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I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of foxtail

Posted by snycal z9CA (My Page) on
Tue, May 11, 10 at 20:17

I just moved here about a month ago and basically it's over run with foxtail grass. My goats don't like it and I can see this is going to be a long term problem. Any suggestions? This was used for cattle and guessing cows like foxtail? I have heard enough horror stories to last a lifetime with foxtails in the eyes, nose, cheeks, and gum line of back of teeth. I don't really want to mow because I'm trying to convert to more of a permaculture type of environment. Plus I want to encourage more shrub and vines.

Thanks in advance

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

I don't know about foxtail, but cheat grass doesn't like water. So you could try watering (11 acres is a lot to water).

I think you are going to have to mow and get it under control before you go on to plant what you want.

Cattle don't like foxtail and it can kill them the same as any other animal. What you've got is pasture that has been over-grazed. The cattle ate the best plants and left what they don't like.

Sorry, but I suspect you've got years of battle ahead of you if you are opposed to spraying.

Wild oats will crowd it out, and your goats will happily eat oat grass, but you still get a seed awn that can get into animal eyes and ears (but not nearly as bad as foxtail)

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

foxtail is an annual. you can use a pre emergant herbicide that will kill any seed that trys to germinate in the spring.

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

One place foxtail wont grow is in the shade. Plant something tall (big bluestem?) and it will all be a memory.

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

Have you checked with your county ext service.We have a pasture management Agent maybe your county does too.

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

One thing I have learned with all kinds of weeds is the simple rule that "something will always grow in every spot" the lesson to learn from that is that foxtail will always grow there until something else does. A very good crop to compete with most any weed is Sudan grass. It's an annual, grows fast and rather tall so it will compete with and crowd out most weeds so the others can't grow. In our area, Sudan is used on new ground that hasn't been cultivated for a while and is bound to sprout all kinds of weeds and does very well. Sudan can be cut for hay, used for forage, or plowed down for a green manure crop. I like your idea of minimal, or even zero tillage, but you may need to commit to a little at first to get your land under control, and growing the things you want.
Once you have fought the battle on the big scale and won, be sure to keep vigilante for ANY little sprout that tries to get started and eradicate it promptly. One little sprig that is neglected and grows to seed can get the problem started all over again very quickly. You will certainly have a little reoccurrance for a couple of years as some seed will hold over a year and sprout the next.
One additional benefit of Sudan is that it is a very good host for Mycorrhiza which will benefit your soil and you may want to consider adding it as you plant.

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

Thank you all for the great advice. I appreciate it and have a lot of work ahead. I think it will be worth it though. I'm very much into promoting land management with goats (and usable for others) and not over-grazed land.

there are some great minds here!

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

Thanks for starting this thread and all the replies! My wife and I recently purchased a 15 acre parcel in Lincoln, CA covered in foxtail and poison oak and have been looking at our options. We will be contacting our local extension for pasture management, are looking into Sudan Grass, Water, Shade...Anything else?

Just to clarify, can we graze goats on the property early on to clear the poison oak, or are foxtails too hurtful to them?

RE: I have 11 acres, is there any way to reduce the amount of fox

Wow, it's been a year since I started this thread! I have not succeeded in getting rid of the foxtail but wow my goats have really cleaned up the thistle. It's amazing how the pasture was barely walkable without needles of pain in the legs to pleasant green grasses.

The foxtail is still a problem that I'm still working on but thankfully I haven't had any injuries. We have had a great water year and the foxtail has crowded out the Sudan grass :(as far as I can tell.

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