Grass That Looks Like Wheat: Everything You Need to Know

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Whether a gardener or a farmer, you do not want unwanted plants growing. Some grass looks like wheat, and they can be a problem. Many of these are invasive weeds that can wreak havoc and outcompete other plants.

Moreover, farmers might leave these plants unbothered, thinking they are wheat. That will be bad news for their crops. So, here is all you need to know about these not-so-welcomed plants.

Common Grass That Looks Like Wheat

Many kinds of grass look like wheat. Common ones are Foxtail, Quack grass, and more. Some are very invasive and can grow up to 10 feet tall!


First up, we have Foxtail grass. If you need to know what to look for, it is easy to mistake Foxtail grass for wheat. Between June and September, Foxtail grows cylindrical seed heads and looks the most like wheat when they get their 2.5-inch bristly seeds.

Foxtails are essentially lawn seeds. They grow mostly during the warm seasons. In addition, a moist and fertile lawn is ideal for this grass to grow. They have a flattened look and reddish branches.

Moreover, foxtail grass can grow up to 4 feet with leaves up to 12 inches. Fortunately, you can control their growth with pre-emergent herbicides. 

You need to apply it when they germinate. Which is before early summer or late spring. Applying pre-emergent herbicides when the seedlings emerge is okay too.

Quack Grass

Yes, we know Quack grass is quite a whimsical name for grass. Another name for this grass is common couch grass. As funny as the name is, Quack grass is very invasive. 

Most people should be careful since it can wreak havoc on your garden. Your lawns are not safe either. With this one, you need to go hands-on. These are resilient little nuisances. And herbicides do not work on this grass. 

Therefore, the best way to eliminate them is to rip them out. Pluck them out in clumps as soon as you see any. 

Many inexperienced gardeners often mistake Quack grass for wheat since their leaf blades look similar. However, Quack grass seeds are smaller and slimmer too.

Another important thing to remember is to be mindful of the seeds when plucking them out. Do not let them fall on the ground. Otherwise, the seeds will grow more Quack grass on your lawn or garden.

Barnyard Grass

Barnyard Grass is an issue for most gardens and lawns because it can spread rapidly. In addition, their stems are strong and pliable, making them difficult to remove.

If you have Barnyard grass on your lawn or garden, remove it immediately.

You can tell Barnyard grass from wheat by the seeds. Its seeds are smaller and grow on both sides in clumps. Moreover, the leaves are about a quarter of an inch wide.

They can become real trouble in places where there are frequent floods. Irrigation-heavy areas are also ideal grounds for this grass to grow since they like warm and moist conditions. It can also damage farming tools.


Unlike the previous grasses, Ryegrass prefers the cool season. They take the same time to grow, though – about 1 year. The seed hooks of Ryegrass look very similar to wheat. And this is the main reason why some confuse the two.

Controlling Ryegrass’s growth is easy. You can use fertilization and also mowing. Moreover, using a non-selective herbicide when the plant is active is a good option for controlling its growth.

Fertilizing or irrigating your grass turf is a good way of controlling Ryegrass growth since it will increase the density. As a result, the Ryegrass will have little space to grow.

Johnson Grass

These grasses can grow up to 8 feet tall. That is quite high for grass. These grass also have spiky purple flowers which grow around the summer. Johnson grass is native to northern Africa and the Asia region. However, they can be found all over the world, except Antarctica.

The annoyance of Johnson grass is it is a weed. And can easily overcome other plants and invade your lawn or garden.

Also, add to the fact that these grass can grow very tall; Johnson Grass is a nuisance if you do not control it. However, it has some benefits. Johnson grass can be used as a livestock food and for controlling erosion.

Hare Barley

Another grass that resembles wheat a lot is the Hare Barley. They are native to Northern Africa and Europe. But much like Johnson grass, they can be found worldwide.

Hare Barley is used as forage crops and cereal. Unlike the Johnson grass, they grow up to just 3 feet tall. Hare Barley grass also likes the cool season. 

There is little use for it. So, removing them from your lawn is best. Although, you do not need to worry about Hare Barley’s growth too much if you maintain proper lawn and garden care.

Moreover, they can be bad for grazing animals. Their flower heads look like wheat. Except they have harrier panicles. They grow sharp seeds during late spring and early summer. The sharp seeds can cause mouth ulcers if an animal grazes on them.

Pampas Grass

These tall grasses that look like wheat are perhaps one of the prettiest. They are used as decoration in many gardens. As a result, they are very popular in all parts of the world, despite being native to South America.

However, even though they look like wheat, these grass can grow up to 10 feet! Yes, you read that right. That is why if you have any Pampas grass on your garden or lawn, it is crucial to maintain and cut them regularly.

Pampas have sharp stems, which can be dangerous for children. A child can easily cut a child’s hands if they are not careful. And let’s be honest, when are children careful?

Another reason to be careful about Pampas grass is that they attract pests. Therefore, it is a good idea to have them as far away from your house as possible.

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky Bluegrass is useful for creating durable lawns. When they have fully-grown seeds, they have an uncanny appearance to wheat. However, Kentucky Bluegrass needs plenty of help to grow.

They need proper maintenance and care. This grass also does not grow as high as wheat. So, that is a plus. Kentucky Bluegrass is a useful grass to add some pizzazz to your lawn.

They can make your lawn look very rich and beautiful. Their winter-hardy properties are what makes them very popular for that.

Feather Finger Grass

Feather Finger grass grows the most in areas that must be properly maintained. So, mostly abandoned railroads, construction sites, or poorly maintained lawns and gardens.

This grass is bad news for farmers. They can grow rapidly and cause a lot of trouble. Moreover, Feather Finger is an invasive grass species here in the US.

They are quite similar to wheat and also grow about the same height. That is why spotting an inexperienced farmer or gardener is difficult.

One easy way of recognizing it is to look at the stems. One stem of this grass can grow up to three heads. That is a dead giveaway. Wheat plants only grow one head per stem. 

Other Plants and Weeds That Look Like Grass

Apart from all the grass we mentioned above, more plants look like wheat. Here are some additional plants that resemble wheat.


One of the most difficult plants to deal with is Dallisgrass. They are incredibly hard to control and look very similar to wheat. Dallisgrass is considered invasive all around the world.

Dallisgrass has deceptive seeds as well. The seeds look very similar to wheat. To spot Dallisgrass, you need to look at the leaves. This grass’s leaves are fatter and about a quarter to half an inch in size.

This grass can survive in different kinds of turfs, and it is best to pluck them out of the ground simply.

Feather Reed

Feather Reed grass can grow up to 4 feet tall. This grass is used mostly for ornamental purposes since it can produce flower heads that smell quite nice. Usually, you will spot the flower seeds in early June.

The flowers turn to seeds and look very close to wheat. You cannot eat them; they are not useful except for decorative purposes. So, if you grow them for just ornamental reasons in your lawns or gardens, it is fine.

They can be used as perfect ground cover for a patchy garden. Feather Reed is very popular in the Americas. However, it is a native species from Asia and Europe.

What To Do When You Have Grassy Weeds On Your Lawn?

The best way to control grassy weeds is to use herbicides. However, since herbicides can also kill normal turf grass, we recommend using selective herbicides.

Before using any selective herbicide, know what kind of turf grass you have on your lawn or garden.

Also, if there are only a small amount of grassy weeds, you can just pluck them out with your bare hands. And only use non-selective herbicides as the last option.

Ways to Prevent Grassy Weed Growth

The best way to control grassy weed growth is to prevent it in the first place. There are a couple of things you can do to prevent it:

  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide (at least once every year)
  • Mow frequently
  • Overseed

Although pre-emergent herbicides are effective, they are not the best option if you are going to plant any grass later yourself. Many of these herbicides also target turf grass along with pesky grassy weeds.

Can You Eat Grasses That Look Like Wheat?

Many of the grass that looks like wheat can also be eaten. But be ready for a bitter surprise. Since they are wild crops, they have an intensely bitter taste.

If you are stubborn, you might think of cooking and boiling them. Well, you can try. However, they will still taste extremely bitter and rancid. After you have tasted some of these plants, we are sure you might not want to eat them again.

Also, if you try to eat non-toxic crops, do not pluck them; eat them right then and there. That is a bad idea. With a Foxtail plant, for example, you need to burn the fuzz off, strip the seeds, and peel them off. Also, do not eat the inner stem.

Do Some of These Plants Intoxicate You?

Even though some of these plants are edible (albeit very bitter), they will not intoxicate you. However, some are toxic.


Do not eat Ryegrass. Period. It contains Rathayibacter toxicus, which produces toxins that can be fatal if ingested. The toxins react quickly, and you might not have time to visit the hospital.


Darnel also causes serious health issues when eaten. Since they look so similar to wheat, many people unknowingly eat them. Darnel plants grow in the same regions as wheat. Moreover, they are virtually indistinguishable from wheat until they grow their signature’ ears.’


What are plants similar to wheat called?

False wheat is a catch-all term for grass and plants resembling wheat.

Which plants look the most like wheat?

Ryegrass is one that looks most like wheat, making it even more dangerous since it can be toxic.

Which is a tall grass that looks like wheat.

Pampas is one of the tallest grass that looks very similar to wheat. They can grow up to 10 feet tall!

Wrapping Up

Now that you know all about grass that looks like wheat, you can keep your garden, lawn, or field safe. Remember to check the leaves, seeds, and their size closely. This is a good way of telling which is false wheat.

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Jack Daniel

I am Jack Daniel, and I have been gardening for more than 20 years now. I believe that with my years of experience, I can help you with backyard ideas and backyard product reviews. So, with the motto to help anyone facing gardening issues or wanting tips on enhancing the beauty of their backyards, I have created Backyard Muse. So, before anything else, I want to welcome you warmly to my site.


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