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winter
Mar. 30, 2012, 11:48 AM
I was wondering the best way to re-claim a winter paddock. Paddock was grass last year, but horses have wintered in it with a round bale and there is now just the tramped down area where the round bale was with very short grass everywhere else, no mud yet. We are still at least a month away from grass greening here, but I was wondering how you go about re-claiming a paddock?

What steps do you follow? Do you drag the paddock or pick all manure? Re-seed where the grass died under the bale, or will it recover on it's own once rested? Is it better to move them now, or wait until grass has come in in other paddocks rather than starting to tramp down another before the grass comes in? I have 5 paddocks over 7 or so acres each and there are 3 horses in one right now. Four of them grazed all last summer without supplemental hay, so there is good grass here.

Any suggestions/techniques very much appreciated!

oldpony66
Mar. 30, 2012, 06:31 PM
As soon as I can get the horses out on the regular pasture, I drag the winter paddock with a tine harrow to flatten it back out. I pick manure all winter to avoid a feedlot environment in muddy spring season, so I might end up dragging just a little bit of manure but not much.
Under the hay you'll probably get hay seeds sprouting. I don't feed round bales but I get a lot of "hay" sprouting, which is awesome. I've seeded my winter paddock in the spring sometimes, if I have seed around. Even if I seed it, the damage done seems to allow for a lot of weeds, so after I get some growth I go in and treat with a broad-leaf weed killer. I probably wouldn't care except some of the weeds that come up are toxic to horses, and anytime I see a thistle sprout I hit it with weed killer because I hate them so much.
I probably spend more time than necessary on it, since it's just going to get trampled next winter, but I hate seeing a weedy patch, especially thinking about how many weed seeds may be produced and blown into my nice pastures!