How To Treat Your Lawn If You Have Green Foxtail In It

Green foxtail has many names: pigeongrass, green bristle grass, bottle grass, and green millet. It also has many seeds that can and will invade your lawn, flower beds, and anywhere else you may have disturbed soil. When it pops up on your lawn, it sticks out like a sore thumb, thanks to those clusters of seedheads blowing in the wind. If you're not careful about how you remove it, you could easily spread it across your entire lawn. Because of that, you need to be careful of this type of grass.

The troublesome thing about green foxtail is that it's part of the Poaceae (grass) family, so even though it's a weed, it acts like grass. It fits right in and doesn't know when to take its leave. It thrives wherever you've tilled the ground, especially if it lacks nutrients. The grass is an annual, meaning it won't come back once it dies, but it drops so many seeds that you're bound to see it again unless you're proactive about it. Even worse, it blooms from spring through fall; that's a lot of seeds! However, all hope is not lost. There is an easy way to treat it so it stops ruining the aesthetic of your lawn. Here's how.

Kick green foxtail out of your lawn for good

If you see green foxtail, get rid of it by pulling it out by hand. It's the best spot treatment method because you can ensure it won't spread its seeds, provided that you don't spread them yourself. If your entire lawn has been invaded, you'll need to reset the entire thing by overturning the plants and burying them in the dirt so the seeds can't sprout. (Obviously, only do this before they go to seed.) It might be difficult to spot it without the seedheads, but once you find a mature plant, notice how it looks: flat, smooth, and with little hairs on the tips. The plants form clumps, so they should stand out easily from your lawn.

If you choose to go the herbicide route, don't use glyphosate, as that will kill every plant, including the grass you're trying to keep. Instead, use something like MSM Turf Herbicide. You should also avoid mowing over foxtail once it has gone to seed. The lawnmower will spread the seeds far and wide.

Prevent green foxtail in your lawn by planting a vigorous grass, clover, or combination of the two. The established ground cover will choke out young seedlings and prevent them from sprouting. You can also control it by making sure the soil is adequately fertilized for the grass or other plants you want to grow since foxtail prefers poor soils.