What’s the Difference Between Dallisgrass and Crabgrass?


Weeds are your worst enemy when you’re trying to get that perfect lawn. Most of us hate grassy weeds and would love to be rid of them.

However, in order to rid your yard of weeds, you must first identify them, as it may take different approaches for different types of weeds.

Unfortunately, some weeds can be confused with others if you do not pay close attention. This can especially be the case if both weeds are growing on your lawn at the same time.

Dallisgrass and crabgrass are often confused with one another, so here we will cover how to tell these annoying weeds apart and how to target them. 

What is Dallisgrass?

Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum) is a warm-season perennial grassy weed that grows back each year from the same root system, making it very difficult to control.

It’s an upright weed that grows in a tall, circular clump off the side of its stem and has large seed heads with black spots. Seeds emerge in summer and spring when the soil temp is around 65ºF.

Dallisgrass has thick, deep fibrous roots that spread from a short rhizome. A rhizome is a continuously growing, horizontal, underground stem that puts out roots and shoots from its nodes. They are also sometimes known as creeping rootstalks.

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) is a weedy summer annual germinating from seeds and dying within the same year. This weed grows low to the ground in a pointed, widening pattern that splays out like crab legs. It grows out of the top of the stems and has small, fine seed heads. 

There are many different species of this grass, but the most common in North Texas is Digitaria sanguinalis. This grass is sometimes known as hairy finger grass, hairy crabgrass, or large crabgrass.

Crabgrass is an annual weed that grows in your lawn’s thin and bare spots. When a plant dies in the fall, it produces thousands of seeds that can germinate the following spring. Additionally, it thrives in hot, dry weather.

How do you get rid of these weeds?

Although they are often confused with each other, crabgrass and Dallisgrass are very different weeds. 

Crabgrass is much easier to get rid of than Dallisgrass. It dies on its own in the fall, but if you do not remove this weed before it puts out its seeds, it will definitely come back the following year.

The best way to get rid of this specific weed is to remove the clumps of weed, complete with roots, as soon as you see it pop up. Using a weeder tool may assist you in getting all of the roots out.

If you already have an infestation of this grass in your yard, you may need to apply a post-emergent herbicide. Crabgrass can be prevented in the spring by applying a pre-emergent in March through April.

Dallisgrass, on the other hand, is one of the peskiest weeds and is much harder to get rid of. If you have an infestation of Dallisgrass, your best bet is to call Gecko Green! Dallisgrass cannot be treated with a post-emergent. It can only be treated by a non-select herbicide like Glyphosate (Round-Up).

It can also be suppressed by applying certain pre-emergents, but unfortunately, there is nothing available on the market for retail or commercial use that has a label for control.

MSMA is the only product that can be used, but it is restricted to sod farm, right-of-way, and golf courses only, so this means no residential or commercial use.

Professional Weed Control

You can try to tackle these weeds on your own, but our suggestion is if you identify Dallisgrass in your lawn, contact the professionals at Gecko Green to help you get a weed-free lawn that you can be proud of!

Call for a free quote today!