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Crabgrass preventer herbicide: usage, risks, alternatives

Crabgrass preventer herbicide is a chemical product that prevents weeds from growing in your lawn. It will get rid of the plants at their earliest stage of growth. The herbicide works best when the weeds are young and actively growing.

However, the effectiveness of crabgrass preventers depends on things like soil conditions, rainfall, and temperature.

Even if you follow the directions of use, as recommended by the manufacturer, the chemical may not control the weeds as you wanted, if the conditions aren’t ideal.

You can apply crabgrass preventer liquid on your lawn to control weeds. However, the timing must be accurate for this to work effectively.

If you treat the grass early, the herbicide will break down before the seeds germinate. If you use it too late, the unwanted plants will occupy your lawn and make it challenging for you to control.

How does crabgrass preventer work?

When you apply crabgrass preventer on your lawn, the herbicide will dissolve and create a thin barrier at the surface of the soil. It will then intercept crabgrass seeds as they germinate.

Once the seeds come into contact with the herbicide, they will stop growing. The whole process will not affect the growth of your lawn.

Can I use a crabgrass preventer without fertilizer?

You can use a crabgrass preventer to treat your lawn without applying fertilizer. However, the recommended way is to use both products at the same time.

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The fertilizer will provide enough nutrients to the grass and fight off the weed. It also helps to prevent other unwanted plants from invading your lawn as the grass grows.

When should you apply crabgrass preventer?

The best time to apply crabgrass preventer varies significantly. Crabgrass is an annual weed that spreads to any lawn by seeds. It can grow in any soil as long as it is getting enough supply of water and sunlight.

You can apply crabgrass preventer in the late spring. It will prevent the weeds from developing in the summer.

But because the plant spreads by seeds, the ideal time to treat your lawn is when the weed begins to germinate. Alternatively, apply a crabgrass preventer during fall when the soil temperature is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Best crabgrass preventers

It can be challenging to choose the best crabgrass preventer because of the many products available.

The best herbicide to buy will depend on the recommended time for applying the chemical and how severe the unwanted plants have infected your lawn.

Here are the best crabgrass killers worth considering.

1. Scotts WeedEx Prevent with Halts

Scotts WeedEx Crabgrass Preventer
Scotts WeedEx Crabgrass Preventer

Scotts WeedEx Prevent with Halts is a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents unwanted plants from growing on your lawn throughout the season.

It is the best chemical to apply in the spring to control unwanted plants and other problem weeds before they grow. You can also use Scotts crabgrass preventer in the fall to prevent winter weeds.

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The advantage of using the product is it will still work regardless of rain, snow, or freezing weather. You can buy the crabgrass preventer online from Amazon.

2. GreenView Fairway Formula

GreenView Fairway Formula Crabgrass preventer
GreenView Fairway Formula Crabgrass preventer.

GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed & Feed + Crabgrass Preventer is a pre-emergent herbicide. It works by preventing weeds from growing on your lawn throughout the season.

Also, it contains fertilizer that helps to speed up root growth to improve nutrient absorption. The herbicide will withstand the stresses of drought and heat.

Spring is the best time to apply GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed & Feed + Crabgrass Preventer. You can check the price or buy the product online.

3. Jonathan Green Green Up

Jonathan Green Green Up
Jonathan Green Green Up

Jonathan Green Green Up Crabgrass Preventer plus Fertilizer is a crabgrass control herbicide controlling unwanted crabgrass seeds before and after germinating.

It also contains fertilizer that releases slowly to provide your lawn with nitrogen and other nutrients. You can apply it up to four weeks later, even when the weeds have germinated.

Jonathan Green Green Up Crabgrass Preventer plus Fertilizer starts working immediately after you spray it. You can get it on Amazon.

What are the risks of using crabgrass preventers?

Crabgrass preventer works by preventing weed seeds from germinating. Since it is non-selective on seeds, it can also prevent grass seeds from germinating.

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Before seeding or applying the herbicide in the spring, ensure you rake the bare spot to break the pre-emergent barrier. Consider seeding your lawn after spreading the chemical.

What are the best crabgrass-preventer alternatives?

You can use different natural products to prevent crabgrass from growing on your lawn. These include:

  • Corn gluten meal.
  • Vinegar – You can apply 20% vinegar on weeds or 30% vinegar on tougher weeds.
  • Salt – Salt contains sodium chloride that can kill unwanted weeds from your lawn. Pour a solution of one part salt and two parts water directly on the crabgrass.

Digging is also another effective method of getting rid of crabgrass.  You can pull out the weeds while young to prevent their further growth.


You can use crabgrass preventer herbicide to control the growth of weeds on your lawn. The chemical works by inhibiting the germination of weed seeds.

The best time to apply the herbicide is in late spring or fall. If you do not want to use chemicals on your lawn, you can opt for corn gluten meal, vinegar, and salt as alternatives to crabgrass preventers.

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