Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve title=
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve
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Photo by Emmy M on Unsplash

By Pat

The foxtails at Douglas Preserve/former Wilcox property are just starting to put out their spikes, quite early.  This means that in only a couple of weeks, all over the park,  the now-green tails will come apart, harden, and become fish-hook-like barbs, dangerous to dogs' eyes, ears, paws, and nasal and lung passages, and making the park much less usable to dog-people until 2020-21 winter rains dissolve the old seeds.   

I invite interested park users to, as I do, begin taking along a foxtail-collection bag when you go for strolls or dog walks.  If everybody pulls off and removes just a couple square feet of the tops, the park will be usable much longer into the year, and thousands and thousands of tops (each foxtail top has more than 100 seeds) will be kept from coming apart.  Take them off the property and toss them in your brown-can garbage (not your green can; you don’t want them to go into city mulch).

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a-1586046904 Feb 26, 2020 08:08 AM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Luvaduck -- There are over-entire-head masks, made of a stiff cloth screen, called Out Fox, that come in several sizes. The only down side to them is that they seem to get a little hot inside, so you wouldn't want to run your dog intensively in one, but it's great for regular exercising. And they work - every time I take my dog wearing his Out Fox, at least one foxtail has been prevented from going all the way through.

GodinIII Feb 25, 2020 10:23 AM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

My poor little Yorkshire pup had a foxtail seed pierce his eardrum and it was horrific. Surgery costs were very high to remove the seed. I'll be sure to participate in the clean up. It might be a good idea to ask the Mesa Harmony Garden Group if they would be interested in helping with the clean up. The Garden is right behind the Holy Cross Church on the Mesa 1740 Cliff Dr. Mesa Harmony Garden: 600 Delores Dr. SB CA 93109 805-893-3485

a-1586046904 Feb 25, 2020 08:54 AM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Perhaps arranging with the city parks to have the grass cut early (based on weather not date) and then have as much of the clippings removed. A few years of doing so could work wonders.

markpat Feb 25, 2020 08:40 AM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Good call on the hare barley! "Foxtail" is a nickname for many weeds in many localities. Various names notwithstanding, the burrowing fish-hook habit of a ripening head is still a killer. For those wanting to see a clear I.D. picture, Googling "hare barley" brings up beautiful pictures of what we locally call "foxtails."

markpat Feb 24, 2020 05:06 PM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Yeti -- Foxtails are Pratensis, native to Eurasia. We, in any case, are definitely not eradicating, just removing... fruiting.... portions of a (very) healthy plant population.

markpat Feb 24, 2020 03:15 PM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Thanks, I posted the notice, and can really use more hands on deck. Because it is warmer, the foxtails are browning up rapidly near the paths where the ground is warmer. The plants right now just look like regular grass about 8 inches to a foot high. The foxtails within a day shoot up over the grass and are very noticeable. You can sweep a bunch of the tops into your hand and pull sharply (nothing will faze the root structure, don't worry about that) or pinch off the tops as if you were dead-heading flowers in your garden.

a-1586046904 Feb 24, 2020 01:55 PM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

Are those the tops of the plants that should be broken off? How tall are they, etc. I rarely take my dog there because I don't dare let him off leash because of the cliff edge, but I am willing to help, knowing what harm foxtails cause.

a-1586046904 Feb 24, 2020 01:17 PM
Let's Reduce Foxtail Seeds at Douglas Preserve

This is a great idea. I was able to completely eradicate these nasty plants In my front yard in a couple of years by pulling the seeds off. I have 2 acres and most of it was covered by foxtails or (wild barley ) . These nasty plants are detrimental to animals who get them lodged in their eyes, ears, nasal cavity, paws and everywhere else. They are sharp with barbs. They go in one way and cause havac creating a track of infection. If the foxtail has something like fungus on it, that can spread through your pets whole body. Foxtails can be killers.

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