Giant foxtail emerges after common lambsquarters and the ragweeds. Ten percent emergence is observed between 150 and 300 GDD (base 48 F); 25 percent by 294 GDD (base 50 F). The period of emergence is lengthy.
Tillage: Night tillage has no effect on giant foxtail emergence.
Crop rotation: 2 years of alfalfa in the rotation will control giant foxtail. Few seeds will persist to germinate when alfalfa is rotated out to the corn or another crop.
The dedicated grass lover will need to know how to get rid of foxtail grass in lawns. Yellow foxtail is the most prevalent in turf grass. It grows in areas of moist or dry soil and is tolerant of a wide range of conditions.
They are found in ditches, cropland, disturbed building sites, roadsides and anywhere the natural ground flora has been disturbed.
How to Get Rid of Foxtail Grass in Lawns
If you are against chemical herbicide use, pull off the seed heads to prevent the plant from repopulating the area. Dig deeply to get the long roots, using a long slender weeding tool.
The plant is often hard to spot when mixed in with grass, as it starts out low to the ground with leaves parallel to the soil. Three main types are common in North America. These are:
Once the plants have emerged, it is a bit more difficult to eradicate them. There are some reports of success with a 5% solution of acetic acid, more commonly known as vinegar. Make the application directly onto the weed when it is in seedling stage. There is little effect on older plants.
What he found were many “foreign body” cases without resolution. Many of those may have been grass awn disease. A study in 1983 found that grass awn migration in dogs and cats accounted for 61 percent of all foreign body-related cases. Most involved dogs.
Sporting dog owners may know it best since field dogs routinely charge into thick brush, where they easily inhale or swallow foxtails, and spend hours in grassy hotspots. But dogs playing in the park or yard, hiking, at a roadside stop; any dog, wherever foxtails live, can develop grass awn migration disease.
It begins with a jagged seed. Of the many kinds of foxtails, both native and non-native, only some have harmful barbs. Among them: foxtail barley, found nationwide except in the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, according to the U.S. Forest Service; cheatgrass; giant foxtail, and ripgut brome, named for its effects on livestock. The spring through fall season often starts in May, when the green, bushy awns turn brown and seeds disperse. Their spikes help them burrow into soil or be spread by animals. They can also dig down in fur and puncture skin. The foxtail, which carries bacteria, may then keep tunneling into tissue, carving the dangerous path of infection that marks grass awn disease.
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Sporting dog owners hope to make it easier to diagnose and treat grass awn. Lauenroth, who trains retrievers, pursued the matter with a grant from the AKC and sporting dog groups. They suspect barbed grasses, especially Canada wild rye, planted in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program have caused more cases. The grasses occur on lands where field dogs train and trial. The program pays farmers to let idle cropland provide ecological services, such as erosion control and wildlife habitat. The farmers plant approved native grasses and comply with mowing restrictions.
The season of ripgut and painful vet bills is here. Foxtails, a longtime scourge in the West, can now be a problem in every state. And climate change may add a twist. Studies find that weeds grow faster under elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide; will migrate northward and are less sensitive to herbicides. A botanist who researched their effects on dogs also warns about a deadly disease.
Lauenroth’s advice is to thoroughly brush and comb after outings. The seeds don’t instantly disappear into the body. Also, get to know the few dangerous grass plants in your area.
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