Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Foxtail Weed Control

Weeds are something that every gardener must deal with at some time. Weeds can grow anywhere, develop seed heads, and spread seeds anywhere, whether on lawns or garden beds. The fight against weeds will undermine the efforts of even the most optimistic growers. One kind of weed is the bane of gardener's survival, which is foxtail. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

Like crab grass, foxtail seeds and foxtail grass can turn healthy lawns or pastures into their territory in a few seasons. This harmful weed has a wide range of growth conditions, so it needs continuous and active control in many areas. However, some control methods are better than others. The method you use may depend on the size and breadth of your assets.

Whether you like organic, mechanical or chemical control, you can rest assured that you can remove fox tails from lawns, pastures and gardens at the right time. With proper adjustment and the right herbicide (organic or chemical in some cases), you will prevent the foxtail weeds from sprouting again and again, and you will avoid headaches in the process.

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What is foxtail?

Fox tail is a colloquial name for many grass, barley, millet and bromine family members. The most notorious foxtail plant comes from the genus Cetaria. Foxtail is famous for its seed head, which contains fine hairs and barbs, which stop themselves in the feet and swim bladder of animals that may be exposed to them. They look like the tail of a fox, hence the name. The leaves of foxtail are very similar to other grasses: narrow, sharp, attached to the stem at the node.

The whole significance of spiny seed heads lies in the seed propagation and proliferation of foxtail plants. The seed head allows the fox tail to seed itself in dry or wet soil, lawns, pastures, and other grasses in the garden.

Some foxtail grass is annual and some is perennial. Giant fox tail is an annual plant in summer. It appears in spring and develops seed heads in summer. Other foxtail grasses are perennial and will survive several seasons before completing their life cycle. They all have obvious seed heads, accompanied by fine hairs. Fox tail seeds are designed to enter fur and socks. Its barbs will dig into the skin, which is a huge trouble for anyone who touches it.

Identify foxtail

Now that we know the leaves, hair and awning of the fox tail, let's talk about its life cycle. Each foxtail plant undergoes different growth stages and shows different characteristics. Now let's introduce these contents, so that you have a good idea of what to look for and when to look.

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Seedling period

Because there is no seed head in foxtail seedlings, it is difficult to identify. Especially when they live in grass and other weeds, it is not easy to distinguish fox tails at this stage. Another complication is that each species has variable seedlings. However, one thing to note is that a parallel plant has a rectangular leaf, which is 1 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.

Maturity stage

In about 40 days, the foxtail seedlings become foxtail grass. Most species are clustered together, but some species grow alone on an erect stem. The leaves of mature foxtail grow from the root of the stem and twist around it. Before the seed heads are formed, fully mature foxtail can grow up to four feet tall. They often appear in pasture, lawn and disturbed soil of different grass species. Any place where the soil is disturbed is ideal for yellow, green and giant fox tails.

Reproductive stage

This is where the fox tail seed head can be used. The green fox tail has obvious green seed heads, which bloom between late spring and late autumn. The yellow fox tail has a 2 to 5 inch yellow seed head, which blooms from summer to winter. The giant foxtail has a seed head of 3 to 7 inches. It blooms from summer to late autumn and turns yellow in the late fruiting stage.

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When the seed is ready to germinate, it will be removed from the fox tail seed head. They are blown away by the wind and either fall into the soil or trap themselves in the fur and skins of livestock, pets and humans. They also tightly grasp the clothes. Seeds can remain dormant for many years before fully germinating. If conditions are right for the seeds, they will germinate immediately. The ideal temperature for these seeds is between 68 and 95 degrees. If you garden in spring, pay attention to the leaves and seeds of foxtail, and actively control them.

Danger to pets and livestock

Since livestock tend to regard these plants as fodder, they will eat them, causing many problems for ranchers everywhere. If you want to create a safe garden for pets, it is necessary to control the giant fox tail, yellow fox tail and green fox tail. Livestock and pets may be infected by the fox tail barb. The fox tail barb digs holes in a way that makes it difficult for them to pull out without causing some skin damage. If you live near a pasture or grassland where grass is not often mowed, foxtail plants are particularly common. Sometimes they appear in lawns and gardens.

Fox tail seed barbs carry bacteria, dirt and debris when digging holes. This is another reason why they are associated with infection. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to foxtail seed problems because they use their noses to sense what is in front of them. The barb of the seed head can enter sensitive areas, such as between the eyes, nose, toes and mouth. Here, it is particularly difficult to remove giant fox tail or yellow fox tail seeds, and there are better festering conditions for infection.

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The foxtail parrot can also stay in the collar area. The collar area is a place to pay special attention, especially on dogs with long hair. Veterinary sources recommend that you always check the tails of working dogs, as well as those that live near the area where the tails grow: on your lawn, in your pasture, or in the wild where grass grows nearby. So do cats who go outdoors. Barn cats are particularly vulnerable. You do not want to incur expensive veterinary fees for your pet.

Although this sounds extreme, if you can't identify the fox tail quickly enough, livestock or pets may die. Since the seeds are trapped in sensitive areas, away from farmers and pet owners, it is important to check whether there are fox tails on or near your property. If the infection lasts too long, it may exceed the therapeutic range.

How to get rid of foxtail

If foxtail grass is common on your property, pasture or lawn, you can choose. You can use the culture control method or delete them mechanically. You can also kill them with organic or chemical herbicides. Eliminate the giant fox tail, yellow fox tail and green fox tail in your area, and you can garden smoothly without risk of stinging (or weed gardening)! Or, you will be closer to the healthy yellow grass without fox tail.

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Chemical free

Mowing is a way to take care of the fox tail, especially at the right time. The key to trimming these grasses is to do so before the seed heads have time to form. Since the three kinds of herbage we discussed tend to bloom from spring to autumn, we should pay attention to the first sign of flowering in spring, and then take the mower to it. If you can grasp the opportunity and there is no one ton of grass to cover a large area of grass, you can easily prevent further germination of foxtail seeds. Otherwise, this method requires a lot of effort and maintenance. We must be vigilant at all times.

If the fox tail is only a problem in a small area, dig it out, take root, leave it, and then dig it out. By removing the entire plant, you can prevent the proliferation of seeds and roots. If you try to identify the seedling before the real leaf forms, you can simply pull it out with your hands and roots. In mature plants, you may need a spatula and some muscle. Although the roots of these grasses are shallow, they are strong. Kill them in this way, or use organic control methods to remove the property of the fodder grass.

Organic foxtail herbicide

Applying horticultural vinegar to the leaves and awnings of green, yellow and giant fox tails is a quick way to eliminate plants. If you decide to go this way, please make sure you have a mechanism to guide the spray of vinegar, and you wear a mask and gloves. This vinegar is not the kind you use in the kitchen. If you breathe vapor, it may cause respiratory problems. Don't spray on windy days, because the steam will affect the green leaves of the plants next to the foxtail you are trying to get rid of. It can also easily irritate your skin or cause acid burns. Please handle this method with caution. Please note that you may need to reapply vinegar again within a week or two to be fully effective.

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There are also corn gluten and organic weed prevention methods to remove this plant. A 25 pound bag of corn gluten or corn starch based herbicides can cover a large area, up to 1250 square feet. Apply these and water in winter before new seeds germinate. Then let the area rest for 4 to 6 weeks and reapply at the same intervals as necessary. Do not use it within 6 weeks of the scheduled seed planting date, as it can also prevent the plants you want to grow from germinating.

Ortho's organic ground cleaner is probably one of the most effective herbicides on the market, used to kill weeds. They use soap salts called ammonium nonanoate to eliminate weeds in specific areas, and they have OMRI rated formulas that can be used for organic gardening (but be sure to check the OMRI mark on the package, because there is also chemical ground removal). Such broad-spectrum herbicides can take away other plants in the process when applied collectively, so please avoid applying them in windy weather to prevent accidental drift. Ammonium azelaite is rapidly decomposed into iron and nitrogen in soil, which will not cause long-term ground pollution. It causes the plant tissue to turn yellow within minutes of application, and the plant withers to the ground and cannot photosynthesis. This does not always kill the roots of more persistent and deeper rooted weeds, but it is easy to kill most shallower rooted grasses. For other forms of deeply rooted weeds, you may still need to remove the roots after application.

Chemical herbicide

Chemical pre germination is a very suitable method to eliminate green, yellow and giant foxtail grass in lawn or pasture. You need to apply pre emergence before the spring temperature exceeds 55 degrees. Do not do anything to the lawn or pasture within four months after use. This allows the weed preventer to do its job, and prevents you from wasting time planting just to kill your grass when it appears.

Use glyphosate if you want to eliminate foxtail plants in huge pastures. Although those familiar with gardening and ranching know that there is a stigma around glyphosate herbicide, sometimes herbicides like it are the best choice for several to hundreds of acres of land. Using this chemical on the leaves and awnings of each particular foxtail plant can prevent killing other grasses that are good for livestock and soil ecology. Like ammonium azelaite, this is a spot treatment if you are trying to maintain other plants in the area. However, unlike ammonium azelaite, glyphosate lingers in the soil and continues to prevent weeds for a period of time. You still need to use it as a spot treatment, but long-term prevention in the treatment site will make your work on a large area of land quite easy.

common problem

Q: How do you identify foxtail?

A: Look for an awning like a fox's tail, with a lot of small hairs on it. Hair helps seeds spread in the wind. Some are green, some are yellow, and some are brown. The leaves of foxtail plants are oval and sharp, projecting from the base of the stem.

Q: Is foxtail harmful to horses?

A: Yes. The horse thinks this plant is a good feed and eats it. In the process, the awning will clamp itself on the skin, between the hooves, even on the horse's mouth or tongue - anywhere possible. This can lead to serious infection and threaten the life of horses.

Q: Is yellow foxtail a weed?

A: That's true. It is also a kind of grass. The leaves of foxtail give the plant the appearance of grass, while hair and awnings give it a fox like appearance.