Resources - Pests


Weed Control

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Mature Plant
Mature Plant
OTHER NAMES: Bottle grass, green bristle grass, wild millet, pigeon grass.

HABITAT: Grain fields, gardens, roadsides and waste places.

DESCRIPTION: Annual, reproduction by seed.  Stems are erect, branching at the base, 8-24 inches tall.   Leaves are flat, without hairs, rough, pointed blade 2-10 inches long.  Heads are cylindrical, tapering toward the summit, 1-4 inches long, soft, bristly, green.

SEED: Whitish, pale yellow or purplish, 1.5 mm long. About 350-450 seeds/head produced.

Green foxtail is a heavy seed producer but is a poor competitor unless in dense stands. It is slower germinating grows rapidly, and can compete with the crop. Under low light intensity green foxtail plants grow very poorly and remain small.

The seeds have some dormancy which is lost in a few weeks under cool, moist conditions and more slowly under warm, dry conditions.


Temperature, depth of burial and dormancy play an important role in the control of germination and emergence of green foxtail.

Germination occurs readily at temperatures from 15 degreed Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius which occur mainly during late May and early June. However, germination may continue up to September with the main flush of growth in June and subsequent germination associated with the occurrence of rainfall.

Most seedlings emerge from depths of 0.5-1 inch. Deep burial of the seeds influences their survival in the soil. Therefore, summerfallow tillage should be shallow to initiate germination. Maintaining a firm seedbed will also encourage germination of the seed.

Green foxtail is a poor competitor under most circumstances and can be controlled by strong crop stands produced with the aid of early seeding and good fertilization.    Green foxtail can result in significant yield losses if it emerges ahead of or with any crops planted.

Because foxtail requires warm soil temperatures for germination, it usually escapes spring cultivation for weed control. For this reason, delayed seeding is not suitable for control. To effectively reduce foxtail competition, a competitive crop should be sown as early as possible, and at a slightly higher seeding rate to provide a dense stand which will out-compete the weed.

Green foxtail seldom lives more than 3 years in the soil.