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Why Do I Have Crabgrass Along the Edges of My Lawn?

This is a question we get asked a lot! And it’s a good question!

What’s going on at the edges of my lawn?

Edges are the bane of any lawn care professional. The reason crabgrass and other weeds are often found along edges of the turf is because things going on at the edges can cause the grass to be weaker than the grass in the middle of the yard. Below are the main problems we run into that cause the edges of a lawn to have crabgrass.

Weaker grass = More Crabgrass

Weed Wacker – We would like to see them outlawed! When a Weed Wacker, Weed Eater…whatever you call it is used to trim the grass at the edges of the lawn, it is very common for the grass to get scalped (cut much too low). This just opens up opportunities for crabgrass and other weeds to come in. Keep in mind that, wherever there is bare soil, Mother Nature will get something growing there – and she doesn’t usually plant Kentucky Bluegrass!

Scalping with a Lawn Mower – Often, there will be an edge cut along landscape beds. This looks very nice and defines the bed from the lawn – it creates a very clean look. There is nothing wrong with this. The problem occurs when the wheels of the lawn mower go down into this cut and this causes the mower blade to be too low and it scalps the grass.

Hard Surfaces Next to the Lawn – Driveways, sidewalks and other hard surfaces can make life hard for turfgrass in a couple ways.  They get really hot in the summer. The soil and roots of the grass along a driveway or sidewalk will be much hotter, drier and, therefore more stressed than other areas of your lawn.

Also, when these surfaces are installed, there is usually gravel under the concrete or asphalt. This gravel invariably gets mixed in with the adjacent soil which is not ideal. These conditions can kill the grass or just thin it out – either way, the turfgrass is weakened and not able to compete with the crabgrass.

Should I Even get the Crabgrass Preventer?

Yes! Without it, your lawn doesn’t have a fighting chance to minimize the amount of crabgrass. Many studies have shown that crabgrass preventer controls at least 80% of crabgrass seeds. While there are a lot of variables that can affect the performance of the crabgrass preventer, it is a lot better than nothing.

As you can see, crabgrass preventer is not perfect and nobody can control all of the situations listed above but, the main things to consider are:

Mow at the proper height. Measure the grass with a ruler from the soil to the top of the blade after it is cut. Don’t rely on the settings on the mower – often setting “3”, for example, may not mean “3-Inches”. It could just be setting “3” and have no relation to the mowing height.

Don’t scalp the lawn – cutting it down to the nubs will cause problems.

And finally, if you are watering your lawn, be sure to hit the edges along the driveway and sidewalk.


And remember:  If you have a Green Giant lawn care package, and you received a crabgrass preventer treatment this year, we have you covered!  Just let us know and we will treat the crabgrass for you at no charge!


Lawn Care

Green Giant Home & Commercial’s Lawn Care services control weeds, build the thickness and density of your lawn and protect it from being damaged by insects and disease, providing you with a great-looking, healthy lawn. We offer fertilization, weed control, liming, insect control, and aeration and overseeding. Visit our Lawn Care page for more information.

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Green Giant’s Non-Lawn Weed Control services eliminate unwanted vegetation in a wide variety of locations for both residential and large commercial/municipal properties. Areas include fence lines, around obstacles to reduce weed eating, stone/gravel driveways & parking lots, swales, roadside/curbside vegetation management and more.  Find more information, visit our Vegetation Management page.

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Our full service pest control division provides both Year-Round Service Programs that cover the vast majority of pests that you will encounter and also One-Time Corrective Services for pests such as bees, ants, termites or mice. For more information, visit our Pest Control page.