When crabgrass invasion is extensive, a herbicide is preferred but when there are just a few instances of young crabgrass clumps, pulling the weed out can help control it. So, what is the best crabgrass removal tool to use?
The best crabgrass removal tool is the Fiskars 4-Claw Stand-up Weed Puller. It is a stand-up weed puller with 4 serrated claws that make it easy to grab crabgrass roots and remove them from the ground.
Best Crabgrass Removal Tools
Crabgrass develops clumping bases and roots. A good weed puller for it should have a mechanism of driving its claws under the roots, clamping them, and uprooting the weed easily. The best crabgrass removal tool should have a claw or plunger that you can push deep into the ground under the roots of crabgrass to uproot the whole weed.
Here are 3 best crabgrass removal tools:
1. Fiskars 4-Claw Stand-up Weed Puller
- Removes crabgrass with roots cleanly
- Serrated claws for better root grip
- Has a comfortable foot platform
- Has an easy weed-eject mechanism
What I like about the Fiskars 4-Claw Weed removal tool is that the claws are serrated, which makes up for a higher success rate in pulling up crabgrass roots from the ground.
The weed is removed cleanly, so you won’t need to dig down to try and pry out any remaining roots from the ground, which can be quite problematic.
Fiskars weed remover is a stand-up puller, meaning when you use it, you won’t have to bend – so your back won’t get sore from weed pulling.
This tool also has an easy weed-eject mechanism – a simple push of the long handle releases the claws and dumps the weed onto a wheelbarrow or weed collection bag. You can also use this weed puller to get rid of dallisgrass at a young age from your lawn before the grassy weed spreads extensively all over your yard.
2. Yard Butler Rocket Weeder Crabgrass Puller
- Easy-to-use weed eject button
- Long handle for no-bending weed pulling
- Grabs and locks roots for complete weed removal
This tool is easy to use with a simple stepping and rocking movements that can remove crabgrass and other weeds from your lawn.
With the Yard Butler Rocket Weeder, you won’t need to apply a crabgrass killer herbicide especially if there are just a few instances of this weed in your lawn. This crabgrass removal tool is lightweight, so it is not so tiring to use it for complete yard weed pulling.
However, what I didn’t like about it is that it is not as sturdy and tough as I’d have liked. It appeared as though it can bend if you push it through a hard surface such as gravel cores. I actually saw some customer reviews on Amazon showing how it easily bends in tough soil. You might want to wet your yard adequately before using the Yard Butler crabgrass remover.
3. Grampa’s Weeder Stand Up Weed Puller Tool
- Reliable 4-claw weed puller
- Bamboo handle makes it lightweight
- Very easy to use while standing up
- Does not bend – made of stainless steel head
This tool has been around for a long, long time. It is the original weed removal tool and can be used on different types of weeds in the yard. It’s gripping mechanism is a little different from the other tools – it needs a rocking movement to grip the weed and pluck it out of the soil.
Here’s a 3-step visual guide on how to use this crabgrass removal tool:
How to Pull Crabgrass Out of Your Lawn
Can crabgrass be pulled out by hand? You can pull young crabgrass by hand but using a digging knife or a hand trowel will make it lighter work. If you decide to get rid of crabgrass for good by hand, hold the base of the clump and uproot it whole.
Here’s a step-by-step process for removing crabgrass with a hand tool:
- Wet the lawn where there are crabgrass clumps.
- Leave the lawn for about 30 minutes for the water to sink into the root zone.
- Drive the crabgrass removal tool into the ground – under the roots of crabgrass.
- Pull out the weed whole and put it into a collection bag for disposing.
- Fill the little holes the result with topsoil or compost.
- Reseed the bare spots left to make your lawn full and thick again.
Watering prior to using a removal tool will make your work easier since the ground will be soft. Do not overwater the lawn, otherwise you’ll be fixing muddy spots in your lawn right after getting rid of crabgrass.
Do I need to pull dead crabgrass?
Yes, it’s important to pull dead crabgrass and fill the resulting bare spots with turfgrass to prevent weeds from growing in those spaces. During fall and winter, crabgrass dies off on its own leaving behind dead weeds. Move around the lawn with a weed remover to uproot the dead crabgrass.
Uprooting is also important even if you did destroy the crabgrass with baking soda or other home remedy.
Plant new grass seed to fill in the bare spots. This will help make your grass thicker and control weeds.
Is pulling effective at controlling crabgrass?
Being an annual weed, crabgrass dies on its own when fall frost kicks in. By this time, the weed will have gone to seed, which means you will deal with fresh germination next year when soil temperature starts to rise above 55°F.
Weed pulling can be effective for controlling crabgrass if there are few instances of the weed in your lawn. Get rid of the weed with a crabgrass removal tool before it goes to seed to reduce its population next season. Use a weeding tool to pull up crabgrass clumps with roots included.
Note that hand pulling or removal of crabgrass using a tool is effective when the weeds are still young. Start pulling and removing the weed at the beginning of an infestation, usually late in the spring. Hand pulling weeds when the soil is moist makes the work easier and minimizes damage to your lawn.
Tips to Prevent Crabgrass in Turf
Other than pulling weeds with a weed puller, you can start early enough in the season to prevent their germination. Here are a few tips to help you prevent crabgrass in your lawn:
Apply a crabgrass preventer on time
Crabgrass seeds begin to germinate from spring through late summer. You want to make sure you put down a crabgrass preventer on time to reduce the infestation for the rest of the season.
The best time to apply pre-emergents such as Scotts crabgrass preventer is early spring when lawn soil temperatures start to rise to favor the germination of grassy weeds.
If you’re late, mechanical control of the weed using a crabgrass removal tool such as the Fiskars Weed Puller should be practical options especially if the weed population is not very high.
Fill bare spots
Seeding and sodding bare spots are some of the best cultural weed control practices. Crabgrass is known to thrive well in thin lawns with a lot of bare spots and dead grass.
When crabgrass dies in the fall due to frost, it will leave behind bare spots in which new weeds will sprout from seed come spring. To prevent this problem, fill in the bare spots with your turfgrass.
Pull out the dead crabgrass using a removal tool first, rake the areas and then reseed to fill in the bare spots. Lawn patching products such as Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair are great for filling in bare spots and helping a lawn grow dense.
Keep your lawn thick and dense
When weed pulling is not the best option, you may want to kill crabgrass by keeping your lawn thick and dense. A thick turf will leave little space for weeds to grow.
Crabgrass struggles to germinate in a thick turf because of limited access to sunlight and warmth. Mulching with clippings when mowing can help cover the soil and reduce crabgrass germination rate. Eventually, you can use a crabgrass removal tool on a smaller population of the weed.
Do not mulch with grass clippings if you have crabgrass that has gone to seed in your lawn. It is best to bag the clippings to reduce the spread of weeds in your lawn.
Resources + References
- University of Maryland Extension: Mechanical Control of Crabgrass
- Thomas Kowalsick et al: Cornell Cooperative Extension: Crabgrass Control
- Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor, University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science: Crabgrass Control in Turfgrass