Green Foxtail


bottle-grass, wild millet, pigeon-grass

Setaria viridis

Green foxtail is a clumping annual grass that commonly invades Michigan turfs. Young plants can be difficult to distinguish from other grasses like crabgrass. Green foxtail produces a characteristic 'foxtail'-like seedhead.

  • Crops Affected: turf


    The most effective management of foxtail is to maintain a dense turfgrass sward. As a summer annual, seeds will germinate in the spring when soil temperatures and moisture are optimum. Foxtail can produces thousands of seeds per year. Minimizing seed production with consistent mowing can be an effective long-term deterrent. Taller mowing heights and judicious nitrogen fertilization can be very effective to reduce foxtail populations.

    Similar Species

    The foxtails, in general, can be confused with crabgrass as seedlings. Giant foxtail (rarely in turf) is easily distinguished by conspicuous hairs on the upper leaf surface and sheath. Yellow foxtail lacks hairs on the sheath and is very sparsely hairy on the upper leaf surface but has long hairs at the base of the leaf. Green foxtail has sheaths with hairy margins but lacks hairs on the upper leaf surface.