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White Foot 02-09-2010 06:49 AM

Growing grass?
:?How do you keep grass growing in your pasture? :-)
I have two horses and during summer I have two different pastures, that I rotate, but this summer was horrible! It was one of the most rainy summers NY has ever had. I couldn't do much about the mud, on top of that, the grass hardly grows and when it does it isn't strongly rooted into the ground. I live way back into the woods so I have a lot of trees, so that means not as much sun.

I thought about planting grass seed but I have no idea what I'm doing. I let them out in the pastures because if I waited for the ground to dry up then the horses would /never/ get out.
Any thoughts?

ilovestitch 02-09-2010 09:54 AM

Really the best way to get a pasture stable and growing consistently nice grass is to plant, let it cycle through a year (with no horses on it at all) mowing it at 2 1/2 inches when needed and then its second year putting horses on it. Thats probably not what you wanted to hear but thats what will give you the best quality grass.

White Foot 02-09-2010 06:46 PM

Yeah, thanks for the advice. I really would love to do that but we only have two pastures.

My Beau 02-09-2010 08:24 PM

We only have 2 small pastures and are facing the same problem this winter between record amounts of snow and it being.... winter. No grass is growing.

We keep the horses in the stalls when it's raining/snowing most of the time. But they go out right afterwards when the ground is really wet... and rip it up. So we put them in the smaller pasture when the ground is wet enough for them to do damage. When it's nice out they go in the larger pasture that has good grass for 1/2 the day, then it's back to the small one.

The small one has essentially turned into a "sacrifice paddock" and we just toss hay to them. They've been in that field since November since grass isn't growing in the larger field. Hopefully we'll start rotating them back in in April.

It's not ideal, but it's better than having NO grass :)

White Foot 02-10-2010 06:18 AM

I think I will end up having a sacrifice one. I just hate that they have no grass, so I'm giving them as much hay as I would during the winter D;

JadedEyes 02-10-2010 02:22 PM

We had to plant grass seed in our yard that was a freaking dry patch of dirt. Get a really good pasture mixture from your local feed store. The best time is during late winter. I know in MD it is around Feburary March, but this year probably more towards the end of March. But only if you want to plant more grass where there is already existing grass. If you are trying to replant a whole new pasture ie. get rid of the other grass, then your best bet is during late summer, August-September. Depending upon when you plant, (late winter) you can let your horses walk on the seed, which can actually help the grass seeding get farther into the soil. But once the grass starts to pop, you need to get the horses off asap. You kinda have to let the grass grow to about 10-12 inches, cut to 3-4, grow to 10-12, and then cut again to 3-4, then let it grow one more time to 10-12 inches. By this time the grass should be ready for your horses to be let out on. Don't let the horses graze the grass down past 3-4 inches, then you have the same problem of not having enough grass. Oh and don't forget to fertilize, every year. This will help the grass grow healthy and regulary.

Hope I helped!

White Foot 02-11-2010 06:48 AM

Thanks everyone. I think the mistake I made last winter was letting them go out almost everyday. The horses had a path they would use, and a certain place where they would pee/poop. I think once the snow melted away the pee ruined the soil and grass.

My Beau 02-11-2010 09:50 AM

How big are your pastures? Our's are small enough that they benefit from daily manure picking, too. Of course, you can't do anything about the pee...

White Foot 02-13-2010 06:25 AM

Hm, that one attached to their stalls are about an acre. And the other is about 3+. The main thing about the 2+ pasture is half of it is covered with pine trees, and we agreed that we could cut some down, but that is what makes where I live so special: it's secluded, and supports alot of wildlife. I'm going to go to the local tractor supply and see if they have grass seeds for a shady area, that is safe for horses. I clean out the one attached to the barn about once a week but the other one not so much.

JadedEyes 02-13-2010 08:59 PM

Be careful about cutting down trees. I know that we are supposed to have a certain amount of trees per land. They do fly bys every 2-3 years to make sure that we still have the correct amount of trees per land.

I know of some people who cut down trees on their own land and were charged by the county some $1500 per tree cut down and then they had to replant them all.

Just make sure you know your laws. It's a big headache. This is in MD though.

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