Foxtail Control

Most Effective Products

Barricade Granular Pre-emergent Herbicide
As low as $28.99
MSM Turf Herbicide (Manor)
Water Dispersible Granule (WDG)
As low as $15.43
Nanotek Surfactant
As low as $27.99
Keith's Pro Tips

"When controlling foxtail, combine chemical herbicides with organic weed-control methods. While chemical herbicides can take care of the majority of the problem, enlisting the help of certain organic control methods can help in between applications, making the extermination process go quicker overall.'

Foxtail Control: How To Get Rid of Foxtail

Foxtail is a tricky and clever weed that has the tendency to pop up whenever careful attention isn't placed on lawn maintenance. Foxtail is usually an annual weed but occasionally can be a perennial. Foxtail gets its name from its unique and bushy seedhead which resembles, you guessed it, the tail of a fox. This weed has spread prolifically across America, invading disturbed soils.

Foxtails are found in ditches, cropland, disturbed building sites, roadsides and anywhere the natural ground flora has been disturbed. They not only are a nuisance for lawn owners, but they can be hazardous to animals who happen to come into contact with the plant as the spikes and hairs can get lodged in nostrils and ear canals. This can greatly disturb an animal which, in worst cases, can cause death.

If you are noticing foxtails growing on your lawn, our DIY foxtail treatment guide will show you how to get rid of problematic foxtail weeds. By following our step-by-step instructions and using our professional herbicide recommendations, you can remove foxtail from your lawn quickly and affordably.



All successful weed treatment programs start with identification. You need to be sure that the weed you are dealing with is, in fact, foxtail and not some other weed. Careless identification can lead to wrong treatment methods, costing you time and money. Knowing what foxtails look like can help. Here are some trails to keep in mind when checking to see if you have foxtails:

  • There are three species of foxtail that most commonly invade lawns in the United States: there is yellow foxtail (Setaria pumila or Setaria glauca), green foxtail (Setaria viridis) and giant foxtail (Setaria faberi).
  • These plants have many similar traits and once they have matured, these grasses bear panicles, or a unique brush-like seed head which looks like the tail of a fox, hence their name. These seed heads grow from a stalk in the center of the plant, with several blades of grass sprouting from the same stalk down to the soils surface. Foxtail grasses usually grow in thick clusters with Green and Yellow foxtails ranging 1 to 3 feet tall, while Giant Foxtail can grow as large as 3 to 7 feet in height.
  • Foxtail grass blades are flat and vary in width between 1/4 to 1/2 inches in Green and Yellow Foxtails. The giant foxtail blades are 1/2 inch wide or wider.
  • Yellow and giant foxtails have hairy blades on the upper surface while green foxtail blades are smooth.
  • When they have matured and developed seedheads, yellow foxtails seedheads can grow to 3 inches long and have short, coarse bristles. Green Foxtails have softer bristled seedheads up to 6 inches long, while giant foxtails seedheads are droopy and are between 3 to 7 inches long.

Use the descriptions and image above to help you to identify foxtail. While its important to know which exact species of foxtail you're dealing with, fortunately, they can be treated with similar products and strategies. If you have trouble identifying the weed yourself, contact our experts via phone or email. We will respond back to you quickly with not only the correct ID of the plant, but we will also give you our top product recommendations for control.



After you have confirmed that you are dealing with foxtails, you can then move forward with an inspection. In this phase, you will pinpoint the areas where foxtail is growing most as well as observe the conditions of the area helping it to thrive.

Where to Inspect

Foxtail typically thrives in areas that are undergoing stress or in disturbed, compact soils that are rich in nitrogen, disturbed; meaning the soil has been disturbed by human activity. These can be in ditches, croplands, farmland, commercial building sites, roadsides, and cracks in paved areas where bare soil is exposed. While foxtails thrive in that soil, they're actually able to grow in a wide variety of environments as well. They can even show up or spread to lawns. Foxtails are summer annual weeds. They'll germinate in spring when the soil temperature warms to over 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Foxtail is less likely to grow in natural undisturbed areas. Yellow and green foxtails are distributed across the entire United States, while giant foxtail is mostly found in the southeast region of the country.

What To Look For

A unique and bushy seedhead that resembles the tail of a fox. Once you have determined how severe of a foxtail problem you have (a minor flareup or majorly taking over your entire lawn) you will then know where to focus your chemical herbicide applications.


Please be sure that when handling any type of herbicide, you are properly protecting your skin and eyes with safety equipment. Goggles, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing should be the minimum. Remember to keep all people and pets off the treated areas until dry.

If Foxtail has already emerged on your lawn you're going to have a tougher time controlling them. They don't respond very well to manual methods of control so your best bet is to apply a post-emergent such as msm turf herbicide.

Step 1: Mix and Apply MSM Turf Herbicide

TopShot application

To get rid of foxtails growing in turf, you can use a post-emergent herbicide like MSM Turf. MSM Turf Herbicide is our go-to product for getting rid of foxtails because of its convenience and low-cost. MSM Turf is a dry flowable herbicide that contains the active ingredient Metsulfuron Methyl and can cover 43,560 sq. ft. of area (1 acre). This product is labeled to treat a large variety of broadleaf weeds, but it can also be used to control a few grassy weeds, including foxtail. MSM Turf can be applied over warm-season grasses, as well as a few cool-season grasses. You will apply this product at a rate of 0.5 to 1.0 ounce per acre of treatment area. In smaller applications, this translates to 0.011 to 0.023 ounces for 1,000 square feet, or in metric, 0.31 to 0.65 grams.

If you're dealing with foxtails growing from cracks and crevices in pavement, then you can use a product like Eraser. Eraser is a non-selective weed killer that's made with the active ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate is a very powerful ingredient, however, it is non-selective, meaning the product will affect and kill any plant it is applied to. This makes it great for treating isolated spots like within pavement, but its generally not recommended for lawns as it will severely damage or kill your grass if you're not careful. Use Eraser at a rate of 2.5 fluid ounces per gallon of water. This will treat up to 300 square feet of treatment area.

To mix your product, add half the water into the pump sprayer, add your measured amount of MSM Turf OR Eraser, then add the remaining half of the water and close the sprayer. Shake the sprayer to agitate, and pump to produce a low-pressure spray.

If you're mixing both products in separate sprayers, be sure to keep the Eraser solution labeled as a non-selective herbicide.

With low pressure, spray weeds directly and use a fan setting to thoroughly coat the leaves surface. Spray the weed to the point of wet, but not runoff.

Adding a surfactant to the msm turf herbicide mixture such as Nanotek Surfactant can enhance the effectiveness of removing foxtails within your property by mixing it with the msm turf herbicide. 

Measure the square footage of your yard and then input the appropriate amount of msm turf herbicide in a pump sprayer or hose-end sprayer, then mixed with appropriate amount of water. Add surfactant to the msm turf herbicide mixture at a rate of 0.5 to 4 tsp. per gallon of the solution and agitate until well mixed.

Apply the msm turf herbicide solution to the foxtail plants on a fan tip nozzle spray setting. This will shoot a mist that will evenly coat the foxtail for best results in eradicating it from your lawn.

We recommend follow up applications after a couple of weeks. Don't assume that a "one and done" application will be enough. Foxtail is persistent, so you have to be just as persistent to get rid of it by conducting multiple applications as necessary until it is gone.

You will probably need to apply msm turf herbicide at least 2 to 3 times to be successful in wiping out the Foxtail completely. You should see affected plants wilt and start to die within the first two weeks of application.


The best way to deal with foxtail weed in your lawn is to prevent it from growing in the first place. In the early spring before the soil temperature warms to 65 degrees and before Foxtail seeds germinate apply a pre-emergent, such as barricade. When applied properly, Barricade will form a chemical barrier that will stop weed seeds from sprouting. Barricade comes in a granular form, so you'll need a broadcast push spreader to apply it. Be sure to look up your areas soil temperatures to find the best window for pre-emergent application. Timing is key for the best results.

Prepare and Apply Barricade Pre-Emergent

Spreading Barricade

Barricade contains prodiamine, a highly effective active ingredient that controls and prevents seeds from sprouting. Depending on your turfgrass type, barricade can be applied at a rate from 1.5 pounds to 4 pounds per 1,000 sq. ft. (read the label to find the proper rate for your turf type). Measure the square footage of your lawn to determine how much Barricade you will need.

Once you have measured the appropriate amount based on your calculations, load the barricade granules at the right calibration setting into a hand or push spreader and then apply the granules until your lawn is covered evenly to get a uniform application. A push spreader is preferred if you have a large property to spread the granules on while a hand spreader, like the plantmates scatterox, is better for more precision and control over where you want to spread the granules. Broadcast half your granules in parallel lines once across the area. Then broadcast the other half at a perpendicular angle to cover the area in its entirety. After broadcasting the granules, you should then water in and activate them with at least 0.5 inches of water. Most effective control can be achieved with at least half an inch of water within 14 days of application.

If applied properly, Barricade will stop new weeds from germinating in your turf for up to 90 days. Foxtail seeds are known to remain viable for up to three years, so be sure to reapply Barricade in the fall to stop winter weeds, and again in spring to stop that years round of foxtails.

You can also prevent the return of foxtail after it has been controlled with cultural practices that will hinder the redevelopment of this invasive grassy weed. A lush and healthy lawn is your best defense. By strengthening your turfgrass and keeping up with maintenance, you'll choke out weeds and give them little opportunity to grow.

Keep in mind that foxtail grows in soil with high Nitrogen content. Properly fertilize your landscape at the best time recommended for your particular grass. When selecting a fertilizer, choose the right mix of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium that will keep your lawn strong, but not overstimulated. You can even consider using a slow-release fertilizer to temper the amount of nitrogen your lawn receives. Mow your lawn taller to about 3 or 4 inches, and water your grass deeply once a week rather than a little every day. These can help strengthen your lawn to fight weeds that are attempting to grow.

Key Takeaways

What is Foxtail?

  • Foxtail is a grassy weed that often pops up on residential lawns that are not receiving enough lawn maintenance.

How To Get Rid Of Foxtail

  • Use post-emergent control via msm turf herbicide when the plant has emerged to keep foxtail under control.

Preventing Foxtail Reemergence

  • Prevent the return of foxtail with a pre-emergent application of barricade and by implementing a good lawn maintenance routine that ensures a thick, healthy nutrient-rich lawn.
Questions and Answers
  1. Q:Would like to know what product is best to control foxtail in pasture grass?
    A:We would recommend using Alligare MSM 60 Herbicide. - This is labelled to control foxtail in a range of application sites, including pastures!


  2. Q:Hello! Your information has helped me a lot! I am going to order the barricade but I do have a question, I am trying very hard to kill Foxtail on my property with MSM turf right now, and then after it appears to be dead, I was going to burn off Whatever residual is left of the plant and then plant new grass for a lawn. How long should I wait prior to seeding the new grass after MSM turf? And then do I need to put down barricade to try to prevent new seeds from germinating or do I wait till fall to do that? Thank you so much for your help!
    A:Generally, you will want to wait about 8 weeks after applying MSM Turf to put down seed. For Barricade, you may want to wait until fall to apply because Barricade can inhibit the germination of turf seed.

    Colin Travis

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    MSM Turf Herbicide (Manor)
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    Solutions Sprayer - 1 Gallon Poly
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    Nanotek Surfactant
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    Prodoxaben 3.7 SC
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