Ask a Question forum: Weed management in small pasture

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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Jul 20, 2013 8:59 AM CST
Regular mowing is still probably the best option, but if not that, what else can be done? I've noticed more nightshade plants than usual this year and I'm a more than a bit concerned about the possibility of the horse eating them. Right now I've cleared the feedlot area by hand and have her confined to it, but that's definitely not a long-term solution.

Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Jul 20, 2013 12:09 PM CST
I've found regular mowing resolves most pasture weed issues the easiest and least harmful. We've had good luck eradicating Canadian thistle and most of our stinging nettles that way. We have a brush hog towed behind a tractor and mowing keeps my husband busy -- but I have also put the riding mower on highest blade and tied up the blade guard so it blows more freely and mowed that way as well.

Will your horse actually eat the nightshade? Our neighbor ran horses and had a huge problem with tansy ragwort, which is toxic to horses, but they wouldn't touch it. The new neighbors inherited a very pretty yellow hillside (the tansy in bloom), but they are diligently mowing so hopefully that will eventually stop it.

The thistle took several years of mowing as the seeds remain viable for a long time. We're pretty much thistle-free now, and also livestock free, so much more mowing needed to keep the fields looking healthy.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 20, 2013 12:16 PM CST
Forgot to add: If you don't have access to a large mower, you may want to enlist the help of a neighbor who does. We found that our direct neighbors had a vested interest in keeping our weeds from blowing into their fields, and they kindly offered to mow our fields a time or two per year. That was very helpful when we were tractor-less.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Jul 20, 2013 12:46 PM CST
Thanks so much, Deb! Thumbs up

Nope, no tractor here. There's no place to keep one unless I fence off part of the pasture, and then I'd need to build it a shed. Whistling

The idea of a pull-behind brush hog would probably work very well! Hurray! I could probably even rent one twice a year (maybe?) instead of buying it and then having storage issues.

I don't know if she'd eat toxic weeds, but the worry is still there. She's been here 15 years so far, with no issues, but the weeds are more plentiful than the grass this year. Shrug!
She's fat and sassy, so I wouldn't think she'd be tempted, but the weeds still need to go.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 20, 2013 2:46 PM CST
Yes, renting would be a definite option, and I think twice a year would likely do it - in late spring after its new growth, then right before it sets seed. The key with the thistle was to not let it go to seed and then wait for however many years it took to deplete the seeds already in the soil. With perseverence, though, we eventually won that war. Best of luck, and I do know what you mean about not taking a chance with her eating something that could be damaging. Horses can be funny that way - I once had one that regularly choked on alfalfa. Talk about an easy keeper, he thrived the best on local grass hay!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Jul 20, 2013 4:40 PM CST

What you really need are goats! Best little weed-and-feed devices out there! Hilarious! Our property was overrun with weeds when we moved here. Now our pastures are the envy of our neighbors, because we don't have the weeds that they do. Big Grin
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
chelle
Jul 20, 2013 6:05 PM CST
I've considered it, Woofie. I'm just not quite ready to take that leap. One, our gal doesn't much care for company in her space; and two, I'd be afraid the goat/s would run amok. I do like their milk though...so maybe someday. Big Grin

Once we get a critter it's here for life, so I must exercise extreme caution! Whistling Hilarious!
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Jul 20, 2013 7:03 PM CST
My past experience with a goat was, yes, he ate anything and everything (definitely a plus, particularly for the blackberries) but was extremely difficult to keep contained and I lost a lot of favorite flowers to ol' Bucky. Seems when he got out (often), he made a beeline for whatever was then blooming! Funny critter though, I liked him.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Jul 20, 2013 8:46 PM CST
Well, you can't have just one. They are herd animals, after all, and one by itself is a pain in the lower anatomy! And the males are the most obnoxious. We have a couple of wethers (neutered males) and they are the most destructive of the entire herd. They jump on the fences and do much more damage than all the girls put together!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jul 21, 2013 8:47 AM CST
If I'm remembering correctly, we had the goat at the same time as either horses or perhaps ponies. We tried about every farm animal at one time or the other and sometimes I'm a bit hazy on the order.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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