06 January 2024, US: Foxtail, a grass-like weed, is distinguished by its spiky, brush-like seed heads that mimic a fox’s tail. Several species of Foxtail, including Yellow Foxtail, Green Foxtail, and Giant Foxtail, can be detrimental to soybean crops.
Foxtail primarily targets the lower parts of the soybean plant, competing for resources at the soil level. This competition can stunt the growth of the soybean plants and decrease their pod production capacity.
Beyond resource competition, Foxtail can interfere with the physiology of the soybean plant. The weed can shade the lower leaves of the soybean plant, reducing photosynthesis and limiting energy production. Furthermore, Foxtail can produce allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of the soybean plants.
This post will outline:
- How to identify Foxtail
- Geographic impact of Foxtail
- Timing of Foxtail
- How to manage Foxtail in soybeans
How to Identify Foxtail
Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Foxtail plants generally stand 1-3 feet tall, boasting a sturdy stem. The leaves are flat with a rough texture, marked by a prominent mid-rib. The seed heads, the plant’s most distinctive feature, are cylindrical and can vary in color from green and yellow to purple, depending on the species.
As a warm-season annual grass, Foxtail germinates in the spring and perishes in the fall. It thrives in disturbed soils and is commonly found in fields, pastures, and along roadsides. A thick, grass-like weed with a spiky seed head in your soybean field is likely a Foxtail.
Identifying Foxtail can be a challenge as it can easily be mistaken for other grassy weeds. However, the unique seed head serves as a reliable identifier. Moreover, Foxtail leaves are covered with tiny hairs, visible under a hand lens.
Foxtail Geographic Distribution
Foxtail is a widespread weed found throughout the United States, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast regions. It favors full sun and well-drained soils.
Foxtail Growing Season
Foxtail typically germinates in late spring or early summer when soil temperatures reach approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It continues to grow throughout the summer, producing seeds in late summer or early fall.
How to Chemically Manage Foxtail
For Foxtail management in soybeans, consider two products:
- Willowood Sulfen Chlorim
- Authority® Maxx
Both are herbicides containing Sulfentrazone and Chlorimuron ethyl, labeled for use with soybeans specifically for Foxtail control.
The application rates for Willowood Sulfen Chlorim and Authority® Maxx can be found on their respective labels; Access the label for Willowood Sulfen Chlorim here and the label for Authority® Maxx here. Please refer to the labels for specific application rates and instructions for effective use in managing Foxtail in soybeans.
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