Wheat is often just seen as a crop that eventually becomes our bread, pasta, and desserts, but it’s actually a grass. It also grows tall and looks quite picturesque blowing in the wind within a field.
Even if you only have a small garden or a lawn, you might notice some things growing that look like wheat. While they look nice, these are actually weeds that look like wheat. There are at least 10 weeds that look like wheat, and it can be almost impossible to differentiate between the real thing and a weed.
Unfortunately, while many of these weeds might look nice, they can be quite invasive, spreading through grass, gardens, and crops and destroying everything you’ve worked hard to cultivate. They do this by taking up space and diminishing resources from soil and water.
Before you get excited about potentially stumbling upon a random spot with harvestable wheat, make sure it’s not actually a weed. When you determine that one of these weeds are growing in your area, you may be able to simply pull it out, treat the weed, or in some cases, you’ll have to have a landscaper help you.
It’s important to identify weeds that look like wheat to prevent them from spreading and causing damage to crops and gardens.
10 Weeds That Look Like Wheat
There are a lot of different types of grass that look like wheat. They are pretty much harmless when you stumble upon them, though you can’t make any delicious bread out of them. With weeds, not only are they not safe to eat, but they aren’t usually safe for any kind of plant life in the vicinity.
Many of these weeds have a lot of the signature characteristics of wheat. This includes the substantial height, the tall blades, and the small bundles of leaves that reach the tops, many of which have seeds inside.
While wheat is usually planted in the fall and harvested the following summer, many of these weeds thrive in multiple weather and soil conditions.
It can be difficult to tell whether or not you’ve stumbled upon wheat at first glance. Knowing which types of weeds to look out for and how they differ from wheat can be of great benefit. This helps you figure out how to get rid of the pesky weed before it wreaks havoc on your property.
Ryegrass looks comparable to wheat when it’s still in the process of growing into a plant that’s ready to harvest. It’s a tall, green weed with several small blades that fold inward and contain seeds. Like wheat, it grows pretty tall, but can’t reach the same heights as the edible plant.
2. Feather Finger Grass
Feather finger grass is actually quite pretty, but don’t let the looks of this weed fool you. It resembles wheat in a lot of ways, though the name does come from the thin, feathery blades that arise from the top.
This type of weed is able to burrow itself into any bald patches it might find in your lawn or garden and call them home, so it’s not uncommon to find them springing up in gardens or amongst crops.
3. Yellow Foxtail
Yellow foxtail is likely one of the most recognized plants for looking almost the same as wheat. It has a similar golden yellow hue, and features soft bristles at the top that also resemble the ends of wheat. Even though the ends look soft, they aren’t soft to the touch, which is much different than the texture of wheat.
Yellow foxtail and wheat can also grow substantially tall, reaching over one meter in height. This weed is often seen in full bloom during the summer, right around the same time of year that wheat is ready to harvest.
Dallisgrass is a dainty weed that doesn’t look much like a weed. It isn’t as widespread as other weeds that look like wheat, either. That said, it is known to make its way around a lawn or around crops quickly. It resembles wheat mainly at the tops, with its soft gathering of leaves and seeds that form a long cluster.
5. Couch Grass
Couch grass looks more similar to younger wheat plants than one that’s ready to harvest, but you still don’t want this weed anywhere on your property. The blades of this weed are quite rough and sharp, which is especially troublesome if you have pets running around your yard.
This weed is very versatile in terms of conditions it can thrive in, so getting rid of it as soon as you notice it is your best line of defense to eliminate it.
Switchgrass is a weed that can grow to be quite expansive and grows very tall. It tends to spread itself out far as well. It can look very much like a field of wheat from afar, and its seed clusters add to its resemblance.
It tends to sprout up around the same time that wheat is close to harvestable, but is more often seen in prairies than on lawns.
7. Quack Grass
Quack grass is a weed that grows perennially, and looks extremely similar to wheat. You’re most likely to see this weed pop up during cold seasons as it thrives under cooler weather conditions.
It likes growing in grass or amongst grasslike crops such as alfalfa. Quack grass also spreads like wildfire, so as soon as you detect it in your grass, you should eliminate it as soon as possible.
The best way to tell the difference between wheat and quack grass is by looking at its stem, where there are two blades that surround the stem right where the base of the leaf and the stem meet.
8. Barnyard Grass
Barnyard grass is often found nestled into long, unruly lawns, and can look a lot like unripe wheat. It starts to grow right at the tail end of spring or the beginning of summer.
This is not a weed you want anywhere near your garden, as it can end up taking it over pretty quickly and taking all the soil’s nutrients and moisture with it.
9. Giant Foxtail
A giant foxtail gets its name from looking like a giant foxtail. There are very thin and fine leaves that protrude from the ends. This is perhaps the best way to tell that what you’ve stumbled upon is indeed not wheat, but a weed.
This variety of foxtail is able to grow tall, and will usually be found in clusters. It can spread chaotically and take down crops and plants around it when it’s able to spread. It was introduced to America by accident and ever since, it has been able to spread really far.
10. Hare Barley
Hare barley goes by a few different names such as winter barley or wild barley, and while this wild grass looks nice, it’s still a weed. It looks kind of like wheat too, with similar looking wheat heads at the top of the grass that are a little bit bigger than the ones on the end of wheat.
While hare barley doesn’t always grow as high as wheat will, it can be quite a nuisance to deal with. If you catch it early and can keep it consistently short, it doesn’t often become overbearing. If you happen to find it in your yard or garden, the only way to have it permanently dealt with is to have professionals eradicate it.
Since it’s not likely you’ll find wheat growing spontaneously, it’s likely you’ve stumbled upon one of the 10 weeds that look like wheat should you be questioning a tall grass in your vicinity.
As soon as you identify one of these weeds, you should find the appropriate removal method swiftly to avoid having your land overtaken by one of these pesky weeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Name Of The Plant That Looks Like Wheat?
One plant that is not considered a weed and is often mistaken for wheat is Kentucky bluegrass. This isn’t a weed, so if you stumble upon it, it’s not necessarily going to cause your lawn or garden any harm.
What Are The Common Weeds That You See Around?
Some of the most common weeds found in lawns, amongst crops, or in fields include dandelion, creeping Charlie, crabgrass, chickweed, and lamb’s quarters.
What Are The Three Types Of Weeds?
Weeds are usually classified based on how long their life cycle is, so they fall into three categories; annuals, biennials, and perennials. They are also sometimes classified as either grasses, broadleaves, or sedges.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below