Turning Woods into Pasture - Page 2
 
 

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Turning Woods into Pasture

This is a discussion on Turning Woods into Pasture within the Barn Maintenance forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
  • Turning lawn into pasture
  • Turning woods into pastures

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    12-18-2013, 08:57 AM
  #11
Showing
When horses continually walk on tree roots those trees will start to die off. If you decide to clear cut the land be sure to leave a good thick stand that will offer the horses shelter from winds or shade. I have a stand of trees that extends about a hundred feet to the north and gets wider toward the west. When the wind is blowing hard it is calm in there.
stevenson and KigerQueen like this.
     
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    12-18-2013, 12:47 PM
  #12
Started
Birches, poplars and sugar maples are safe for horses. Mine will actually peel a bit of bark in the spring when the sap starts running. They don't seem to bother the rest of the year.

The dried leaves and branches of the cherries and red maple are poisonous in any great amount. You don't have to freak if a few blow over the fence but if you have them and there isn't enough grass or hay they will eat them. I had a friend loose her horse to red maple not too long ago. Knowing how she feeds I'm betting the horse didn't have hay for a few hours and the red maple leaves were blowing down in an autumn rain. It's kind of one of the reasons I do feed hay around the clock when the grass isn't growing. They don't bother if there is something better.

Poplar trees want to take over the world. They spread by sucker roots and seed. If you don't stump the land they will just keep coming and some will come anyway.

I've got nearly 20 acres fenced for the horses. We did have a local logger come in and take trees for pulp. He was working down the road so there wasn't any real cost for moving the equipment. He wouldn't have come for so little if he hadn't already been here. It's been about 3 yrs and the birches and poplars are back and over my head in the places where the horses don't graze regularly. The few spots that got stumped are still clear. I think just under 8 acres was heavily wooded, about 4 acres was kind of field reverting to woods. I can just barely keep the trees back myself by hand. It wants to revert back. I spend a lot of time in the summer running saplings over with the lawn mower and hand cutting the ones that have gotten too big.

If another logger should show up nearby I'll let him have what has grown up for the taking again. Nobody would pay for the little bit of wood that is here. Last time I marked off the "cool" or useful trees I didn't want cut with surveyors tape and let the loggers do their thing. Worked pretty well. They only got one oak I wanted but I think that was a communication breakdown between the help.
I sit on a river too. Lot of laws and rules about logging near water so read up. Mine also has a tendency to flash flood. You can see the history of winter flooding by the ice gouges on trees along the bank. Know what the water does and don't under estimate it. Water is powerful.



How fast it will be ready depends on how fast you cut, stump, rake and seed. Then you are going to have to depend on the weather to cooperate.
     
    12-18-2013, 12:53 PM
  #13
Super Moderator
My horses have all but destroyed two young sugar maples in one paddock by chewing at the bark to get to the sap. I need to put some sort of a barrier around them
     
    12-18-2013, 04:19 PM
  #14
Foal
I vote for hiring a high lift and getting some trees cleared or have a logger remove some and then clear out the stumps. It is difficult to get a good stand of grass under timber. And then you will be fighting the new seedlings coming up. If you have oaks like we do in my part of the world you could have problems with the horses eating the acidic acorns as well. Cutting trees is a touchy subject with some but in my opinion mature trees need to be culled from time to time.
     
    12-20-2013, 03:00 PM
  #15
Yearling
I couldn't find the pics of the change from wooded area to pasture. We cleared 7.5 acres of a wooded area. The process is not an instant one. It took a few years. The actual cutting and pushing took several weeks. The piles remained for a couple of years. We burned as they dried. If your property is not level expect there to be wash and depending on the grade you may need to seed those spots immediately. I agree with leaving a couple of stands especially on the side the wind is most prevalent or coldest. I also suggest you have the stumps removed. If the trees are cut and stumps ground then when the stumps rot you have holes the animals can break legs in. If we cut and have to leave the stump it is cut off high enough to not be an issue and as it rots and becomes easy to push then we push it out and fill/grade the spot it was. In order for pasture to establish you can leave and have natives come up, mowing frequently to prevent regrowth of shrubby crap and trees or seed which can be expensive. You need to keep the animals off if you expect it to be thick. A sacrifice area while you are allowing this is essential. It can also serve as a handy pen later.
     
    12-20-2013, 05:04 PM
  #16
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by QtrBel    
I couldn't find the pics of the change from wooded area to pasture. We cleared 7.5 acres of a wooded area. The process is not an instant one. It took a few years. The actual cutting and pushing took several weeks. The piles remained for a couple of years. We burned as they dried. If your property is not level expect there to be wash and depending on the grade you may need to seed those spots immediately. I agree with leaving a couple of stands especially on the side the wind is most prevalent or coldest. I also suggest you have the stumps removed. If the trees are cut and stumps ground then when the stumps rot you have holes the animals can break legs in. If we cut and have to leave the stump it is cut off high enough to not be an issue and as it rots and becomes easy to push then we push it out and fill/grade the spot it was. In order for pasture to establish you can leave and have natives come up, mowing frequently to prevent regrowth of shrubby crap and trees or seed which can be expensive. You need to keep the animals off if you expect it to be thick. A sacrifice area while you are allowing this is essential. It can also serve as a handy pen later.
Well that saved me some typing.
No matter how you slice it stumps will = holes that need grading or filling (or both).

Additionally.
7.5 acres is way more than you'll need for one horse, but will allow for great pasture/grazing management.

4-6 acres (up to you) worth of grazing area (you can have trees arranged however you prefer over the 7.5 acres) gives plenty of grazing and will allow you to partition the area off into 3-4 areas so that you can rotate the grazing. There will be times, like mid - late Spring, when rapid growth will require that you cut areas that are too lush before rotating, but overall it will allow you to be able to rotate the horse onto good grass between 4-6" in height and move it off grass that's been grazed down to 2"or less. This will avoid over grazing and keep the pastured area healthier and growing well. Rotating also has the benefit of getting the FEC down (even down to 0, although anything under 150 is below the recommended level for worming and under 150 is pretty easy to reach with good rotations).
     
    01-09-2014, 09:03 PM
  #17
Foal
We also have about 8 acres that were full of trees. The trees are really great to have around and we have kept as many as possible. We do have a couple of pastures that are free of trees, one for an arena, and one for the horses to enjoy some grass. The horses love the trees because they provide shade and a natural wind block.
We only cut down trees that are dead, and we trim down dead branches once or twice a year. It takes years for these trees to grow, so we don't plan on cutting down to many of them unless we have to.
     
    01-12-2014, 07:04 PM
  #18
Foal
I'd put an ad on craigslist for free wood, I look for those near me and will happily go and drop and tree and haul it off as I burn a lot in the winter. Lot's of people here do that. Cheap for them, free for you.
     

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