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Wild Oats

Pest Profile: Wild Oats

One of the leading weed pests in Western Canada, wild oats are grassy annual weeds prone to the development of herbicide resistance. Their seeds can persist in the soil for up to a decade and can be toughest to deal with during wet years, when they emerge from the soil in large numbers.
Wild Oats


  • Annual
  • Grassy


Plants grow up to 5 feet tall with smooth, erect stems. The head is an open panicle with spikelets typically containing 2 – 3 florets (and occasionally up to 7). The panicle may contain up to 250 seeds, ranging from black, brown, grey, yellow to white. At the seedling stage, the plant has a counter-clockwise leaf twist and no auricles, with hairs on the leaf margins.


  • When scouting, check low spots in fields for wild oats, and keep an eye out for herbicide-resistant patches.
  • Summerfallow increases the number of seeds that break dormancy, and weeds will emerge after each tillage operation. Fall tillage also helps reduce wild oat populations.


Please read each label to determine which herbicide is appropriate for the crop affected.