IPM1024 Identifying Grass Seedlings | Page 5 | University of Missouri Extension

Revised October 2010

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Identifying Grass Seedlings

Crabgrass, smooth (Digitaria ischaemum)

Summer annual grasses


Smooth crabgrass has weak stems that result in a decumbent growth habit. It often roots at its lower nodes, which gives it a sprawling appearance. Its stems and both leaf surfaces are hairless or have a few sparse hairs. The blades are flat and 5–10 mm wide. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a jagged membrane 0.5–2 mm long.

Mature smooth crabgrass: decumbent growth habit.Mature smooth crabgrass: decumbent growth habit.: decumbent growth habit.

Collar region Seedhead Collar region: ligule is a jagged membrane.
Right, seedhead.


Smooth crabgrass is present in practically all agronomic and landscape settings. It can tolerate a wide range of soil and moisture conditions.


Smooth crabgrass is found throughout Missouri and the United States.

Similar species

Smooth crabgrass is one of three crabgrass species that occur in Missouri. Large crabgrass is nearly identical, with the exception of its dense leaf and stem hair.

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