Growing your own garden is always a difficult task, but nothing makes things harder than dealing with foxtails. This invasive grass-type weed can grow anywhere grass normally grows, so it goes without saying that your beautiful yard is a prime target for this pesky invader to try and find a home for itself in. It has a tendency to spread rapidly, making a foxtail invasion one of the worst things that can happen to any gardener. So here are a few handy ways you can beat this menace.
Since foxtail is a grass, you have to use fertilizers that will help control the growth of grass type plants, which means broadleaf fertilizers won’t work on it. So keeping in mind both workable options and the rapidity with which foxtail spreads, an easily available solution would be to use glyphosate.
Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, which is both a plus and a minus. Ideally, you ought to spray the area entirely with glyphosate before you start planting anything in it, which will go a long way in curbing weed growth in the future. However, if you already have a garden growing, it will kill not just the foxtail, but almost everything else as well. This could work out for you, though, if your garden is completely overrun by weeds and beyond repair. You will need to apply glyphosate around two to three times at least to rid the soil of foxtail.
Apply it only when the weed begins to reemerge, and give at least a two week gap between each application of it. If possible, also use organic weed control methods along with chemicals. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use such strong herbicides, you can try using USDA approved vinegar instead. This will require you to pour the vinegar manually on the foxtail and dampen the soil it’s in, with the goal of getting as much of it near the weed’s roots as possible.
Keep applying vinegar each time you see foxtail growing, especially when it’s still a seedling as that’s when vinegar will be most effective. You can also try using mulch instead, but you have to make sure the mulch completely covers the foxtail to deny it sunlight and nutrients.
You can dig under the foxtail and turn the weeds under the soil, thereby trapping them underground with no sunlight. You can also go for the more direct method of pulling the weed out by its roots. It’s a time consuming tactic, but a very effective one nonetheless. It will also require you to dig under the soil after pulling it out to get rid of any remaining long roots.
Wear thick gloves to protect your hands if you choose to do things this way. Also keep a regular check on the soil pH. Different plants react differently to various soil pH values, and the soil you are using to grow your plants should be suited to them. This will also help make sure the soil stays more or less unsuitable for growing foxtail.
Fill the Area with Other Growth
Having too much vegetation growing at once in your yard can cause the plants you are growing to compete with each other for resources, causing a few to die out. So you can use this to your advantage by replacing the grass in your garden with sod. It also helps to be careful about what you plan to grow in your garden beforehand.
Good options would be legumes or grass hay (soild stand crops) over row crops (eg. soybeans and corn) as the space between row crops can encourage foxtail growth. Also be sure to make sure that whatever grass you grow in your area is thick, strong, and well nourished. Follow all this up by regularly mowing the area, maintaining a minimum grass height of around 2 or 3 inches.
By making sure you have a healthy garden, you can ensure keeping foxtail out of it. Keep maintaining it regularly and by making the right choices, you will never have to deal with an infestation ever!