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How to Clean Foxtail Plant

Updated: April 18, 2022

Foxtail plants are a popular ornamental grass with a unique and attractive appearance. However, they can be challenging to maintain due to their sharp and pointed seeds that can cause injury to pets and humans. Therefore, it is essential to clean foxtail plants regularly. In this article, we will discuss how to clean foxtail plants.

What is a Foxtail Plant?

Foxtail plants are a type of ornamental grass that grows in clumps and has a unique appearance with soft, bushy flower heads that resemble fox tails. They are popular for landscaping purposes as they add texture and movement to gardens.

Foxtails are annual plants that grow up to 5 feet tall and come in different varieties, including green, bronze, and burgundy.

Why Clean Foxtail Plants?

Foxtail plants are known for their sharp, pointed seeds that can cause injuries to pets and humans. These seeds can easily stick to clothing, fur, or skin and penetrate deep into the skin, causing pain, inflammation, and infection.

Moreover, foxtail plants can quickly spread throughout the garden if not cleaned regularly. The seeds can also cause harm to other plants in the garden.

Therefore, cleaning foxtail plants is necessary to prevent injury and maintain the overall health of the garden.

How to Clean Foxtail Plants

Cleaning foxtail plants involves removing the seed heads before they mature and drop seeds. Here are the steps:

  1. Wait for the right time: Foxtail plants produce seed heads in late summer or early fall. Therefore, wait until the seed heads have matured but not yet dropped seeds.

  2. Wear protective gear: Foxtail seeds are sharp and can cause injury. Therefore, wear protective gloves, long sleeves, pants, and eye protection.

  3. Cut the seed heads: Use pruning shears or scissors to cut the seed heads from the foxtail plant. Cut as close to the base of the seed head as possible.

  4. Collect the seed heads: Collect the seed heads in a bag and dispose of them in a sealed container or burn them.

  5. Clean the area: After collecting the seed heads, clean the area around the foxtail plant thoroughly. This will prevent any remaining seeds from spreading.


Q. How often should I clean my foxtail plants?

A. It is recommended to clean foxtail plants at least once a year before the seeds mature and drop.

Q. Can I compost foxtail plants?

A. It is not recommended to compost foxtail plants as they can easily spread seeds and cause harm to other plants or animals.

Q. Can I use herbicides to control foxtail plants?

A. Herbicides should be used as a last resort as they can harm other plants and animals in the garden. It is best to manually remove foxtail plants by cutting the seed heads.

Q. Can I plant foxtail plants near walkways or play areas?

A. It is not recommended to plant foxtail plants near walkways or play areas as their sharp seeds can cause injury to humans and pets.

In conclusion, cleaning foxtail plants is necessary to prevent injury and maintain a healthy garden. By following the steps mentioned above, you can effectively clean your foxtail plants and keep your garden safe for everyone.