Foxtail Weed

Discover how to fight this common grassy weed—and win.


Foxtail is an annual grassy weed that is also referred to as wild millet. There are three types of foxtail found throughout the U.S.: yellow, green, and giant. Yellow foxtail is the smallest of the three types and the most prevalent in lawns. They are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and can be found in both moist and dry soil.

Foxtail forms a coarse, upright bunch. The leaves are flat, wide, and smooth with edges that are slightly rough. The base of the leaves also has fine hairs. Flower stems rise from the base of the leaves. The stems hold a 3-10 inch spike that resembles a fox's tail. Plants will produce seed heads throughout the summer.

Foxtail can be prevented in the lawn by applying pre-emergent weed control in the spring. In summer, post-emergent weed control can be applied to control small plants before they produce seed heads.

What To Do and Helpful Tips

  • Regular feedings, 2-4 times per year, provide the nutrients your lawn needs to grow thick and strong and help crowd out weeds.
  • Mowing at a height best for your lawn allows the grass to grow thick and develop a deep root system. Grass clippings recycle nutrients back into the soil.
  • Your lawn will begin to wilt when water is needed. As much as possible, take advantage of nature's sprinklers and rely on the rain to water your lawn. If using sprinklers, water lawns deeply and infrequently (1" of water per week is all that your lawn needs).
  • If foxtail pops up in your landscape beds or hardscapes, kill it at the root using Ortho® GroundClear® Super Weed & Grass Killer.

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