Talk about being busy..whew..I’ve had way too much going on these past few weeks. Every day I tell myself to write an update about what I’m doing but then I get to tired and it just doesn’t happen. Luckily, I have done fairly decent at taking pictures of all the projects we’ve been working on.
Our first project we tackled – and completed – was the horse pastures. When we first moved in the pastures looked awful. The people who owned the farm before us also had 4 horses and I assume left them out all the time and never did any pasture maintenance. There was barely any grass and lots of weeds. They also had the big pasture split into 3 smaller pastures.
I knew I didn’t want to leave the pasture the way it was laid out nor was it in good enough shape to move my horses’ home right away. So first thing, we took down 2 rows of fencing so that we would have 2 pastures. This took no time and wasn’t hard to do because it was t-posts with electric tape.
After all the fencing was down, we had Southern States come in and spray one pasture with a liquid Grazon and Nitrogen mixture. We decided to use this mixture because we needed to get rid of weeds but get the grass to grow fast.
After they first sprayed the entire pasture turned yellow and I thought we killed everything! I was extremely worried to say the least but then we started to get a lot of rain and the grass started to grow, and grow, and grow. We’ve mowed the pasture twice since it was sprayed and now it’s perfect! There are no weeds, just grass!
Since I talked to a lot of people and got some great tips I thought I would share them.
Tips for Proper Horse Pasture Maintenance
Tip 1: Test your soil. Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation or ask about it at Southern States. I believe both places do it for free. Getting your soil tested and finding out what the ground lacks in nutrients is key to getting grass to grow.
Tip 2: If your pasture has a lot of weeds, talk to local experts about weed killers that are safe for horses. There are granular kinds you spread or liquids that you can have someone spray. We decided to go with Grazon because it was cheaper and would kill most of the weeds in our pasture. It also is completely horse safe but to be on the safe side I left my horses off the pasture for a month.
Tip 3: As with weed killer, decide which type of fertilizer you want to use to get the grass to grow. My understanding is, granular fertilizers help the grass to grow roots which takes it longer to grow over time. Liquid Nitrogen doesn’t help to get roots established and just helps to get grass to grow. Since I knew my horses would be going straight into this pasture I decided I needed something to make it grow fast.
Tip 4: Don’t sit back and just let it grow out of control. Mowing is important for proper pasture maintenance. I bush hogged my pasture when the tallest grass would get about 8-10 inches high. Cutting it regularly helped to keep the tall grass from getting too thick and the shorter grass to grow. Mowing also helps with weed control – or so I was told. I was told that cutting the tops of weeds keeps them from spreading. While I’m not sure if it’s true or not, I will say on the pasture I re-seeded and didn’t weed kill, mowing has helped to keep the weeds down. (more on this pasture in the next post.)
Here is a before and after picture.
Huge difference, huh?!
So tell me, what are some things you do to maintain your healthy pastures?
Do you re-seed, fertilizer and spray weeds every year?