disrupt the appearance and health of your lawn, making it vital to understand their differences for effective weed control.

Dallisgrass vs. Crabgrass Identification

As the first step in weed control, it’s crucial to identify the grassy weed infesting your lawn accurately. The appearance and growth patterns of dallisgrass and crabgrass are distinctive, and knowing these differences can help you target the correct weed for treatment.

Dallisgrass Identification

Large patches of dallisgrass growing in lawn.

Dallisgrass is a perennial grassy weed known for its coarse texture and resilience. A distinct feature of this weed is its seed head. Dallisgrass seed heads are much larger than many other grassy weeds, making them relatively easy to spot.

The seed heads grow atop the stem and have multiple side branches with small black spots. Dallisgrass grows in thick clumps and tends to be taller than most lawn grasses.

Crabgrass Identification

Patches of crabgrass growing in the lawn.

Crabgrass, on the other hand, is an annual weed that grows lower to the ground. The growth of crabgrass is characterized by its sprawling nature, spreading out from a central root system.

The blades of crabgrass are broader and a different shade of green compared to most turfgrasses. Crabgrass seed heads are less complex than dallisgrass, extending on long, slender stems.

Dallisgrass and Crabgrass Control

Controlling these two weeds requires different approaches due to their varied growth patterns and life cycles. A well-maintained lawn is the first defense against these weeds, as a healthy lawn can out-compete weed growth.

Dallisgrass Control

Since dallisgrass is a perennial weed with a robust root system, it can be challenging to control. A pre-emergent herbicide early in the spring can prevent dallisgrass seeds from germinating.

However, for established clumps, you may need to use a post-emergent herbicide specifically designed to target dallisgrass. For persistent patches, manual removal is necessary.

Crabgrass Control

Crabgrass control primarily focuses on preventing seed germination using pre-emergent herbicides in early spring. Maintaining a thick, healthy lawn can also help prevent crabgrass from establishing. Once established, crabgrass can be treated with post-emergent herbicides or removed manually.

A well-rounded weed control program often involves a combination of chemical control, proper lawn care practices, and sometimes, the help of a lawn care professional. Remember, the best defense against weeds is a dense, healthy lawn.


Accurate identification is the first step towards successful control when dealing with dallisgrass vs. crabgrass. With the right strategies and ongoing care, winning the battle against these stubborn lawn weeds and maintaining a beautiful, healthy lawn is possible.

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