Barley Barley Crop Icon Brassicas Brassicas Crop Icon Sugar Beet Sugar Beet Carrots Carrots Icon Leeks Leek Icon Maize Maize Icon Oilseed Oilseed Icon Onions Onions Icon Other Cereals Other Cereals Icon O R T Peas And Beans Peas and beans Icon Potatoes Potatoes Icon Salad Crops Salad Crops Icon Soft Fruits Crops Soft Fruits Icon Top Fruits Crops Top Fruits Icon Wheat Crops Wheat Icon Calendar Calendar icon Arrow Next Arrow Previous Close Checkmark

Common name:


Latin name:

Alopecurus myosuroide

Slender foxtail, Black twitch

Black-Grass Ligule:

Black-grass ligule
Medium: 2.5 mm. Blunt and finely serrated.



Leaf blade:

Bluish-green, short, flat and hairless. Usually rough with a well-defined keel and usually rolled.


Tall, erect annual. Compact flower spike 3 - 13 cm; narrow and pointed, often tinted purple. Seedling leaf sheath often purple.

Black-grass 1
Black-grass 2


About 80% of shed black-grass seed germinates in the autumn and consequently it is mainly a problem in winter crops. Under wet and saturated conditions, dormancy can remain unbroken until the spring when further germinations affect early sown spring crops.

The bulk of black-grass seed only survives in the soil for two years, serious infestations generally being associated with intensive winter cropping – winter wheat and barley and winter beans.


Increasingly a major problem throughout England and worsening through herbicide resistance. Yields of winter cereals can be reduced by 1,260 kg/ha. Black-grass can carry over the take-all fungus (Gaeumannomyces graminis), further exacerbating the impact on yield and nullifying the beneficial effects of a rotation in containing the disease.


Controlling black-grass is a year-round task, requiring cultural and chemical controls.

Identify problem areas:

June and July are the best times to check black-grass populations and plan your control programme.

Black-grass plants are visible above the crop canopy, so you can take the time to note black-grass hotspots and count the number of plants per square metre. This, combined with testing seed for herbicide resistance gives you an idea of the extent of the black-grass problem and how to tackle it.

Immediate steps include patch spraying, hand-rogueing and harvest weed seed management. Looking further ahead, there is the opportunity to plan crop rotation, cultivation and establishment for the coming season.

For a more detailed blueprint on how to manage black-grass, read our detailed guide, Black-grass: The definitive Resource

Black-grass ligule photo
Black-grass ligule
Black-grass - young
Black-grass young plant
Black-grass - mature
Black-grass flower head. Photo © Nigel Cattlin/FLPA



Herbicides Liberator and Proclus work together in one tank mix with three modes of action to protect your winter wheat and barley yield against black-grass, ryegrass, brome and a host of broad leaf weeds. All with the reassurance of a robust herbicide resistance management strategy. Find out more



More information on Black-Grass

For practical tips and advice about all aspects of black-grass control, look no further.

Click here

Keep up to date with the latest from Bayer Crop Science

Sign up to our newsletter