What is Foxtail?
Foxtail is a type of a grass with spikes that look like brushes. It usually grows in full sun, but it may stand in very light and partial shade; however, this grass does not grow in shaded areas. Its leaves are commonly yellowish-green to a darker blue-green color. They can grow up to 12 inches long and a half-inch wide. It has flat and smooth leaves, and has small silky hairs on the upper surface.
Foxtails are known for their characteristic seed head that appears like a fox’s tail. The seed head is located at the end of the stalk that extends for several inches above the leaves. The seeds may develop when the temperature reaches 68 degrees each year and it continues to germinate through most of the summer.
You may find foxtails along pathways, in open spaces, hiking trails, or even in your own backyards.
Classifications of Foxtails
Foxtails are any of the weedy grasses in the group of Alopecurus and Setaria, family of Poaceae, or monocot flowering plant.
There are more than 20 to 30 species of Alopecurus that may be found throughout the North Temperate Zone. Most types are perennial weeds with thick, cylindrical, usually brush-like, flower clusters that look exactly like foxes’ tails.
Setaria, formerly called bristle grass, includes nearly 125 species of annual and perennial grasses. This is mostly found in tropical Africa, but can also be found in warm areas of all continents. The genus setaria grasses are taller than those of Alopecurus. This has bristly flower clusters and flat, thin leaf blades.
Types of Alopecurus and Setaria
Below are some types of Foxtail Grasses in genus Alopecurus and Setaria:
Meadow Foxtail (Alopecurus Pratensis)
This type is native to Eurasia; the grass is used for feeding in northern North America. Meadow foxtails may stand about 12 to 30 inches high, has a light-green flower cluster that extends up to 7 cm long.
Foxtail Millet (Setaria Italica)
This is the second most widely planted type of millet. Foxtail millet is a valuable type of foxtail and most important in East Asia as this is used as a forage grass.
Giant Foxtails (Setaria Faberi)
An Asian grass, commonly known as Chinese foxtail, Chinese millet, giant bristlegrass, or nodding foxtail. It is known to be a pest of corn. It reduces crop harvest by 13-14% on an average plant distribution. This can be controlled by using herbicides.
Shortawn Foxtail (Alopecurus Aequalis)
This can be found in many types of habitat from Eurasia to North America. This is a perennial bunchgrass, it produces bunches in an upward stems between 10 and 70 centimeters in height. Its leaves are short, with blooms with white to yellow to bright orange anthers.
How to get rid Foxtails
Foxtails may grow in your lawn or backyard. Some types of foxtail grass may cause problems for your pets.
The primary way of preventing the spread of this type of grasses is to maintain a thick and healthy lawn. Mow your lawn to remove the seed heads before they mature and spread.
The best way to stop the development of foxtail is to use pre-emergent herbicide. Apply pre-emergent herbicides 1-2 weeks before germination.
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