Tips for a Greener Thicker Horse Pasture

International 706 Tractor

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.

 

Horse Fence

Electric Horse Fence

 

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.

Over Grazed Horse PastureHorse Pasture Maintenance

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!

Horse Pasture Growing New 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.

Before and After Horse Pasture

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?

 

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Raquel
    July 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    What a big difference! Your hard work has been paying off, we don’t fertilize but we are big on mowing! I think that helps a lot.
    Raquel recently posted..Glamourous Equestrian ChairMy Profile

  • Reply
    Weekend Cowgirl
    October 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Our pastures are due for a good weed killing. We will do next spring. We are going to have to tackle the cactus also which is different spray…
    Weekend Cowgirl recently posted..Moo MondayMy Profile

  • Reply
    Nina
    January 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

    We have a field that we are going to fence in, right now it grows tall maybe hay but im not sure! Our lawn is mostly mow from our shady pine trees. we are going to have it tested to see what the soil is like. Your pages are so helpful. I have searched the net 1,000 times over and never found a easy way to make stalls or to fix our field and yard. TY!!!

    • Reply
      Ashley Agee
      January 6, 2014 at 7:50 am

      Nina, I’m so glad you found my posts helpful! Thanks so much for commenting and letting me know. 🙂

  • Reply
    Alli
    February 12, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Fantastic article and advice!! Pasture and soil maintenance often gets overlooked but it is so important.
    Alli recently posted..Buying a Beef Steer 101My Profile

    • Reply
      NC Cowgirl
      February 12, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Totally Agree! Thanks for stopping by and reading the post AND leaving a comment Alli!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Hazel Owens
    March 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Your pasture looks amazing now! I like your tips to find weed killers and fertilizers that are safe for horses. The last thing you want is for your horses to get sick because of something you used to grow the grass. I find it interesting that mowing the pasture you reseeded actually helped keep weeds down. Thanks for all the tips!

  • Reply
    Brandon
    November 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for the great info… I realize this was several years ago so ballpark guesstimate; what was your estimated cost per acre to have Southern States spray the Grazon and Nitrogen mixture?

    • Reply
      NC Cowgirl
      January 16, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Hey Brandon – I can’t remember the exact cost but total for 7 acres I believe it was somewhere around $750.

  • Reply
    Rachelle
    February 7, 2019 at 10:20 am

    Very interesting and helpful info! Thank you & I enjoyed reading your article. I am going to be starting my farmnin about 3 years but currently boarding my horse and my trainer seems to do the mowing as a ground control tacktic.

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