The 5 Best Crabgrass Killers

Crabgrass is an invasive annual weed that can quickly get out of hand if not properly prevented using pre-emergents, or killing crabgrass using post-emergents herbicides. Crabgrass will begin to germinate when the soil temperatures reach approximately 55 degrees for four or more consecutive days, and continue to germinate throughout the spring and early summer months as the ground temps approach 70 degrees. 

Smooth crabgrass and large crabgrass are the two most popular species of crabgrass in cool season lawns – particularly the Northeast.  Applying a pre-emergent – such as prodiamine in early April as soil temperates are consistently in the low 50s, and a second application such as dimension in late May as soil temperates begin to hit the 60s – will help prevent the germination of new crabgrass.

But what happens if you miss an application in controlling crabgrass and need to take action? You need an effective crabgrass killer that will both be safe for your good turf grass (TTTF, KGB, Ryegrass) but will quickly kill crabgrass. Here is a list of the Top-5 liquid herbicide crabgrass killers.


  1. Drive XLR8 Herbicide Crabgrass Killer

  2. Drive XLR8 Crabgrass Killer Herbicide


    Drive XLR8 Herbicide Crabgrass Killer is one of the highest rated, best selling crabgrass herbicides on DoMyOwn.com. It contains over 18% quinclorac as the main active ingredient, which is undeniably the best herbicide to kill crabgrass – particularly in mature crabgrass plants in more than three tiller stage.

    • Apply 1 .45 fluid ounces of Drive XLR8 per 1,000 square feet
    • Do not mow 2 days before or after applying Drive XLR8
    • Do not Do not water or irrigate for 24 hours after application
    • Do not apply to fine fescue unless it’s part of a blend
    • One half gallon (64 oz.) covers one acre of established turf

    Drive is best used when with a Methylated Seed Oil (MSO)

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  3. Tenacity Herbicide


    Arguably the most popular and versatile herbicide is Tenacity, by Sygenta. This remarkable product contains Mesotrione as its main active ingredient. Mesotrione is one of the very few herbicides that are safe to apply as a pre-emergent at seeding. Tenacity is also very effective as a post emergent crabgrass killer, particularly in younger crabgrass in the one-to-three tiller stage. Bleaching of crabgrass should occur within one week of application. A second application two-weeks later may be needed to completely eradicate the crabgrass.


    • Tenacity is best as a post emergent herbicide when used with a non-ionic surfactant (NIS)
    • .

    • Mix 1/2 teaspoon of Tenacity with 1.5 teaspoons of NIS per gallon per 1,0000 sq. ft.
    • Add 1/2 of your total water to your tank sprayer. Add Tenacity + NIS. Then add the remaining 1/2 of the water

    Downfalls to this product:

    • Tenacity can cause temporary bleaching of good turf
    • Tenacity is best suited for smaller, younger crabgrass plants. Quinclorac should be use on any crabgrass plants that are larger than the three tiller stage
    • When used as a pre-emergent during seeding, the efficacy will last just approximately 30 days

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  5. Quinclorac 75 DF

  6. Quinclorac 75 WD

    Quinclorac 75 DF is Lawn Phix’s choice for crabgrass killers. Quali-Pro is a company that makes effective products at a very affordable price. The “75” refers to the 75% active ingredient, quinclorac; the “DF” means dry flowable which is a dry granular product that is easily mixed and dissolved in water to make a liquid sprayable herbicide.

    Quinclorac 75 DF works best on killing crabgrass when used with a non-ionic surfactant (NIS).

    Downfalls to this product:

    • The Dry-Flowable needs to be dissolved thoroughly. If not, it may not suspend properly which may cause the product to spray an inaccurate ratio of active ingredients.
    • If not dissolved and broken down properly, pellets may clog the nozzle of the sprayer.

    You can also buy Quinclorac in 1.5 L liquid, too

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    View Crabgrass Killers on Amazon

  7. Trimec Crabgrass Concentrate


    Trimec Crabgrass Concentrate is an excellent crabgrass killer and all around broad spectrum weed killer. The manufacturer PBI Gordon Corporation is a very reputable company. They also manufacture popular herbicides such as Speedzone, Surge, and my personal favorite pre-emergent to be used at seeding, Tuperspan (far superior than Mesotrione).

    For spot treatments of Trimec Crabgrass Concentrate, use 2.5 oz. per gallon (400 sq. ft.). And according to the label for larger blanket spraying, use 6.4 oz. per gallon in a backpack sprayer, per 1,000 sq. ft.

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    When it comes to crabgrass killers, you want to make sure you’re buying the right product for your lawn and turf type. Tenacity is a great option particularly if you plan on using this as a pre-emergent during seeding or overseeding your lawn. But herbicides containing quinclorac may be your best weapon against larger, more mature crabgrass plants.


  9. MSM Turf Herbicide

  10. MSM Turf Herbicide

    Containing 60% Metsulfuron Methyl,MSM Turf Herbicide is a very effective crabgrass post emergent killer, and a little bit goes a very long way. It is very potent in a very low use rate. Higher rates of 0.5 – 1.0 oz. of product will cover an acre of turf. Keep in mind that this product, like Tenacity, may cause temporary chlorosis in your turf color – especially when used with a NIS. There’s a lot of precautions on the label – such as when used on specific grass types and when liquid nitrogen is used as a carrier – so be sure to read it carefully before spraying. 

    • Fescue & Bluegrass: Use 0.25 – 0.5 oz. per acre
    • Ryegrass: 0.125 – 0.25 oz. per acre
    • Can be tank mixed with 2,4-D 
    • Only use a non-ionic surfactant

    Downfalls to this product:

    • The major drawbacks to this crabgrass killer is that it can be hard to mix in smaller batches. Since this is measured by the acre, it’s difficult to measure small amounts.
    • This product is ideal for commercial landscape companies, or DIY homeowners with large lawns of an acre or more.
    • The Dry-Flowable needs to be dissolved thoroughly. If not, it may not suspend properly which may cause the product to spray an inaccurate ratio of active ingredients.
    • If not dissolved and broken down properly, pellets may clog the nozzle of the sprayer.
    • Some industry professional such as Matt Martin of the Grass Factor suggest not using this product on cool season turf, despite the label.

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    We hope this list of post emergent crabgrass herbicides was helpful. Think we missed some? Or want to let others know more about one of these crabgrass killers? Feel free to comment below!

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