If your childhood was anything like ours, you probably spent many hot spring and summer days in the dirt. Not playing, mind you. Weeding. Those weeds were everywhere, even — or sometimes especially — in the places we just weeded last week. And now that we’re grown up, we think to ourselves, “I still have to deal with this stuff?” If you call Jay-Lan Lawn Care, weeds like crabgrass can be a distant memory.

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is a family of broadleaf weeds from the genus digitaria, and may be either annual or perennial. Some digitaria varietals are actually used for food or forage, but those aren’t the kinds that are especially common in Iowa.

  • Digitaria sanguinalis, also known as large or hairy crabgrass, is the most common variety of crabgrass. It’s an annual characterized by its size and its fuzzy appearance.
  • Digitaria ischaemum, or smooth crabgrass, lacks the hairs found on other common types of crabgrass. It also doesn’t grow to the same height as large crabgrass.
  • Digitaria ciliaris, or southern crabgrass, isn’t quite as common. It gets its name from the cilia, or fine hairs, that cover its low, mat-like growth.

Dealing With Crabgrass

Crabgrass is common and quick-growing. It’s a pain in the neck, but it’s also easy to eradicate for good if you know what to do.


Crabgrass doesn’t have an especially deep root system, so careful pulling is often sufficient to remove the offending plants. Don’t think that your work is over, however; each plant releases up to 150,000 seeds, which can add up to an awful lot of weeding. If you’re thinking, “There’s got to be a better way,” there is.

Pre-Emergent Crabgrass Treatment

Pre-emergent is a key part of weed control. It’s surprisingly effective if your timing is right. Early spring brings rains and warm weather, which causes all kinds of greenery to grow and thrive — including a few “visitors” you’d rather not see on your lawn.

Pre-emergent involves well-timed chemical applications to kill weeds off before they even have the chance to sprout and take hold.

Proper Seeding and Watering

Crabgrass can grow up to a foot in diameter, and when it dies at the end of the season, it leaves a patch of bare soil behind. That bare spot is prime real estate for next year’s crabgrass.

Many Siouxland homeowners think the crabgrass is killing their lawn, but they’ve actually got the cause-and-effect backwards. Crabgrass thrives on your lawn’s poor health, rather than causing it.

That gives you your next clue as to keeping crabgrass from coming back. A healthy lawn that has uniform grass coverage, adequate moisture, and a dense root system, is more likely to thrive. A thriving lawn, in turn, chokes out weeds instead of giving them plenty of elbow room. If your lawn needs touch-ups, our overseeding services can help.

Lawn Maintenance Program

Jay-Lan Lawn Care offers a unique five-step lawn care program designed to eradicate crabgrass and make sure that once it goes, it stays gone. In addition to pre-emergent care to ensure that crabgrass doesn’t bloom in the first place, we also apply repeated courses of seasonally-appropriate fertilizers and broadleaf weed control agents so that your lawn thrives and crabgrass doesn’t have a fighting chance.

Siouxland Lawn Care Service

A healthy lawn is equal parts art and science. Jay-Lan Lawn Care takes care of the science so you have more time to turn your lawn into a lush, green work of art. As an added bonus, you’ll have more time this summer to spend with friends and family, instead of abusing your knees by spending hours weeding.

We have more than four decades’ experience solving Sioux City homeowners’ lawn care challenges. Whoever said the grass was greener on the other side of the fence probably lived next door to one of our customers, so why not call us at 712-252-5252 today?