Best Pre Emergent For Crabgrass of 2024: Top 6 Picks

By Harry RamosLast update: 2024-07-12

Prevention is better than treating crabgrass because it’s easier and less expensive. What’s more, this type of weed is so aggressive that it can quickly dominate your lawn, choke out your desirable grasses and plants. The longer the crabgrass is killed the more it damages your lawn.

Here are the best pre emergent for crabgrass you can buy in 2024:

  • Best For Fall (Granular Pre-Emergent): Preen
  • Preventer, Killer & Fertilizer (Granular Pre-Emergent): Scotts
  • Best For Tall Fescue (Granular Pre-Emergent): Tenacity
  • Best For Bermuda Grass (Granular Pre-Emergent): The Andersons
  • Best For Use On Seeding (Liquid Pre-Emergent): Atticus
  • Best For St Augustine Grass (Liquid Pre-Emergent): Liquid Harvest
6 Best Pre Emergent For Crabgrass
Best For Fall
Preen
  • Granular Pre-Emergent
Preventer, Killer & Fertilizer
Scotts
  • Granular Pre-Emergent
Best For Tall Fescue
Tenacity
  • Granular Pre-Emergent
Best For Bermuda Grass
The Andersons
  • Granular Pre-Emergent
Best For Use On Seeding
Atticus
  • Liquid Pre-Emergent
Best For St Augustine Grass
Liquid Harvest
  • Liquid Pre-Emergent

Best For Fall: Preen

Pros
  • Easy to use and spread
  • Good price
  • Effective in weed prevention
Cons
  • Can’t kill weeds

Normally, the ideal time to apply a pre-emergent for crabgrass is spring because it can stop the germination from the beginning. However, if you miss this time, it’s pretty tricky to choose a pre-emergent for crabgrass in the fall. This type of weed has already sprouted in the summer, so products for spring aren’t effective on existing plants.

In this case, you can consider the Preen Granular Pre-emergent that prevents the germination of crabgrass seeds in the following spring. Why? It is labeled for fall application.

Preen Specifications

Weight

13 Pounds

Volume

13 pounds

Ingredients

Trifluralin

Highlight Features

Apply in spring, summer or fall

Safe to use on 200 established flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs

Coverage: 2080 square feet

Verdict

The Preen Granular Pre-emergent is ideal to apply in spring, summer, and fall to control weeds on your lawn.

Preventer, Killer & Fertilizer: Scotts

Pros
  • Helps your lawn greener and thicker
  • Good price
Cons
  • Not work well on dandelions

Are you looking for a 3-in-1 product? If so, you should consider the Scotts Granular Pre-emergent that is a preventer, killer, and fertilizer.

This product can kill both weeds and seedlings, prevent the growth and germination of weeds for up to 4 months, feed your lawn so that it can improve the thickness and the green color of the grass.

Scotts Specifications

Weight

20.16 Pounds

Volume

20 lbs

Highlight Features

Triple Action

Prevents crabgrass for up to 4 months

Verdict

The Scotts Granular Pre-emergent is a 3-in-1 product, so there is no need to buy preventer, killer and fertilizer separately.

Best For Tall Fescue: Tenacity

Pros
  • Effective
  • Easy to use
  • Works well for crabgrass
Cons
  • Slow to work
  • Expensive

Was your tall fescue attacked by crabgrass? If you don’t want this situation to happen one more time, you should prevent it from the beginning with the Tenacity Granular Pre-emergent. Its effect on crabgrass and protection on the tall fescue have been proven by customers. They said that this product is effective, but it takes time to work. Although this pre-emergent causes whitening on their fescue, it can recover after a certain time.

Tenacity Specifications

Weight

8 Ounces

Volume

8 Fluid Ounces

Ingredients

Mesotrione 40%

Highlight Features

The systemic pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicide


Verdict

The Tenacity Granular Pre-emergent works well for controlling and preventing crabgrass on tall fescue.

Best For Bermuda Grass: The Andersons

The Andersons
The Andersons
Pros
  • Steady effect
  • Easy to spread
Cons
  • Expensive

Are you looking for a solution that can prevent the germination and growth of crabgrass without ruining your Bermuda grass?

According to customers, the Andersons Granular Pre-emergent can bring this effect. After spending decades to make their Bermuda lawn free of weeds, nothing is improved. However, everything has changed when applying this product. You simply apply it on a fully pre-weeded lawn, water, and wait for a free-weed lawn. While using this product, if a part of your Bermuda grass is killed, don't worry. It will re-grow later.

The Andersons Specifications

Weight

18 Pounds

Volume

18 lbs

Ingredients

0.48% of prodiamine


Highlight Features

Barricade professional-grade pre-emergent weed control

Verdict

The Andersons Granular Pre-emergent can prevent crabgrass on Bermuda grass effectively and safely.

Best For Use On Seeding: Atticus

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Very effective
  • Effortless to measure
Cons
  • Not well-written instructions

With the same product, why can other people control their weed problem while it's useless to you?

The problem might be that you don't follow the directions from the manufacturer. For example, if you want to prevent the growth of crabgrass by using the Atticus liquid pre-emergent, remember to apply it at time of seeding. Generally, this product just works well for seeded and established grass.

Atticus Specifications

Weight

8 Ounces

Volume

8 Fluid Ounces

Ingredients

40.0% mesotrione

Highlight Features

Pre-marked syringe highlights

Verdict

For the best performance, you had better apply the Atticus Liquid Pre-Emergent on crabgrass seeding.

Best For St Augustine Grass: Liquid Harvest

Liquid Harvest
Liquid Harvest
Pros
  • Effective
  • Long-lasting
Cons
  • Expensive

Why do I strongly recommend the Liquid Harvest Liquid Pre-Emergent for St Augustine grass? While the manufacturer said that this product is formulated for treating crabgrass on St Augustine, customers have proven its effect on their lawn.

Liquid Harvest Specifications

Weight

8 ounces

Volume

8 oz

Ingredients

Mesotrione

Highlight Features

Mesotrione must be activated by water

Verdict

Not only the manufacturer but also customers said that the Liquid Harvest Liquid Pre-Emergent works well to control weeds on St Augustine grass.

How To Choose The Best Pre Emergent For Crabgrass?

What Are The Active Ingredients Of The Best Pre-emergent For Crabgrass?

The main active ingredients of most pre emergents for crabgrass are dithiopyr, prodiamine, or pendimethalin:

Dithio Pyr

Dithiopyr can provide the residual control of crabgrass and other annual grasses up to 4 months. It’s safe to use on many turf types such as cool-season and warm-season grasses, especially, it’s also safe for people and pets because of low toxicity.

Prodiamine

Prodiamine can also prevent the germination of crabgrass on your lawn and turf grasses, but its effect lasts longer than dithiopyr. If you apply it at the right time, you can prevent the growth of crabgrass and other weeds for up to 8 months. This solution is also safe to use around people and pets, but just after drying. With a low toxicity level, it doesn’t harm the environment.

Pendimethalin

This ingredient can target crabgrass seedlings to prevent their germination and growth. Even after the pendimethalin is dormant in the soil, it can still prevent the growth of crabgrass for up to 6 months. Because of the low toxicity level, it is safe to use without harming people, pets, and environment as long as you follow the instruction of the manufacturer.

Which Form Is Better For Crabgrass: Granules, Liquids, Or Sprays?

Liquid

If you don’t want to waste a lot of time and effort on your part for applying a pre-emergent herbicide on a large area, you should invest in this liquid form. It is easy and quick to apply. Moreover, you can precisely apply it to where you want, a sidewalk or a driveway, for example. Plus, this form doesn’t require a lot of water for working.

However, nothing is perfect. The liquid pre-emergent requires you to follow specific measurements. It’s very difficult to apply this form in a small area because there are some places where grass can avoid spraying. Compared to granular herbicides, the liquid form takes more time for preparing.

Granular

It takes less time for you to prepare, mix, and measure the granular form, especially since it's also straightforward to spread. If you want to know how many square feet the herbicide can cover, just check the information on the label.

Without using tools, it’s very hard for you to distribute the granular pre-emerge evenly, but it’s more straightforward to spread small particles evenly. In particular, it requires more water, but works slower than liquid pre-emergent. I strongly recommend the granular form for a small lawn because it can reach limited areas.

Should You Choose Synthetic Or Organic Pre-emergent Herbicides?

Organic products are the best for treating CRABGRASS, clover, and dandelions in your yard, but it has some types such as vinegar and corn gluten. The latter is better since it is the most common alternative to chemical pre-emergent products. It can both prevent the growth of weeds and become a rich addition (a high level of nitrogen) to your soil without harming the environment. However, this type can attract bugs, slowly release, even if the price is high.

Is The Selective Or Non-selective Pre-emergent Herbicide Better?

If your purpose is blocking the crabgrass from growing only, the selective product will be a safer choice. This type just targets some specific weeds without harming your plants and grasses.

On the contrary, the non-selective pre-emergent herbicide will kill everything from weeds, your grass, flowers, to vegetables too. This choice is just ideal for a driveway, for example.

Which Brands Make The Best Pre Emergent For Crabgrass?

Syngenta

This brand is a science-based company. Their headquarter is in Switzerland with more than 30,000 employees and over 90 countries.

Thanks to the combination of advanced technology and deep agronomic expertise, they focus on producing and selling high-quality products that help farmers grow safe and nutritious foods without affecting the environment.

FAQs

Do you really need pre-emergent for crabgrass?

Pre-emergent is essential for treating crabgrass because many post-emergent herbicides will kill both crabgrass and your existing turf grass.

For the best effect, you must apply the pre-emergent herbicide before seeing any actual crabgrass. Are you wondering about if you should apply the pre-emergent herbicide in your lawn? The answer is yes if your lawn has a history of crabgrass.

Which is better for crabgrass: liquid or granular pre-emergent?

This depends on what you want. If you need a fast result, invest in a liquid pre-emergent herbicide that works quickly. The soil absorbs this water-soluble immediately to build a barrier against the crabgrass seeds germination.

If you don’t have a lot of experience in using a pre-emergent, the liquid form allows you to apply more easily through a sprayer. You can directly target it to the problem areas.

Meanwhile, the granular pre-emergent also has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, it leaves a long residual effect (up to 6 months).

I strongly recommend the granular pre-emergent for a large area because it’s very easy to cover this area size with a spreader in a short time.

This type can protect your soil from erosion since it stays in place in the soil.

Can you apply too much pre-emergent?

You shouldn’t apply too much pre-emergent because it will stunt the growth of root and slow spring green-up.

How many times can you apply pre-emergent?

You can apply the pre-emergent 2-3 times per year. For the best effect, it’s better to use it with a post-emergent herbicide.

When to apply pre-emergent for crabgrass?

You need to apply this kind of herbicide in very early spring and 90 days later in early summer. It's best to use it 2 weeks before the average last freeze date.

Conclusion

Can any pre-emergent prevent crabgrass? No. Each product is formulated for some specific purposes. For example, a few solutions can treat crabgrass, others can’t handle this type of weed well. While some products are safe on St Augustine grass and Bermuda grass, others can kill them and weeds at the same time. Therefore, determining the weeds and grasses in your lawn plays an important role in choosing the best pre emergent for crabgrass.


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