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Protect Your Pets From Foxtail Weed

salisbury greenhouse dog smiling in garden

 

Foxtail weeds can be quite the blight on your lawn. These weeds can take over beautiful turf and healthy lawns in the blink of an eye. Learn how to prevent and get rid of foxtails in this guide.

 

What are Foxtails, Anyway?

Foxtail weeds are actually a type of annual weed or grass that spreads from seed””and it can take over quickly! Foxtail grass can grow up to 10 inches high and is identifiable with its thick “foxtail” bundle of seeds. This invasive weed can damage your turf and take over other species, so it’s a good idea to get on top of prevention and treatment as soon as possible.  

 

Why are Foxtails the Worst?

While they can be beautiful, I vote that foxtails are the worst. Not only are they invasive, but they can also irritate our allergies and skin, and can harm pets. While they aren’t toxic plants; they are irritating in a different way. If pets bite or step on the sharp, barb-like foxtail seeds, they can become embedded in their paws, snout, mouth, skin, or throat, causing pain, damage, and potential allergic reactions.    

 

salisbury greenhouse foxtail weed in dog paw

Can Foxtails Kill a Dog?

It’s unlikely that contact with a foxtail will do major damage to your precious pupper, but be vigilant to get this grass far away from you, your family, and your best furry friend. If you suspect your pet has made contact with a foxtail, do a thorough check-over from tip to tail for any signs of seeds impacted in their skin or fur. Don’t forget to check their paw pads and ears, too. Keep an eye out for any of these allergy symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Swelling

 

How to Get Rid of Foxtails

There are a few different tactics to try to get rid of foxtails in your yard. You can opt for chemical or organic methods of getting rid of foxtails.  

Pre-Emergent Herbicide Treatment: If you’re comfortable with chemical treatments, a pre-emergent herbicide is a reliable method for preventing foxtails. Always follow instructions on herbicide treatments and wear protective gear. Pre-emergent herbicide is applied before the weeds have emerged, so it’s best to apply this in areas where you have dealt with foxtails in the past. Aim to apply it early in the growing season.  

A Little Manual Labour: If you catch foxtail weeds early on, you can pull them up as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading. The faster you catch them and get them out of there, the easier it will be to keep away from your beautiful garden.  

 

salisbury greenhouse adding mulch to garden

  • Get to Mulching: One preventative measure is to lay mulch down in areas you don’t want weeds to invade. You can cut foxtails down to their stems, lay down a thick layer of mulch, and wait and hope that the mulch blocks out enough sunlight and water that it suffocates the foxtails.

  • Dabble on Some Vinegar: Another DIY way to get rid of foxtail weeds is to apply vinegar to the grass. Make sure your vinegar is 5% acetic acid. Apply the vinegar as close to the roots as possible until it is thoroughly moist. Vinegar is most effective against new foxtail grass. It won’t be a good option for established weeds.  

 

salisbury greenhouse man mowing lawn

How to Prevent Foxtail Growth

Prevention is always the best-case scenario when it comes to any invasive weeds. Besides pulling them up as soon as you see them, you can take preventative measures to stop them from cropping up in the first place.

  • Mow your lawn regularly.
  • Fertilize your grass.
  • Keep your lawn at the appropriate height.
  • Plant lots of vegetation! Planting more creates extra competition for nutrients: meaning foxtails have less to grow with.


Make sure you protect your lawn and pets by learning how to get rid of foxtails in Edmonton. For more tips on lawn and garden health and maintenance, come visit us.

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