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Overseeding pasture?

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  • Overseeding pasture?

    The pasture our horses are usually out on really took a hit last year with the drought. I'm a little concerned it isn't going to pop back up this Spring, and was thinking maybe some overseeding would help?

    I've never done any kind of pasture management at all before; always been at full-care boarding places. I'm still boarding but it is fully self-care and BO allows boarders to pretty much do whatever they want with the pastures their horses are in. I don't have any equipment though, so any suggestions will have to be what can be done with two legs and two hands.

    Any suggestions? Would overseeding it right now, and keeping the horses off it, be beneficial? The horses are off the pasture right now anyways as everything is a giant wet sponge right now and they were tearing it up.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!
  • Original Poster

    #2
    I'm also looking for something that is fast growing, that I can turn the horses back out onto the pasture ASAP. They have a dry lot but it's a bit small, and I'd rather get them back out onto pasture as soon as I can.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

    Comment


    • #3
      It would be the right time here for seeding a cool season grass, like fescue, but we're probably 3-4 weeks ahead of you in terms of weather. You can't seed warm season grasses like bermuda until the soil reaches a certain temp - in the 60's I'm pretty sure.

      The problem though will be the Summer - will the seedlings get enough root established to withstand a hot, dry Summer? Odds are not that great unless it's a cooler and/or wetter Summer. Seeding cool-season grass in the Fall is by far the better alternative.

      How much pasture, how many horses? If it's too small a ratio, any time it rains, they are going to be pulling up new grass by the roots - let that go on long enough and all the work will be for nothing.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by JB View Post
        It would be the right time here for seeding a cool season grass, like fescue, but we're probably 3-4 weeks ahead of you in terms of weather. You can't seed warm season grasses like bermuda until the soil reaches a certain temp - in the 60's I'm pretty sure.

        The problem though will be the Summer - will the seedlings get enough root established to withstand a hot, dry Summer? Odds are not that great unless it's a cooler and/or wetter Summer. Seeding cool-season grass in the Fall is by far the better alternative.

        How much pasture, how many horses? If it's too small a ratio, any time it rains, they are going to be pulling up new grass by the roots - let that go on long enough and all the work will be for nothing.
        It's 2 horses and a yearling on 2 acres. I wish there was more acreage, but it's what I've got to work with.

        I don't really need lush, thick pasture. It'd just be nice to have a bit of grass for them to pick at. The two adult horses are easy keepers.
        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

        Comment


        • #5
          You can give it a try By broadcast seeding, you'll also be feeding birds. So, if you seed heavy, like 200lb total, you'll have a decent chance of at least some of it rooting. You will increase your odds by dragging something over it after seeding, to get a better seed-ground contact. If you can time it RIGHT before a rain (but not a heavy rain) then your odds increase even more.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            Before overseeding, I would apply fertilizer or lime depending on your area - check with your extension agent. Now would be a good time then pull your horses off of it for a few weeks and see if you can bring the existing pasture back. If it still looks poor at the end of April you would still have time to overseed and the soil will be in better shape to grow new seeds.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yep, get soil samples taken and tested - no point spending $$ on that seed if the soil is in poor condition. Lime is probably the most critical - grass doesn't grow (well) in conditions that aren't alkaline enough.
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment


              • #8
                Your local Ag agency can provide free advice specific to your area of the US - so I'd write up a list of questions and go there.

                In fact take several soil samples with you from around the paddock.

                We even asked the local guy for recommendations on who locally sold fertilizer - and although he was not supposed to he provided a suggestion. They could also suggest a place to purchase seed.
                Now in Kentucky

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Can lime/fert be applied with no machinery or equipment? That's kind of my biggest obstacle.
                  Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I applied lime and fertilizer to 8+ acres last summer with a broadcast spreader.......

                    Lots of walking

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes, you *can*, it will just cost more in time and $$. You're looking at probably minimally 1 ton of lime per acre, maybe as much as 2T, though if it's as much as that, it might be recommended to do it in 2 batches.

                      Consider the typical bag of lime is 40lb, that's minimally 100 bags. Feasible, just more difficult, and certainly more $$ than if you were having someone do it in bulk.

                      Fertilizer is much easier given its much lower application rate.

                      You WILL want to wear a good mask.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by JB View Post
                        Yes, you *can*, it will just cost more in time and $$. You're looking at probably minimally 1 ton of lime per acre, maybe as much as 2T, though if it's as much as that, it might be recommended to do it in 2 batches.

                        Consider the typical bag of lime is 40lb, that's minimally 100 bags. Feasible, just more difficult, and certainly more $$ than if you were having someone do it in bulk.

                        Fertilizer is much easier given its much lower application rate.

                        You WILL want to wear a good mask.
                        The cost in gas to do that would probably make it not feasible. I have a little Ford Ranger, it would take quite a few trips to the barn to transport 2 tons of lime without killing the engine.
                        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You won't want to put down lime and fertilizer together though - this is where the ag agent is vital to what works in your area.

                          Here, I lime in the spring and sometimes if I get it down early enough will do another spreading before the really dry summer hits. On fields where I am spreading manure, I will put some bags of lime in the spreader each time I empty it.

                          Fall is the time for fertilizer and again, depending on what type of weather we have had during the summer and what type of fertilizer I am using, might put it down in mid September, October, and December (the SOD method).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Get your soil tested before you go spending time and money on lime. I had my pastures tested through PennState last fall and found that no lime was needed-they were also able to give me suggestions for seed variety given the nature of the pasture (dry vs. wet). The consult was free, the testing was relatively inexpensive and took about two weeks to get the results.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I don't mean to sound lazy or like a penny-pincher, but I'm really just looking for one simple, cheap thing I can do to help out the pasture somewhat. If it was my own property I'd totally be up for soil testing, lime, fert, seeding, etc, etc. But since it's not my land, I really don't want to invest a ton of money and time into it. Hopefully you guys can understand!
                              Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Totally get it

                                4 bags of seed, see what happens DO find a way to drag over it once you're done though - try to maximize your effort there
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Where in Ill. ?
                                  www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                                    Where in Ill. ?
                                    Central IL.

                                    JB; What would you suggest for dragging? Would using a hand rake be completely ridiculous?
                                    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Soil tests are pretty cheap, down here they are around $10 a test... Lime is also pretty cheap...

                                      But if you don't want to go that route and just want to plant grass I'd reccomend going to a farm supply store. My parents live in central Illinois and got some 'horse pasture' grass seed from Big R last year. It was a nice mix of cool and warm season grasses with a little ryegrass that will make it green up quickly and allow a nice base for the more perminant seed to take and develop. Since it doesn't get too scorcing hot in the summer I'd go with a fescue/bluegrass type grass rather than bermuda. The winters are just too long for bermuda to be a good grazing option.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by SouthernYankee View Post
                                        Soil tests are pretty cheap, down here they are around $10 a test... Lime is also pretty cheap...

                                        But if you don't want to go that route and just want to plant grass I'd reccomend going to a farm supply store. My parents live in central Illinois and got some 'horse pasture' grass seed from Big R last year. It was a nice mix of cool and warm season grasses with a little ryegrass that will make it green up quickly and allow a nice base for the more perminant seed to take and develop. Since it doesn't get too scorcing hot in the summer I'd go with a fescue/bluegrass type grass rather than bermuda. The winters are just too long for bermuda to be a good grazing option.
                                        I just can't imagine 2 tons of lime costing less than a few bags of grass seed. Also I can throw a few bags of seed in the back of my truck. I don't THINK I can throw 2 tons of anything back there. LOL!
                                        Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

                                        Comment

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