LGD Questions from a First Timer

Goatsincoats99

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Seems like if you mow early and often the sprouted foxtail generating plants will have to die off because they won't ever go to seed. Shouldn't take more than a season or two?? Do you have a tractor with a flail or rotary cutter?
Hi Bruce. We don’t have a tractor, or even a mower. We moved in a few months ago and only have a weed whacker we inherited (for now). We are working on getting a no turn or an atv with brush hog or mower attachment… but our property is a steep hill, so we’re not sure how useful any of that would be. Thats why we initially wanted goats as brush/weed control (not knowing the property was a lot of unmunchables like foxtail and burrs.
 

Goatsincoats99

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About the foxtails: We got a mask for our dog, from OutFox, online, that covers the dogs entire head and keeps out foxtails. It is fantastic. Before we got it we would have 3-4 trips to the vet with sedation to remove foxtails from the nose or ears, now we have had none for years. Bennie sniffs the ground intently, so just mowing was not enough to keep him safe.
That blasted foxtail barley does come back shorter after mowing so mowing early will not do much, and weed whacking will distribute the seeds everywhere. Mowing when the bottom of the seed head has turned yellow but the seeds are still firmly attached and then picking it up and composting to reduce the seed load will help. When replacing with native grasses beware of the needle grasses! Their awns are just as problematic. Also native grasses have a hard time competing with foxtails. I would look for anything that grows well here and is unproblematic for livestock. To compete with foxtails it has to come up early and grow fast so it shades the ground where foxtail seeds lie. The wild oat grasses around here do a good job with that, but they also have somewhat annoying awns, nowhere near as bad as foxtail barley or the needle grasses though… Where in Northern California are you? We are in Sonoma County. Nightly brushing and paw checks and the mask are our routine, until the first rains turn things green again.
I’m in el dorado county, near Auburn. It seems like the small patches of Clover push out the foxtails pretty well, and keep things low to the ground. The goats don’t eat the clover, though, but they don’t eat the foxtail either and there’s plenty of other forage for them. We have very little water in this area, so something drought tolerant would be great.
I’ve looked into the Outfox, but I was hesistant to believe that the pup would keep it on for any length of time, as she has a keen ability for destruction. Maybe I will order it and give it a try anyway. The foxtails seem like less of a problem lately and the hitchhikers, goats head, and burrs are worse. If we walk through the pasture, she’s just an insane mess within seconds. The goats are completely unaffected. Has anyone tried horse show-sheen (that real slippery stuff) to keep burrs off?
 

Stephine

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Seems like if you mow early and often the sprouted foxtail generating plants will have to die off because they won't ever go to seed. Shouldn't take more than a season or two?? Do you have a tractor with a flail or rotary cutter?
One would think, but these things make seedheads even directly on the ground, if you cut them over and over while still green. So you end up with plants too short to mow. Also they are perennial in California, coming back from the crown. Seeds stay viable for a very long time and tilling makes things worse, because it brings more seeds to the surface where they can sprout. It’s really awful stuff and all you can do is: pull out when still green or mow just before seeds are mature (only works if rains stopped a while earlier and soil is nice and dry, so there can’t be any regrowth that seasons) and remove the cut plants (or sow something that germinates earlier and grows faster than foxtail barley to keep it from coming up in the first place. Not sure what that would be though).
 

Stephine

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I’m in el dorado county, near Auburn. It seems like the small patches of Clover push out the foxtails pretty well, and keep things low to the ground. The goats don’t eat the clover, though, but they don’t eat the foxtail either and there’s plenty of other forage for them. We have very little water in this area, so something drought tolerant would be great.
I’ve looked into the Outfox, but I was hesistant to believe that the pup would keep it on for any length of time, as she has a keen ability for destruction. Maybe I will order it and give it a try anyway. The foxtails seem like less of a problem lately and the hitchhikers, goats head, and burrs are worse. If we walk through the pasture, she’s just an insane mess within seconds. The goats are completely unaffected. Has anyone tried horse show-sheen (that real slippery stuff) to keep burrs off?
Do you know what kind of clover? We have lots of burr clover (of course! 😂), but our sheep like it very much, so it’s becoming less of a problem. Most burr and sticker producing weeds around here (hedge parsley, velcro weed, burr clover and stork’s bill) can be easily managed with mowing and composting. It’s just the blasted foxtails that keep coming back.
I don’t know if your dog would be able to destroy the mask - I taught ours very early that things aren’t for ripping apart, so it’s not an issue here - but at least when he’s supervised on a walk it would probably help a lot.
 

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If you have steep slopes my understanding is that a zero turn isn't for you. They do make gas powered rotary mowers you can pull with an ATV if you already have one or a garden tractor (though the latter would have a mowing deck). I can't even imagine string trimming 5 acres!!!!!

OK, here is an off the wall thought. They make baggers that attach to sub compact mower decks. I wonder if you could rent same for a day so when you mow all the foxtails would get sucked up rather than just tossed on the ground? Then you could dump them in a fire pit and burn the damn things.
 

Stephine

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If you have steep slopes my understanding is that a zero turn isn't for you. They do make gas powered rotary mowers you can pull with an ATV if you already have one or a garden tractor (though the latter would have a mowing deck). I can't even imagine string trimming 5 acres!!!!!

OK, here is an off the wall thought. They make baggers that attach to sub compact mower decks. I wonder if you could rent same for a day so when you mow all the foxtails would get sucked up rather than just tossed on the ground? Then you could dump them in a fire pit and burn the damn things.
Only, you’re not allowed to burn anything… 😬
 

Bruce

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I don't know about YOU but *I* am allowed to burn brush. Just need to let the fire department know and make sure it is a non wind day and has rained recently. Or there is snow on the ground, no sparks light anything then.
 

Stephine

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I don't know about YOU but *I* am allowed to burn brush. Just need to let the fire department know and make sure it is a non wind day and has rained recently. Or there is snow on the ground, no sparks light anything then.
Yeah, I meant “you” as in “one”, not you personally, of course! The OP is in Auburn, CA, not all that far from me. It’s bone dry here, we have wildfires daily and one can’t get a burn permit at all during the dry season.
 

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