Do-It-Yourselfer: Is it Crabgrass or Tall Fescue? – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Do-It-Yourselfer: Is it Crabgrass or Tall Fescue?

We have received a number of calls this year about trying to control the crabgrass running rampant in lawns. It’s a much more coarse bladed and lighter green than the rest of the grass, so it must be crabgrass? It’s not crabgrass and is more likely tall fescue. Though crabgrass and tall fescue may look similar in summer, they are easy to distinguish now. Crabgrass is a summer annual and will only start to germinate in mid-April or later in Indiana , so it is not visible in lawns yet. Conversely, tall fescue is a perennial and is obvious in lawns now because of it’s coarse texture, usually lighter green color, earlier green-up than many other species, and accelerated spring growth. Digging it out or spraying with glyphosate or gluphosinate are the only ways to control tall fescue. On the other hand, applying a preemergence herbicide by early to mid-April can prevent crabgrass.


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