Weeds in pasture - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 07-19-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Weeds in pasture

My pasture sat vacant for about 2 years.
When we got rid of the goats before we got The mule so needless to say it got quite overgrown and full of weeds. I have three questions
1.can I get rid of these weeds naturally
2. Do I need to plant grass
3. Will these weeds hurt the horses20190719_191117_1563583011253.jpg20190719_191117_1563583011253.jpg
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-19-2019, 09:26 PM
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I had weeds similar to that and the horses wouldn't touch them. What we did was plow them under and reseed with a pasture mix. Some did come back but as I was seeing them coming I pulled them up.
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-19-2019, 09:58 PM
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Every county in the US has an extension office. They are connected to ah colleges across the country. And mostly free!

One of their services is advice on pastures. They will ask you what you envision your perfect pasture to be and help you achieve that.

They'll teach about what weeds are actually highly nutritious. And all sorts of other things. Horse nutrition. Pest control. Making an inviting environment for dung beetles (I love them!).

I also agree with @waresbear in her comments.

Best wishes for creating your perfect pasture.
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-19-2019, 10:45 PM
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This is cocklebur, and you need to pull or mow it. The burs will be stuck in your mules hair. I swear they were sent from the devil himself.
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-19-2019, 11:01 PM
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The 2 top pictures look like Serica lespedeza the next to the bottom is Ragweed. Pasture guard will take care of both and probably most of the others. you only have to pull the horses off till it dries on the plants. As far as a natural remedy it would probably require continuously pulling each individual plant. The recommendation of contacting the county Extension agent is excellent advice and is your tax dollars at work.
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-20-2019, 06:36 AM
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My pasture was neglected for many years. Full of forbs (non-grass plants) as well as fallen trees, brush, barbed wire.

Things we have done so far:

1. clean up the barbed wire (obviously)
2. separate the pasture into smaller rotational sections with electric rope
3. pick up all the woody debris
4. get ourselves a good brush hog attachment for the tractor and mow it to six inches twice a year (this really helps the grass by cutting the seed heads of the weeds and encouraging the grass to 'stool' or spread out from the roots)
5. get a soil sample evaluated at our local ag extension. $20 will tell you a heck of a lot about your soil. Ours is low in everything except iron, magnesium, and manganese. It is also pretty acid, common in rainy climates
6. begin the process of felling a lot of the trees shading the grass, leaving only enough to provide shade and shelter for the horses -- the former owners let way too many saplings grow up.

Our next move is to lime to raise the pH to something grass likes better than forbs (most hay and pasture folks lime here), and fertilize with the 'big three', NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium).
I do not believe in herbicides or pesticides except in very dire circumstances, which a pasture for a horse hobby will never be. Our pastures sustain a whole ecosystem of plants, animals, insects, and billions of invisible creatures above and below the soil. I am just trying to revitalize a mountain pasture continuously under grass for more than 200 years, without injuring the biota any more than I can help.

If you have flat pastures and deep soil (we don't have either), @waresbear 's suggestion of replanting might work very well. Wouldn't work for us.

Good luck with your pasture!
A lovely book to read about grass management is called "Grass, the Forgiveness of Nature".
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-20-2019, 09:21 AM
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@Avna - I can't *like* your post enough!

It's a fact that soil is full of living things, and healthy soil is imperative for healthy forage.

I used to say "Ranchers are nothing but grass farmers." But it seems we're really nothing but "dirt farmers" and that is a really cool thing to be.
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post #8 of 23 Old 07-20-2019, 10:14 AM
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I lived for part of a summer on a sheep farm in Saskatchewan once. They measure farms in sections there -- a section is a quarter mile square.This farm was five sections, a small one for that part of the world. They told me, "the soil supports the grass, the grass supports the sheep, the sheep support us." Their successful low-input model is to pasture the sheep (1000 head ewe flock plus or minus lambs and rams) all year round, in the northern prairie, one of the most severe agricultural climates on earth. The only time the sheep are under a roof is for shearing. Their secret is to 'go with nature' -- observe carefully and adjust their management according to their land and seasons and climate. They didn't even own a tractor when I was there some years ago. The couple were both raised nearby on working farms, they are hard-headed hard-working country folks. It was really interesting.

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post #9 of 23 Old 07-20-2019, 11:46 AM
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@Avna , that book you recommended, "Grass, the Forgiveness of Nature," does it really have a lot of practical advice? I just looked at it on Amazon, and the summary makes it seem more inspirational than practical, if that makes sense.
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post #10 of 23 Old 07-20-2019, 12:41 PM
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Best thing for getting rid of weeds in a pasture are goats!

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