Foxtail, a grass-like weed, is distinguished by its spiky, brush-like seed heads that mimic a fox's tail. Several species of foxtail, including yellow foxtail, green foxtail, and giant foxtail, can be detrimental to crops.

Image Credit: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

Foxtail, Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

How to Identify Foxtail

Effective control of foxtail hinges on early identification. Foxtail plants boast a bristly "foxtail" appearance at their peak, hence their name. They have flat, coarse leaves and can reach heights of up to three feet. The plant has a sturdy, fibrous root system. 

Foxtail plants tend to cluster due to their prolific seed production. If you spot patches of tall, bushy grass in your field that seem out of place, you may have a foxtail infestation.

Image Credit: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

Geographic Impact of Foxtail

Foxtail is a resilient weed that thrives in a wide range of climates. It can live in a variety of habitats, including agricultural fields, pastures, roadsides, and disturbed areas.

It is commonly found in the Midwest and Great Plains regions of the United States.

It can also be found in various regions of Canada. It is particularly prevalent in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba), where it can be present in wheat fields, pastures, and other cultivated areas. Foxtail can also be found in other parts of Canada, including Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, although its distribution may vary depending on local conditions and farming practices.

This widespread weed also can grow in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. 

Timing of Foxtail Emergence

Foxtail typically emerges in late spring and early summer. It continues to grow throughout the summer and can produce seeds until the first frost.

How Foxtail Impacts Soybeans

Foxtail primarily targets the lower parts of the soybean plant, competing for resources at the soil level. This competition can stunt the growth of the soybean plants and decrease their pod production capacity.

Beyond resource competition, foxtail can interfere with the physiology of the soybean plant. The weed can shade the lower leaves of the soybean plant, reducing photosynthesis and limiting energy production. Furthermore, foxtail can produce allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of the soybean plants.

How to Manage Foxtail in Soybeans


Foxtail can be controlled with a variety of both pre- and post-emergence grass herbicides typically used in soybeans. 




Farmers in Canada can use some products containing dimethenamid-p that are labeled for use with soybeans to manage foxtail.

For Western Canada, it is more common to use products like Advantage Trifluralin 10% (a residual product) or Carfentrazone (non-residual product) for pre-seed applications. That can be followed by products like Clethodim and Quizalofop for in-crop.

Willowood Glypho 5 Tote

How Foxtail Impacts Wheat

Wheat, a staple food for millions, faces numerous threats that can compromise its yield and quality. One such threat is foxtail, a common weed. 

Foxtail affects wheat in several ways:

1. Competition: Foxtail competes with wheat for nutrients, light, and space. This competition can lead to reduced wheat yield and quality.

2. Pest and Disease Host: Foxtail can harbor pests and diseases that can damage the wheat crop. For example, the weed can host the cereal cyst nematode, a pest that can cause significant yield loss in wheat.

3. Harvest Interference: Foxtail can interfere with wheat harvest. The weed's seed heads can mix with the wheat, reducing the quality of the harvested grain.

How to Manage Foxtail in Wheat

Early identification and management of this weed is crucial to maintaining high wheat yields and quality. Farmers and agronomists should be vigilant in scouting for foxtail and implementing effective control measures.


Strive for a strong stand to shade out green and yellow foxtail early. 


  • In the fall, use Zidua® SC for hard spring wheat and winter wheat. It should be surface applied or soil incorporated. Alternatively, it can be used in the spring from wheat emergence through fourth tiller. 




Farmers in Canada can use some products containing glyphosate that are labeled for use with wheat to manage foxtail like Advantage Trifloralin 10%, Advantage Triallate 10% + Trifloralin 4%, or Carfentrazone prior to seeding. 

For in-crop, use Clodinafop or Quinclorac, which is a broadleaf product that can control green and yellow foxtail at early stages. 


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