Yellow Foxtail

Yellow foxtail is a grassy annual summer weed.   Yellow foxtail germinates when spring soil temperatures reach 60 degrees F.  The leaves of foxtail can be confused with that of crabgrass during its early stages.  The leaves of yellow foxtail are long and narrow.  The light green blades of this plant have hairs present on their surfaces.  Once the yellow foxtail plant matures, and the seed heads are present, it is easy to identify.  The seed heads resemble that of a fox’s tail, hence the name foxtail.  The seed heads are found on top of a tall firm stem.  The seed heads are long and narrow and contain an almost wheat like appearance.  The seed heads hug the stem rods.  On the outer edges of the seed heads, there is golden brown hair like structures found.  Yellow foxtail grows in a clump and does not spread by creeping.  The plant grows upward and not outward.  This plant is located all across the United States, but mostly in the midwest.  Yellow foxtail reproduces by seed.

Yellow Foxtail mature plant.

Yellow Foxtail

Yellow Foxtail seed head.

Yellow Foxtail Seed Pod

Yellow Foxtail

Setaria Gluca


Treatment for this weed should be made with a pre-emergent weed control application in the spring.  Depending on the weather conditions, more than one spring application of pre-emergents may be needed to control this weed.  Pre-emergent products must be applied in the spring, before the germination of this weed.  Dimension and Barricade are common pre-emergent products labeled for the control of yellow foxtail along with crabgrass.  If you have a breakthrough in control, there are several products found in the market that are marked for post-emergent foxtail control.  The best way to naturally control this weed is to increase the density of your turf.  Thick, healthy grass will naturally deter this weed from invading.  Make sure to mow your lawn at the appropriate height and implement proper horticulture practices that discourage this weed from growing.

Similar grassy weeds.

  • Crabgrass
  • Quackgrass

Click here for other Yellow Foxtail identification sources.