All Growth Stages

A Photo Gallery To Help Identify Crab Grass

Crabgrass pictures can be found in many resources, but are not always helpful. What do you do when the weeds you want to identify are much younger or older than the photo of crabgrass you have available?

It is important to know for sure, if crab grass is the weed you need to get rid of, especially if you find it in your lawn. Did you know that different growing conditions can cause amazing variations in plants, even those just a few feet apart?

The following pictures offer a good cross section of samples to aid in crabgrass identification.

You will also find links at the end of this article that give a detailed description of how this troublesome weed grows. An explanation of how to kill crab grass should also be useful.

Now let's consider these crabgrass pictures.

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Pictures of Crab Grass In Different Stages Of Growth

Crabgrass seedlings Crab grass seedlings, compared to a quarter for size. At this stage, the seedlings may still be susceptible to some pre-emergent weed killers.
Click here for more info on When to Apply Preemergents.
Or see a Users Guide:
PreEmergents for Lawns
Crab grass seedling A young crab grass seedling already has a new side branch ready to shoot out.
Crabgrass small plant The coin shows it is still a small plant, but this weed is already branching out in the typical crabgrass pattern. When crabgrass has room, it likes to spread.
Young crabgrass weed The wide leaves, or blades, and dense growth are typical of crabgrass that has plenty of sun, moisture, and no competition.
Crab grass growing large This larger crab grass weed demonstrates the star shaped pattern often associated with crabgrass. You can be fooled when growing conditions are different than what this sample has encountered. Click here for more info and descriptions.
What does crabgrass look like This is one crabgrass plant, though several weeds will often sprout together. Alone or in groups, they form a dense mat that smothers any competing weeds or grass.

Photos Of Crabgrass As It May Appear In Your Lawn

These pictures of crab grass show what the young seedlings look like when they first appear in your lawn. The manner in which the crabgrass then grows and develops will vary greatly. This photo collection should help you make the determination. Use the accompanying article at the end of this page for more description if you need it.

New crab grass in lawn The wide blades and darker color make this weed stand out. Lawn grass that has a wide blade will be cut off square from mowing. The wide crabgrass blades will come to a point when they have not been cut.
New crabgrass in lawn A light, emerald green color is common for new crabgrass seedlings. This color, and the wide blades, help identify the weed in some lawns. This group of crabgrass seedlings is competing with each other and the lawn. They grow tall first, trying to dominate, before they sprawl out in their typical pattern.
crabgrass blends in with lawn This crabgrass looks barely different from the lawn grass. From certain angles, it may blend right in with some grasses. Look for wider blades that come to a point. When you see a patch that looks suspicious, use the technique in the next photo.
crabgrass center is different from lawn grass Run your hand across the grass in order to spread the dense growth. If you find this star shaped center hub, you know it's a weed. Lawn grass will not flatten out like this.
Crabgrass and bermuda grass Crab grass compared to bermuda grass. Crabgrass (on right) sends out runners (stolons), but not as far as bermuda grass. Crabgrass usually has a thicker stem, and wider leaves, but there are many varieties which could be larger than this sample of bermuda grass.
Crab grass in bermuda lawn Since a bermuda lawn is often mowed shorter than other grasses, crabgrass can get started quickly when bare ground appears, especially in areas that get a lot of activity or suffer the effects of inadequate irrigation.
Crab grass clump in lawn As crab grass matures, it forms a clump or mat. This usually grows faster than the lawn, so it is very noticeable a few days after mowing. It will kill off any grass trying to grow through it, if left untreated. Click here for more info.

As Crabgrass Matures And Goes To Seed

Hopefully, these last photos won't be the key to your crabgrass identification quest. If they are, then you have missed the best time to eliminate this weed. Still, try to prevent any more seeds from forming than necessary, because this is the source of next year's crabgrass problem.

large crabgrass spreading This plant is mature, and will soon put out seed stalks from each branch and the center of the plant. It keeps growing, even after producing seeds, until it finally dies in cold weather. Kill it now and prevent next year's problems.
Mature crabgrass weed This mature weed is producing seeds like crazy. The clump is two feet across. Hairy crabgrass can get even wider and taller when not mowed in a lawn.
Crabgrass seedstalk The crabgrass seed head is quite similar to that of bermuda grass, but the stalk is usually taller and thicker. This sample shows a stalk that is 10 inches tall. It can be much taller, but can also be only 1" - 2" if the plant is frequently mowed, or is growing in hostile conditions (e.g. - little moisture or heavily shaded).

Thank you for visiting the Garden Counselor's Gallery of Crabgrass Pictures.

NEED MORE INFO? Check out the links below to access additional articles with detailed information. 
More pictures of crabgrass are provided, plus descriptions and control methods that will help you find and eliminate this pest. 

ant control

Go to Top of page

What Does Crabgrass Look Like:
A detailed explanation to help you understand some of the differences seen in this photo gallery.

Crabgrass Identification: 
to compare with bermuda grass.

Getting Rid Of Crab Grass

How To Kill Crabgrass

Pre-Emergent User's Guide:
to learn about preventing lawn weeds and crabgrass.

Lawn Weeds: 
general info page, if crabgrass isn't your only concern. 

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