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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Cockleburs, the bane of the horse owner:lol: 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 ****** 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:evil:. After awhile you will get so you can spot a cocklebur plant from a city block away.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
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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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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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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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 :lol:

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

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Discussion Starter #10
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? :D

Vidaloco - 2 years??? Argh. :evil::evil::evil:
 

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Just get one of those bag attachments for your mower! It might not work perfectly, but at least some of the little suckers would get "vacumed" up.

I don't know anything about goats and how long the "taint" stays in the milk, but what about before they start producing? Or just get a couple of fun goats. Is there even a way to goat proof a fence? LOL
 

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To get rid of canadian thistles and coclburs in that big of an area you may have to wipe out the whole thing. The seeds can lay dormant for up to two years. Don't spray right after you mow though you need to mow it before seed stage and then wait to let it regrow otherwise the spray wont kill the plant. Or just spray it at the beginning of the year. Thistles are a pain in the bum to get rid of. This all comes per my husband as we are currently battling them in a hay field.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
According to the label on this Pasture Pro, (I've never sprayed a field before, so this will be new to me) they need to be sprayed right as the cockleburs and thistles start to bloom to really take care of them - which I guess means not mowing in the spring, at least not until after they begin to flower. :? I just want to get this taken care of as quickly as possible, but there's really no quick fix solution. Bleh.
 

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I'm not sure where you live, but I do a pre-emergence spray around mid to late Feb. I don't use anything fancy just 2-4-D weed killer. Then again in April-May before I turn the horses out on it. Check with your local NRCS office for what would be the best chemical and time frame for your area. I'm sure there are better pre-emergence weed killers out there.
Just an FYI, I've tried the dyes you can put in the sprayer to mark where you have sprayed and didn't think they were worth the money. If someone tries to talk you into it, think twice. I find it better with a small sprayer to just have someone help you by standing in the line, or mark it with a brightly colored cloth. I've wasted tons of spray by losing track of where I had been :lol:
 

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I'm not sure where you live, but I do a pre-emergence spray around mid to late Feb. I don't use anything fancy just 2-4-D weed killer. Then again in April-May before I turn the horses out on it. Check with your local NRCS office for what would be the best chemical and time frame for your area. I'm sure there are better pre-emergence weed killers out there.
Just an FYI, I've tried the dyes you can put in the sprayer to mark where you have sprayed and didn't think they were worth the money. If someone tries to talk you into it, think twice. I find it better with a small sprayer to just have someone help you by standing in the line, or mark it with a brightly colored cloth. I've wasted tons of spray by losing track of where I had been :lol:
The Pasture Pro I have is a modified 2-4-D - modified in that it's supposed to be safe to use around pregnant and lactating mares, and that you can put the horses back to graze on the pasture with no "down time". I will still separate out the three pastures and probably give a week or so between each field just because I am paranoid, my mare is due to foal around March/April and I don't like to take chances.

That's a good thought about having something to mark where I have sprayed, and probably not something that would have occurred to me until I was halfway across a pasture so thanks so much for that tip, I'll skip the dyes but lay out chalk lines or tape or something. Thanks!
 

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My dad always does it in the morning when the dew is still on the grass so he can see the tire tracks... Don't know if the water on the grass interferes with the killer though. We were still pretty infested this spring. This year I just started pulling thistles after every rain.... time consuming, but it seemed like it worked a heck of a lot better.
 

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Hi, I was just hoping I could help by clarifying some things on your questions about Pasture Pro. I happened to stumble across your post and I work for PBI/Gordon. There are no grazing restrictions for horses or cattle, but use your own best judgment when it comes to your animals.

Pasture Pro will work best if you hit the thistles in the bud stage: a calm, 65-80 degree day works best. You can spray in the spring and again in the fall if you still have a problem. For pre-emergent control you will want a product specifically for that purpose: we don't currently make a pre-emergent for pastures but your local extension office can recommend one. The pre-emergent will prevent the dropped cocklebur seeds from sprouting. If you use those two in conjunction plus good mowing and management practices you should be able to get your pasture back to the way it should be.

And of course - read and follow the label directions 100%. Don't think more will be better - our label recommendations are written for best results and sometimes adding more chemical has the opposite effect you want! And if you want to speak to someone in person, call our 1-800-236-5415 number and tell them you have a question about Pasture Pro. We have two gentlemen with years and years of experience that answer tech questions during regular business hours (8-4:30 CST M-F). They will be happy to help.

Hope you don't mind my dropping in - I just want to assure you that I only meant to help answer your questions, not to sell anything!

Thanks, Michele
 

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Thanks for the input Michele :D
 
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