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View Full Version : Weeds vs Grass and the weeds are winning...



TrotTrotPumpkn
Jul. 24, 2012, 03:57 PM
On my tentative farm, there is a paddock that was overgrazed. Currently it looks like 50% grasses, 40% weeds and bare dirt, and 10% little volunteer trees.

When do I spray and when do I seed? How far apart? There won't be horses on it until next year, most likely.

What do I do about the patches of little trees? I mean besides cut them down.

TIA!!

HPFarmette
Jul. 24, 2012, 03:59 PM
That sounds like how my pastures were when I got them. I paid a guy to take out the trees but he just cut them down to almost ground level. Not good for mowing!

I don't know about your part of the country for seeding, sorry.

You probably also should do a soil test and think about fertilizing....

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jul. 24, 2012, 04:03 PM
That sounds like how my pastures were when I got them. I paid a guy to take out the trees but he just cut them down to almost ground level. Not good for mowing!

I don't know about your part of the country for seeding, sorry.

You probably also should do a soil test and think about fertilizing....

Right, I will talk to the extension office too, but do you still kill the weeds first?? Summer seems like a good time to spray, but I could be wrong...

HPFarmette
Jul. 24, 2012, 04:17 PM
I did not use any weed killer, hoping that diligent mowing would work in my favor. It has a little...definitely not as well as herbicide. The weeds seem to vary from year to year. For example, buttercups and daisies were way down this year. But if you are as dry as we are out there, you won't be wanting to mow.

Since my pastures are not real big i have never relied on them for nutrition but resigned to feeding hay all year round and consider the pastures "recreation" for the horses. Nowadays though I'm starting to think differently, with the coming hay shortage.

So , what I have not done that you probably will want to do is the herbicide. At the beginning I printed off a lot of pasture management papers from the agricultural college. If you have one nearby they will be a good source for the best practices in your area.

JB
Jul. 24, 2012, 04:22 PM
For the little trees, if they are big enough you'll want them cut down and the stumps ground up/out

See if you can get an Ag Extension Agent out to see what's in the pasture. You needs weeds actively growing for most herbicides to work (well) so if they are tall enough it might take a mowing to get them growing again.

It may be that a good application of lime will hinder them enough.

Definitely try to get grass seed no-till drilled in the Fall.

Justa Bob
Jul. 24, 2012, 04:33 PM
In the PNW northwest the protocol to restore native prairie (a mix of grass and forbs) is to glycosphate first. Then to till (or someway to turnover the soil) and maybe apply glycosphate again. (You probably have a good seed bank in the soil of weed seeds - those weed seeds can really mess up trying to establish better pasture grasses).

When you plant seed: If you don't care about forbs, plant grass seed. If you want some forbs in with the pasture grass -- you might need to boost the number of forb seeds, or seed that first and then the grasses.

It is really critical to have the timing correct on this. Often, the best time for seeding in early spring...so often the kill is done in late summer and then till and spray in the fall/winter. Once it's rested some, in the spring plant the seed you do want.

Weeds LOVE fertilizer (nitrogen)...so trying to balance enough for the soil for the new seed and not so much as to give the weed seeds a boost...another fine line.

Glycosphate also requires certain temperature / weather to work best (not in the cold). Or there may be something better in your area for your weeds.

We spray in late fall just before the grass turn yellow...often the weed grasses pull in sugar in late season to store over winter. If you get the spray just before that process, the weeds pull in the poison and it works better on the roots.

When you till/disturb the soil, you may want to add amendments....some horse manure does help restore the soil in the right amount.

Get to know your extension service and farm groups -- there is a wealth of friendly folks and info that will stand you in good stead for years.

Good luck!

PS the local farm supply folks know what are the best pasture grasses for horses in your area (soil/weather). They will know spread rates and can also answer questions about refurbishing old weedy pastures.

Justa Bob
Jul. 24, 2012, 04:39 PM
Know your grasses - fescue is a problem for breeding mares and foals. You may know this, but it doesn't hurt to remember.

So the grass seed you do plant is really important to be fescue free or to have the few fescue types that do not contain the toxin. Horse pasture is different than other livestock.

fordtraktor
Jul. 24, 2012, 05:13 PM
How big are the trees? If they are baby trees, under about an inch or so, I'd just mow them with a bushhog. Mow regularly to keep the weeds down and encourage grass growth. Get your Ag Extension Agent out to make specific recommendations, they are super-knowledgeable and can tailor their advice to your area and intended grazing use. And congrats!

IronwoodFarm
Jul. 25, 2012, 09:59 AM
Mow and spray now, seed in the fall.

As for grasses, while it is true that fescue toxicity can be a problem to mares in their last trimester, it is not an issue otherwise and not an issue with foals. Goodness knows, I live in fescue land and I am a breeder. We just keep the broodmares' field clipped short and have had no problem.

I would not get horribly excited about fescue as it is not an issue for other horses. Talk with your extension agent about it. You'll get lots of good, free advice there!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jul. 25, 2012, 10:20 AM
Most of the trees are under or around an inch in diameter.

We take possession in the first week of Sept.

I was aware of the fescue issues, but appreciate the reminder. When I had a pregnant broodie and was boarding, I spoke to the vet about it and they said it really isn't a problem here, but I will keep it in mind nonetheless. I know I used fescue in my lawn seed mix, for example.

Alagirl
Jul. 25, 2012, 10:26 AM
first check what weeds are present.
Though you said the paddock was overgrazed, chances are the weeds are the kind the horses don't eat.

Mowing, soil samples, then take it from there.
September gets to be rather late to do any meaningful spraying...so you might be stuck with them for spring.

For ridding flowerbeds of weeds, some people suggest to till, wait, then till again. But seriously I doubt that one time tilling under fresh green weeds is going to break the cycle...there are many more seeds dormant in the soil :lol:

As for the 'trees', depending on how many you got, just walk the field with a big pair of loping pruners and cut them flush with the ground. The bush hog works too, but leaves little nubs.

subk
Jul. 25, 2012, 10:28 AM
Herbicides when the weeds are actively growing.

One thing that has come to my attention recently that would be of interest to anybody who composts their horse manure. There is a class of herbicides--pyridine carboxylic acids--that have half lives of over 300 days and don't break down in the digestive or composting process. If you use compost from horses that have grazed on fields or hay treated with these herbicides it will kill many of the plants you are trying to grow and won't clear from your soil for a few years.

2,4-d is NOT one of the culprits, but picloram and aminopyralid and a few others are. These are often combined with 2,4-d for a more effective herbicide in products like Grazon, Crossbow, PastureGard.

Here's a link: http://orange.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/68/Herbicide%20Carryover.pdf

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jul. 25, 2012, 11:18 AM
Also, just wanted to mention that the grasses that are growing look like a smooth brome grass to me. That seems to be very common around here (and in the ditches).

Major Mark
Jul. 25, 2012, 02:16 PM
I'll be stuggling with the same issue (starting a pasture) next year. I've been very attentive to threads like this.

What about cooking the soil? I've read in gardening sites about people pouring boiling water in small soil beds to kill everything, including disease pathogens before planting.

Are there any gizmos out there using, say, propane to basically cook the soil to kill weeds and their seeds? I know people use propane torches for spot weed killing.

I've been thinking of making a cooker using ag oil, a sprayer, a leafblower, and a metal enclosure I would drag slowly across the field and heat up the top 4 inches or so of the soil to kill everything without leaving a chemical residue....

candyappy
Jul. 25, 2012, 02:56 PM
Spray for the weeds then when you have waited the right amount of time I would suggest using a no till drill and add a pasture mix that is for your area. Your county extension office will be of the most benefit and should be able to advise you on all these things. The best part about no tilling is that you are not hurting or losing the grass remaining, you are not plowing up the ground and that leaves a nice firm surface ( no erosion due to heavy rains) and your animals can use it sooner. If trees are that small you may be able to rip them out of the ground with a tractor, using the hitch or loader.

Equibrit
Jul. 25, 2012, 04:54 PM
The best thing to keep weeds under control is regular mowing. Don't let them seed. A bush hog should take out any trees under an inch diameter.
You'd be surprised what volunteers when you mow regularly. Mind you, you could also spend a ton of money and end up wit the same result.

SkipHiLad4me
Jul. 27, 2012, 02:32 PM
Mow, mow, and if in doubt, mow some more :yes: Then soil sample and amend your soil as recommended. Seed if necesary if you don't have much of a permanent stand of grass. For whatever weeds are still remaining after that point, identify the culprits and spray for those. Avoid tilling if at all possible because this just brings up more weed seeds to the surface and makes life more difficult. Lightly disc or no-till when possible so you disturb the soil as much as possible.

Don't hesitate to contact the Extension office or your local NRCS/Soil & Water office if you have questions or need help. That's what they're there for and your tax dollars are paying for the services!

JackSprats Mom
Jul. 29, 2012, 06:51 PM
My feilds hadn't been dealt with in several years when I bought the house. I've consistentlySprayed, waited, mowed, waited a couple weeks, sprayed, waited, mowed etc

Workin pretty well,

Underthebridge
Jul. 29, 2012, 08:01 PM
Herbicides when the weeds are actively growing.

One thing that has come to my attention recently that would be of interest to anybody who composts their horse manure. There is a class of herbicides--pyridine carboxylic acids--that have half lives of over 300 days and don't break down in the digestive or composting process. If you use compost from horses that have grazed on fields or hay treated with these herbicides it will kill many of the plants you are trying to grow and won't clear from your soil for a few years.

2,4-d is NOT one of the culprits, but picloram and aminopyralid and a few others are. These are often combined with 2,4-d for a more effective herbicide in products like Grazon, Crossbow, PastureGard.

Here's a link: http://orange.ces.ncsu.edu/files/library/68/Herbicide%20Carryover.pdf
THANKS!

QacarXan
Jul. 29, 2012, 08:27 PM
If you want to avoid herbicides altogether, or if you want to make money instead of lose money in the process of weeding, you could consider getting some meat goats. They'll eat the weeds preferentially, then you can send them for slaughter. Repeat for a few years, you'll have no problems--you could even turn the horses out with the goats during that time, of course. If you're in the upper Midwest, the ethnic market there would ensure that the goats would be sold when you no longer need them.

Just a thought. Targeted grazing doesn't work everywhere, but it tends to be cheaper than spraying, more fun, and more eco-friendly. I'd be happy to send you more info if you want.

Also, if you reseed with native grasses and give them some time to establish taproots, you'll be able to crowd out any of the weed seeds still waiting to germinate in the soil. Most native grasses in your area are incredibly nutritious--some of the best forage on Earth.

Source: I'm in a Rangeland Ecology and Management master's program.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Jul. 30, 2012, 11:52 AM
If you want to avoid herbicides altogether, or if you want to make money instead of lose money in the process of weeding, you could consider getting some meat goats. They'll eat the weeds preferentially, then you can send them for slaughter. Repeat for a few years, you'll have no problems--you could even turn the horses out with the goats during that time, of course. If you're in the upper Midwest, the ethnic market there would ensure that the goats would be sold when you no longer need them.

Just a thought. Targeted grazing doesn't work everywhere, but it tends to be cheaper than spraying, more fun, and more eco-friendly. I'd be happy to send you more info if you want.

Also, if you reseed with native grasses and give them some time to establish taproots, you'll be able to crowd out any of the weed seeds still waiting to germinate in the soil. Most native grasses in your area are incredibly nutritious--some of the best forage on Earth.

Source: I'm in a Rangeland Ecology and Management master's program.

I would be very interested. Please send me a private message!