Crabgrass vs. Tall Fescue

How to tell if crabgrass it taking over the lawn

All too often coarse tall fescue is incorrectly identified as crabgrass. Tall fescue is a thick bladed fast growing and uncontrollable perennial grass that usually grows in clumps in the middle of a lawn. Tall fescue is NOT controllable without killing the desirable grasses surrounding the tall fescue.

Crabgrass, however, is an annual grass that typically germinates during the month of May and will show up in a lawn sometime around the middle of June or early July. Unlike coarse tall fescue, crabgrass is controllable using a special crabgrass killer called Drive XLR8. Crabgrass is light green in color and usually grows in clumps on the edges of the lawn or in thin areas. People are often misinformed and are under the impression that crabgrass is only controllable with a pre-emergent weed control. Crabgrass is easily controlled after it has germinated by using either Drive XLR8 or a product called Tenacity, which are both post=emergent crabgrass killers. Crabgrass can be killed without damaging your desirable grasses these sprays and the crabgrass will die between 3-10 days after the application.

Crabgrass vs. Fescue Quick Reference:

  • Crabgrass is an annual grass that is lime green or lighter colored and typically germinates in June and July.
  • Crabgrass can easily be controlled after it emerges using either Drive XLR8 or Tenacity. Both of these pesticides kill crabgrass, but Drive XLR8 is also an excellent bindweed killer.
  • Coarse tall fescue is a perennial grass that is a dark green colored grass type that grows in the lawn all year long.
  • Coarse tall fescue cannot be selectively controlled, meaning it cannot sprayed without killing the desirable turfgrass. The only way to kill coarse tall fescue is to kill it with a product like roundup and then reseed the damaged areas.

If you have crabgrass growing in your Boulder or Fort Collins area lawn, call Organo-Lawn today and schedule a Drive XLR8 application to kill the crabgrass quickly.

Examples of Coarse Tall Fescue - (Click on Images to Enlarge)

There are a number of types of coarse tall fescue grasses and this is an example of this ugly clumping grass. This grass can only be killed with a weed and grass killer.

Examples of Crabgrass - (Click to Enlarge)

This is a close-up of immature crabgrass. June is the best time of year to kill this annual grass. It is best to treat this grass in the early stages, before it spreads seeds.

Coarse tall fescue, pictured above, is uncontrollable with selective controls. Only a non-selective control like Roundup can kill tall fescue, but it will also kill the desireable grasses around it.

This is young crabgrass, which is an annual grass that germinates in late May and is usually first seen growing in lawns in June. It is easily controlled using Drive XLR8 or Tenacity.

This is a closeup of a coarse tall fescue grass blade. This grass type is not to be confused with turf type tall fescue, which is an attractive tall fescue blend.

This is an example of mature crabgrass. At this stage the crabgrass has already developed seeds and is more difficult to control compared to young crabgrass.

Learn how to prevent crabgrass from taking over your lawn.

FAQ - Crabgrass vs Tall Fescue

Why won’t my crabgrass die?

It’s possible that the problem grass you are trying to kill isn’t crabgrass, you may be seeing coarse tall fescue or a thick bladed perennial grass. These perennial grasses are not controllable using a selective grass killer.

Crabgrass is an annual grass that typically germinates in lawns during the month of May and becomes visible in lawns during June and will continue to grow until the first frost of the year. Crabgrass is easily controlled using either Drive XLR8 or Tenacity, both of which are specialty weed controls.

Lawn Care Services FAQ

How do I kill coarse tall fescue in a lawn?

There is currently no selective control for coarse tall fescue. It is currently impossible to kill the coarse tall fescue without also killing the desirable grass in your lawn. If you do want to kill the coarse tall fescue in a lawn you can use glyphosate, but it will kill the good grass and there will be a dead spot. The dead grass can be removed and reseeded or sodded.

How to kill crabgrass in a lawn without chemicals?

Crabgrass is an annual grass that will only grow in areas of the lawn that are thin, stressed, or bare. The best defense against crabgrass is a thick and lush lawn. If the lawn does get crabgrass the most effective controls are chemical controls called Drive XLR8 and Tenacity. If you are looking for an organic crabgrass control, the product One Earth Weed Control will kill crabgrass organically by applying two applications spaced seven days apart.

Crabgrass Killer Boulder