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Foxtail

Foxtail Barley (Foxtail) is a perennial grass that can grow within the City of Lethbridge and although it is not designated by legislation as a noxious weed, it can be dangerous to pets.

For this reason, City of Lethbridge staff control foxtail on public property by mowing and weed whipping where it is abundant and work with property owners to control their Foxtail, particularly in vacant lots.

Pet Safety

Foxtail usually matures in mid-summer forming barbed seed heads. These can become extremely dangerous to dogs and other animals as they can get lodged in the skin, mouth, nose and eyes. If a dog digests these barbed seed heads, they can cause serious illness or even death.

You can protect your pet by:

  • Avoid areas where Foxtail and other weeds are growing
  • If you must go in these areas, keep your dog on a leash at all times
  • Trim the hair between your dog's toes, around ears and their belly
  • Check their coat for Foxtail and brush your dog after being outdoors
  • Use a netted muzzle

Weed control in the City of Lethbridge

Through the Alberta's Weed Control Act, Alberta Weed Regulation and the City's Weed Control Bylaw, certain plants have been identified as noxious weeds.

In Alberta, Foxtail is not designated by legislation as a noxious weed.

The City of Lethbridge is responsible for controlling noxious weeds on public property.

When noxious weeds are reported on private property, notices are issued to the property owners to address the problem. All weed notices must comply with processes approved by the Alberta Weed Control Act.

The city issues in excess of 700 weed notices to control noxious weeds annually.

How to control Foxtail?

Foxtail is not a plant that is designated by legislation as noxious weed and therefore, weed notices are not issues specifically for Foxtail. However, they do most often grow in areas where noxious weeds are found. Complaints of Foxtail are typically addressed as a non-targeted plant where noxious weeds are found.

If you have Foxtail on our property, there are several ways to address it including:

  • Picking/Tilling – Foxtail has a short fibrous roots and can be effectively picked or tilled.  
  • Mowing – Mowing should be done before the seeds set – usually May-June. After seeds have developed, mowing, bagging and disposing of seeds heads would be required.
  • Herbicides – spraying Foxtail with herbicide is also an effective treatment. Consult with your local garden centre for more information and recommendations.

Learn more about noxious weeds

For residents who are interested in learning more about prohibited noxious weeds, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre hosts community Invasive Weed Pulls. These events are a great opportunity to learn more about the problem of invasive species, how an integrated pest management program can be effective in managing invasive species and how to properly identify and remove prohibited noxious weeds like knapweed. Through these events we can help increase observation capacity in our community so we can engage in early detection and rapid response in dealing with problematic species particularly in our river valley. 


How do I submit a concern?

If you would like to report a weed complaint, contact Lethbridge 311.

For Public Inquiries:

Call 311 |  Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.