An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! And this certainly applies to dealing with crabgrass on your lawn. You should use a pre emergent crabgrass herbicide on your lawn every year to prevent crabgrass seeds from germinating and choking out your grass.
Spring is the best time to apply pre-emergent lawn weed control, and in this article, we’ll discuss some excellent pre emergent crabgrass preventers that you can buy online or locally (depending upon where you live).
Let’s get started!
– This article was updated in February of 2023 –
My Favorite Crabgrass Pre-Emergent Herbicides
Want the best product available? Choose Dimension – a liquid pre-emergent. Since Dithiopyr works as both a pre- and post-emergent you’ll get results even if you apply it a week or two late.
Prodiamine is one of the best-known and most trusted pre-emergent herbicides for crabgrass, and with Barricade you get an easy-to-spread granular product that will dovetail with any fertilizer program.
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If you want to save some money, I recommend (and use) Jonathan Green’s Crabgrass Preventer plus 20-0-3 Lawn Food. This weed and feed contains Dimension (my top choice) as its pre-emergent herbicide.
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My Picks for the Best Pre Emergent Crabgrass Herbicides
There’s nothing worse than Crabgrass. It’s ugly to look at, and it’s a pain to remove.
Stop it before those annual weed seeds germinate this spring with any of these pre-emergents:
(links are to each product)
- Dimension 2EW (Liquid Herbicide Concentrate)
- The Andersons Barricade (Prodiamine Granular Crabgrass Pre-Emergent)
- Jonathan Green Crabgrass Preventer plus Lawn Food (20-0-3 Fertilizer that Lasts 3 Months)
These first three products are my top choices to prevent crabgrass in your lawn.
You can read about each of them in-depth on my list of the best lawn pre emergent products.
But I also recommend the following products as effective lawn crabgrass pre emergent products:
- Scotts Turf Builder (Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food)
- Bonide BND60400 (Crabgrass and Weed Preventer)
- Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns (plus Crabgrass Preventer – Granules)
- Pennington 100536604 (UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plust Lawn Fertilizer)
I’ve tried each of these products myself over the years, and below I explain a bit more about each one, how they work, when to water them in, and more application tips.
And if you’re planning to plant grass seed this spring, remember that most pre-emergent herbicides will block germination of your grass seed.
|Pre-Emergent Weed Control When Overseeding|
|If you plan to overseed your lawn at a time of year when you would normally put down pre-emergent, I recommend using this product,* followed 5 weeks later with one of the pre-emergent products listed on this page. This will allow your grass seed to germinate, but blocks crabgrass for up to 6 weeks, buying you (and your new grass) some time.|
Scotts Turf Builder Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food
Scotts Turf Builder is a wonderful choice if you want to prevent crabgrass and several other weed species before they try to invade your lawn.
I like this product because it kills two birds with one stone – you’ll be feeding your lawn as you prevent crabgrass seeds from germinating, which helps set your yard up for season-long success.
Scotts Turf Builder Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food (Amazon link) is a fantastic product to apply to your lawn to quickly green it up after winter.
You won’t have to worry about any snow or very cold weather happening after application, as this kind of weather won’t impact product performance.
Within two or three days after you apply this turf builder, give your lawn around a half an inch of water. If it gets water from rain, you won’t have to do any extra watering, but if there’s no rain in the forecast, water it in yourself.
You won’t be able to use Scotts Turf Builder on bentgrass or dichondra lawns. However, you can use it on a variety of different kinds of turfgrass.
You should apply this product in the early part of spring. It will prevent germination of not only crabgrass but also poa annua and chickweed. Your lawn will be protected for the entire season.
Bonide Crabgrass and Weed Preventer for Lawns and Ornamental Beds
Bonide Crabgrass and Weed Preventer for Lawns and Ornamental Beds (Amazon link) is a pre emergent crabgrass herbicide product.
You should apply it to your lawn in the spring when soil temperatures are 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Applying this product will ensure that you don’t have any problems with crabgrass and other weeds (such as barnyard grass, annual bluegrass, chickweed, foxtail, spurge, and goosegrass) for the entire season.
This product is very easy to use and you can apply it to your lawn up to a month later than many of the other crabgrass prevention products and it will still be effective for you. When you use Bonide Crabgrass and Weed Preventer, you will enjoy up to four months of weed control. If you have a healthy, established lawn, you shouldn’t have to re-apply, as your lawn canopy should prevent light from reaching crabgrass seeds at that point.
If you buy this product, then you can cover 5,000 square feet of lawn. It’s a smaller bag, so you may have to purchase more than one to get complete coverage.
You can use BONIDE 60400 on both warm-season and cool-season grasses. It’s a granular product, making it easy to apply.
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Plus Crabgrass Preventer Granules
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Plus Crabgrass Preventer Granules (Amazon link) is another pre emergent crabgrass herbicide. It also prevents weeds such as thistle, dandelion, clover, and chickweed, as well as many other undesired invaders.
This product will provide as many as five months of weed control for your lawn.
As long as you use it as directed on the packaging, it shouldn’t cause any harm to your grass, but be careful not to over-apply it.
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns is recommended for a variety of different types of established turfgrasses, including Fine and Tall Fescues, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Perennial Ryegrass. You can also use it for Buffalograss, Zoysia species of grass, among others.
If you apply this product in the spring, then you should do so before or at the point when you see the first dandelion flowers emerge. You can also apply it at other times of year, but if you sync your first application with the first sighting of dandelions you’ll have good results.
As with any granular product, an even application at the recommended rate will determine your results.
The 10.8 pounds of product in the bag will cover as many as 3,000 square feet of space according to the manufacturer. It’s a good choice for small lawns.
Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Lawn Fertilizer
Pennington 100536604 UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Lawn Fertilizer (Amazon link) will provide up to five months of weed control for your lawn.
With a 30-0-4 high-nitrogen fertilizer ratio, it allows for very quick greening, and it’s a great choice if you want a thick, lush lawn.
It’s the high nitrogen content of this crabgrass preventer plus lawn fertilizer that makes it so effective for giving you a dark green grass color. It boasts 10.56% slow release nitrogen content.
This is a premium blended fertilizer and it has excellent plant nutrient content. It will ensure extended feeding of your lawn for as many as three months.
You should apply this product in early spring, sometime between February and April. I recommend applying it to your lawn when the air temperatures are still under 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and when soil temperature is around 45 degrees. This should be before weed seed germination.
Final Thoughts on Pre Emergent Crabgrass Herbicide
All of the products listed above will do an excellent job at preventing crabgrass on your lawn. Just make a selection and get ready to enjoy a beautiful property.
And if your pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide application doesn’t block every bit of crabgrass, you can kill crabgrass with a selective herbicide like Tenacity, my choice for the best lawn weed killer.