Weed control? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Weed control?

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I couldn't find a place that seemed more appropriate.

I bought the property I live at last July, and the pastures were in dire shape - severely overgrown and chock full of canadian thistle and cockleburrs. I hired someone to mow the pasture down a few times this fall with the big tractors (they were armpit deep - and I'm tall) and that seems to, for now, have solves most the problem with the thistles, but the cockleburrs - oh my gosh the cockleburrs make me crazy. The amount of time I have spent this fall combing the darn things out of manes, tails, and feathers - it's a daily job and still they are a mess. Every evening is spent sitting down with tweezers to remove the cockleburr splinters from my hands. My horses are kept heavily coated with show sheen and cowboy magic to ease combing the cockleburrs out. In the spring we are spraying the pastures down with Pasture Pro and that's supposed to kill the thistles and cockleburrs, but I'm told this can be a several-years long process to completely irradicate them. The previous owners of this property just neglected everything - the house, the barn, the fences, and obviously the pastures as well and it's such a headache. Does anyone have any tips on getting rid of the cockleburrs in the pasture beyond what I am doing....or at least some good ways to keep them out of the horses?
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 03:14 PM
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Mow throughout the year not just in the fall. This will prevent everything from spreading seeds... this will really help in the fall when your cockleburr plants haven't been able to produce cockleburrs. Keep an eye on the plants and just when they're flowering, mow them down. It still takes awhile, but in the meantime you don't have to deal with the seeds spreading and creating more.

Also, only mowing in the fall is really helping to spread the weed seeds and will create a greater problem the next year.
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 03:30 PM
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I personally would just rip it all out and replant with horsey friendly grass. if thats feasable. not sure the size of the area.
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 03:49 PM
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Cockleburs, the bane of the horse owner I hate them too. I have tried burning them, herbicides and mowing. The best thing to do is make regular walks or, if your lazy like me, 4 wheeler rides around the pasture. If you see one stop and yank the bugger up. Don't drop the plant on the ground, carry it out and put it in the trash. If you pull them out of your horses mane and tail, put the burrs in the trash, don't just drop them on the ground. Wherever one of those little burrs land is where another plant will sprout. They are very hardy and can grow anywhere. I've noticed if I mow often, then the plant will just set its seeds lower to the ground. I think they have little spiky brains set on tormenting us. After awhile you will get so you can spot a cocklebur plant from a city block away.


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post #5 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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MN Tigerstripes - thanks! My intention really wasn't to mow it only in the fall - as I have mentioned I have only been here since July, didn't need to mow it past into the fall because weather set in and it stopped growing. I was intending to start mowing it again come spring and throughout next year.

Vidaloco - I hope it gets to a point of "spotting one and yanking it up" that in itself would be blessed relief. We have a little over 5 acres of fenced pasture. There were "patches" of cockleburrs 100 feet wide. The previous owners of the property had horses, but the neighbors told me they just roached their horses manes and let the pasture go. It's such a shame...but I've never been afraid of a little work. It will be worth it in the end. :)
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 08:22 PM
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Ahh, well that's totally understandable . I still battle with the thistles. Thankfully Soda likes to eat the flowers (not tons, but some) so it helps me keep them from seeding out if I can't mow right away. Cockleburrs 100 ft wide? That's insane. Maybe you should electric fence those patches off and douse them in white vinegar? I'm not usually a fan of pesticides/herbicides and such but that's ridiculous!

Good luck
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Tigerstripes View Post
Ahh, well that's totally understandable . I still battle with the thistles. Thankfully Soda likes to eat the flowers (not tons, but some) so it helps me keep them from seeding out if I can't mow right away. Cockleburrs 100 ft wide? That's insane. Maybe you should electric fence those patches off and douse them in white vinegar? I'm not usually a fan of pesticides/herbicides and such but that's ridiculous!

Good luck
It really was insane. And the darn things were like trees, about 4-5 feet tall - which is why I had to hire people to come in and mow it, tough as my lawn tractor is, there was just no way to get through those things. I'm not a fan of herbicides either, but I really don't see any other options. The Pasture Pro I have in the barn is supposedly even safe for pregnant/nursing mares, which was a concern as my mare is due to foal around March/April, but even then it makes me paranoid. With cross-fencing, the pastures are really broken up into three separate pastures I could gate off easy enough - I'll probably alternate, spray and rotate come springtime.
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 08:50 PM
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Thats a really good idea. I've heard goats are really good for weed control... maybe pick a couple up?
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-04-2009, 08:52 PM
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We have a 7 acre pasture that was used for crops before we started. Fortunately it was starting from dirt. The cockle burrs got away from me a few years ago. I try to be vigilant now about keeping them out. Unfortunately its something you will always have to keep an eye out for.
Just remember what your going through now when you think you can stop pulling them up

ETA- a farmer friend told me that the seed heads can stay dormant for 2 years. Just FYI


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post #10 of 19 Old 12-05-2009, 09:58 AM Thread Starter
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MN Tigerstripes - Actually, goats ARE the next planned purchase - only, dairy goats, which we will have to be careful about what they eat so it doesn't taint the milk. *sigh* Maybe I should just pick up a few whethers in the meantime and let them nibble away. My fences wouldn't be goat safe at all though. It's a thought! Right now the plants aren't out there, from the last time it was mowed down it's still down - but the actually burrs are scattered everywhere. Does anyone know where I can get my pasture vaccuumed?

Vidaloco - 2 years??? Argh.
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