Crabgrass Vs Real Grass: Which Wins The Battle?

Crabgrass vs real grass—what’s the real deal? If you’ve ever looked out at your lawn and wondered why those pesky crabgrass weeds seem to thrive while your desired grass struggles, you’re not alone. The battle between crabgrass and real grass is one that homeowners often find themselves fighting. But fear not, because in this article, we’ll uncover the secrets to eliminating crabgrass and cultivating a lush, healthy lawn that will make your neighbors green with envy. So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting, keep reading to get the lowdown on crabgrass vs real grass and how to reclaim your turf.

Crabgrass vs Real Grass: Which Wins the Battle?

Crabgrass vs. Real Grass: Which is the Better Choice for Your Lawn?


Maintaining a healthy and lush lawn is a priority for many homeowners. However, the battle against unwanted weeds, such as crabgrass, can be a never-ending struggle. In this article, we will explore the key differences between crabgrass and real grass, covering various subtopics such as appearance, growth habits, maintenance requirements, and overall suitability for your lawn. By understanding the unique characteristics of each, you can make an informed decision about which type of grass is the best fit for your landscaping needs.


Crabgrass and real grass have distinct visual characteristics that set them apart, making it relatively easy to differentiate between the two:

  • Crabgrass: Crabgrass is characterized by its low-growing, coarse texture. The blades are wider compared to real grass, typically measuring around 1/4 inch in width. The color of crabgrass can vary, ranging from light green to yellowish-green.
  • Real Grass: Real grass, also known as turfgrass, possesses finer blades that form a dense and uniform appearance. The width of the blades varies depending on the grass species, but they are generally narrower than crabgrass. Real grass comes in various shades of green, providing an aesthetically pleasing look to your lawn.

Growth Habits

Understanding the growth habits of crabgrass and real grass is crucial in determining their impact on your lawn:

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Crabgrass is an opportunistic weed that thrives in sunny areas and is often quick to invade weak or sparse spots in your lawn. Key characteristics of crabgrass growth include:

  • Warm-season annual: Crabgrass is an annual weed, meaning it completes its life cycle in a single year. It germinates in spring, flourishes during summer, and dies off with the arrival of frost in fall.
  • Rapid spreading: Crabgrass spreads through prolific seed production and its ability to root at multiple nodes along the stem. A single crabgrass plant can produce thousands of seeds, making it a persistent and challenging weed to control.
  • Thrives in disturbed areas: Crabgrass is often found in areas with disrupted soil, such as bare patches or areas where the grass is sparse. It takes advantage of these vulnerable spots to establish itself and outcompete the desired grass species.

Real Grass

Real grass, on the other hand, is specially cultivated for lawns and sports turf due to its desirable growth characteristics:

  • Perennial: Most real grass species are perennial, meaning they can survive for multiple years with proper care and maintenance.
  • Established root system: Real grass develops a deep and extensive root system, allowing it to access nutrients and water from deeper soil layers. This enhances the grass’s ability to withstand drought and recover from foot traffic or other stressors.
  • Dense growth: Real grass forms a dense mat of vegetation, crowding out weeds and providing an even and uniform appearance. It spreads through tillering, a process where new grass shoots develop from the base of existing plants, resulting in a thick and healthy lawn.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintaining your lawn involves various tasks, including watering, mowing, and fertilization. Let’s examine how crabgrass and real grass differ in their maintenance requirements:


  • Watering: Crabgrass can tolerate drought conditions better than some real grass species. However, it is still important to provide sufficient moisture to establish and maintain healthy grass growth.
  • Mowing: Regular mowing is essential to control crabgrass. Keeping the lawn mower blade at a height of around 2-3 inches can help prevent crabgrass from developing and spreading.
  • Fertilization: Crabgrass tends to thrive in nutrient-deficient soil. Applying a balanced fertilizer can help promote healthier growth of desired grass species, making it more difficult for crabgrass to establish itself.
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Real Grass

  • Watering: Real grass requires consistent and adequate watering to maintain its health and vibrancy. Depending on the grass species, it is generally recommended to provide about 1 inch of water per week, either through natural rainfall or irrigation.
  • Mowing: Regular mowing is necessary to keep real grass at an optimal height. Different grass species have specific mowing height recommendations, typically ranging from 2 to 4 inches. Adhering to these guidelines ensures the grass can photosynthesize efficiently and compete against weeds like crabgrass.
  • Fertilization: Real grass benefits from regular fertilization to maintain its color, density, and overall health. Understanding the specific nutrient requirements of your grass species is crucial for applying the appropriate fertilizer at the right time and in the correct amounts.

Suitability for Your Lawn

When deciding between crabgrass and real grass, considering your lawn’s specific needs and conditions is essential: