Crabgrass is probably the number one grass weed that makes lawn maintenance a never ending task. It's an annual weed so it will naturally die in the winter, but it's very aggressive with generating seeds. It's tough to completely remove but we'll show you the best ways to do it.
Your first line of defense is to make sure your turf grass is healthy and thick. Crabgrass produces seeds at an amazing rate and when they sink into the soil this gives them their first step in regeneration. A thick lawn makes it difficult for their seeds to even reach the ground.
One of the ways to keep a healthy lawn is to maintain a tall grass height. If you mow too short you are allowing for sunlight to reach the soil. Any seeds that have settled into the soil will be able to get sun and start the germination process. For your ideal grass height see the mowing chart.
Remove crabgrass at the first signs of it growing. Your best bet is to physically remove by pulling entire root systems from the soil. This process can be made simpler if you pull them immediately after a good rain. Moist soil makes it easier to get ALL of the roots.
If pulling them is not your gig and you insist on spraying with an herbicide, Ortho makes a great one in Weed B Gone Max™. It works very well but will leave brown patched for a few days until it is all gone. We don't typically endorse specific brands, but when success has been proven we just like to share the results.
After crabgrass has been removed re-seeding bare spots would be the quickest way to fill in those places. Then follow your recommended seeding instructions. You can let your primary grass take over the bare spots naturally through its rhizomes but this may take too long and leave those open spots vulnerable to weeds. If this is what you would prefer, cover the bare spots with some type of natural mulch.
In the spring, the first chance you get you will want to apply a pre-emergent fertilizer. This will prevent last years seeds from germinating. If this application is done too early a second application would be wise for those places that have been historically troublesome. You will notice thin areas in your lawn where crabgrass once grew during the previous growing season. These are the areas in which you will want to be vigilant.