How To Identify Foxtail Grass?

Yellow foxtail grass

Whether you’re trying to identify foxtail grass in your yard or a neighbor’s lawn, it can be difficult to tell the difference. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the wrong trap: we’ve got your back.

Foxtail grass is a common lawn weed that looks similar to crabgrass. It can be identified by its tall, thin stalks, which are covered with small white flowers.

Foxtail grass thrives in warm weather and can cause problems for your lawn if left unchecked.

This article will help you identify foxtail grass to get rid of it once and for all. Let’s get started.

What Is Foxtail Grass?

Foxtail grass is a perennial grass that grows in warm climates. It forms tall stalks that are covered with small, white flowers.

Foxtail is most commonly found in southern states like California and Texas and in cooler climates such as the Pacific Northwest.

The seedheads resemble fox tails, which is how foxtail got its name! 

Why Is Foxtail Grass a Problem?

One of the most common lawn problems you’ll encounter is foxtail grass. Foxtail grass is a problem because it’s hard to control and can invade your lawn.

This invasive species will quickly spread throughout your yard and choke out other plants.

Foxtail grass also has sharp, jagged edges that hurt when stepped on!

Are Foxtail Seeds Harmful?

Foxtail grass is not a harmful weed. However, the seeds pose a significant threat since they have barbs that may puncture the skin of horses, dogs, and other animals.

What Does Foxtail Grass Look Like?

Fox tail grass may resemble other kinds of grass, but there are a few ways to tell them apart.

Here are some unique features that can be used to identify foxtail.

Method #1: Examine the Grass Blades

Foxtail grass blades
Source: Flora-on

Foxtail grass has a very distinctive blade. The leaves are narrow but also twisted and folded into a point at the end. This gives foxtail blades an almost feathery appearance.

There are generally two varieties of grass blades. The green and yellow foxtails have flat blades with a soft, flexible feel.

While the surfaces of the green variety’s leaves tend to be smooth, both yellow and giant varieties have hairs on their upper portions.

When the grass is young, it has a velvety texture that gradually becomes more coarse as it matures.

Foxtail blades also have a rough texture on the underside, which helps them attach to clothing and animal fur as they move through tall grasses.

Method #2: Look at the Stems

Foxtail grass stem
Source: Matt Lavin

The stems of foxtail grasses are distinct from other types of grasses. They have no nodes, meaning the stems continue to grow straight up without any breaks or changes in direction.

Foxtail stems are also relatively thin and wiry, with a diameter of less than 1/4 inch. The stems of foxtail grasses are also hollow, which means they are very light and airy.

This helps them float on the wind, which is why they are so difficult to control after they become established in lawns.

The hollow stems also mean that foxtail grasses are more likely to break off when you step on them or mow over them, which makes it easier for the seeds to spread around your lawn.

Method #3: Check Out the Seed Heads

Foxtail grass seed head

The seed head of foxtail grass is composed of several tiny spikelets. Although they can also be tan or yellow, the spikelets are often brown.

You can see the fluffy nature of the seeds and how they evolved from tiny flower heads over a period.

The seedheads of yellow foxtails are often smaller than those of green foxtails. The bristles of yellow foxtails are likewise rough.

Wind pollinates foxtail blooms, and when the seeds are ready, they fall to the ground and are dispersed by animals to other locations.

Method #4: Know Where and When Foxtail Grows

If you’re unsure what foxtail looks like, take a walk through your yard or neighborhood and look for the telltale clumps of grass.

If you see these tall, thin stalks with small leaves on top, there’s a good chance that you’ve found foxtail. Foxtail grows best in warm climates, reaching heights of up to three feet.

Foxtails tend to inhabit the disturbed areas of a landscape, such as rocky ground along roadsides or cracks in sidewalks.

However, they are not usually found where grasses grow naturally—only after disturbance and bare soil are exposed.

Yellow and green foxtails flourish throughout the U.S., though big foxtail is more common in the Southeastern states. When you begin to see foxtail in your area, it’s time to start thinking about controlling the weed.

5 Tips To Get Rid of Foxtail Grass

Although you can eradicate foxtail grass by burning or tilling the area, this spreads seeds and can cause new plants to grow in your yard.

The following five tips will help you eradicate foxtail grass from your home.

Tip #1: Spread Lime or Blood Meal on the Lawn

Foxtail grass thrives in soil high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus. You can add lime to your lawn to lower the pH level, making it less hospitable to foxtail.

Blood meal also lowers pH levels and decreases nitrogen levels, so it can be used as an alternative to lime.

Foxtail Weeds Die From Glyphosate

In addition to being effective at killing foxtail, glyphosate has other benefits: it’s safe for humans and pets, it doesn’t require watering after application, and it prevents weed regrowth.

Tip #2: Apply Herbicides

Herbicides can be used to kill off foxtail grass. Look for a post-emergent herbicide that contains glyphosate, dicamba or 2,4-D.

These chemicals will kill the grass but usually won’t harm other plants in your yard.

Tip #3: Use Urine

You can use urine to kill foxtail grass if you have a male dog. Pour it on the problem areas and let it sit for two days before rinsing off.

If you don’t have a dog but want to try this method, collect some of your urine in a jar and pour it over the lawn.

Tip #4: Apply Vinegar

Destilled white vinegar
Source: Willis Lam

Vinegar is another way to kill foxtail grass. Dilute one part vinegar with nine parts water and spray it on the problem areas using a garden sprayer.

Let it sit for at least 24 hours before rinsing off.

Tip #5: Try Grass Killer

You can purchase a lawn weed killer at most garden stores.

Read the instructions carefully before applying this product to your yard, and wear protective gear like gloves and goggles.


So, we’ve learned that foxtail grass is a common weed found in many places, including your yard. It’s also pretty easy to identify.

You can identify foxtail grass with seeds, stems, and leaves and eliminate them with herbicides, especially glyphosate.

If you see something like foxtail grass in your yard, it’s best to pay attention to it! It would be best if you got rid of it as soon as possible.

If foxtail grass is left on your property, it can spread quickly and cause a lot of damage to your yard. 

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