If you have noticed that some areas of your lawn look a bit different and there are spikes of seedheads shooting up, you may have foxtail weeds in your grass.
There are three different species that you commonly see throughout the United States. They are:
- Giant Foxtail (Setaria faberi)
- Green Foxtail (Setaria viridis)
- Yellow Foxtail (Setaria glauca)
Why Are Foxtails a Problem?
They form in clumps and tend to remain upright, breaking up the uniform appearance of your lawn. They send up seedheads that are full of seeds, producing new plants. These seeds are also able to cling to animals and clothing, causing potential pain and problems.
These species can act as a host for nematodes, which can then affect your lawn. Foxtails also produce chemicals that can actively harm other plants in the area to reduce competition through a process called allelopathy.
Controlling Foxtail Weeds
One way to help control these species is to apply preemergent herbicides. Since these plants reproduce by seeds, stopping them before they can really get growing is helpful. However, if seeds were dropped in that location before or are blown in, they can germinate after the herbicide has worn off. Applying more than once a summer can be helpful in this case to control foxtails and other weeds with similar tendencies.
As with all weeds, keeping your lawn grass in a healthy state helps keep undesired plants from taking over. Properly growing grass forms a good root structure that can grab the nutrients it needs and the plants can shade out seedlings.
How do you control foxtails?
Image by Dick Thomas Johnson under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License