Author Topic: Pasture Rehab  (Read 3500 times)

Offline AllYouNeedIsLove

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Pasture Rehab
« on: April 04, 2013, 09:36:11 PM »
I'm putting up some pictures of our pasture to show how denuded it is. Obviously, I'm not really that upset about the fact that our previous owners were carrying out a frickin' scorched earth policy on the pasture with their 4 horses- means we get to rehab it and have cool before/after pictures :)

In this picture you see gravelly soil in the foreground with nothing growing in it, and some woody weeds growing in the background - don't know what species the weed is.

 You can see the extent to which the grass has been decimated in this photo - there is essentially no grass above the surface here, although I think there still are some root systems going on so there is hope.

 Some strange white spidery fuzz clings to some of the pasture.

 Anybody recognize this plant?

 Again you see the denuded nature of the pasture...very little grass and lots of unknown weeds - this weed has these strange fruits that look like little tomatoes.

Finally, notice the moss growing in this picture. You're not supposed to have moss in a pasture. LOL

I have a video of the pasture but I'm not going to post it because it is shaky as heck and 650 MB..that's big isn't it?

Offline Cedar

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Re: Pasture Rehab
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2013, 04:56:18 AM »
As always.. I answer a question with a bunch more questions..

  • How many acres?
  • What is your USDA growing zone?
  • What is your rainfall and when is it your rainy season?
  • What are you going to run in your pasture. More horses? Or sheep, cows, goats...?
  • Do you have large equipment, such as a tractor

Depending on how trashed it is, you may get grass to grow back. However, you may not get the kind of grass you want. You could top plant a good pasture mix for your area and your local seed dealer/feed store will have a blend geared for your area (usually). If your pasture was too trashed by overgrazing, you could have weeds, weeds, weeds. Weeds are not altogether a bad thing in the long run, as they are Nature's Bandaide. They keep soil from going away either by erosion of whatever means (like wind or water).

Depending on your rain situation and how much you get, you may be able to get away with 'knicking' the soil and broads owing the grass seed over what is already there, or you might have to drill it in. I would not recommend tilling it and replanting. But it may come to that.

Moss may mean your soil is too acidic. You may have to lime it. I would soil test it. Some weeds are a surefire way of telling if your soil is too acidic, such as if you have alot of Sheep Sorrel.

Pic #1 with its bare spot, looks like a top seeding candidate. Do you have alot of mixed type soil on the pasture area?
Pic #2 gives me hope you could just let the pasture get some sun, heat and water and it wll grow back and repair itself. One dandelion in it.
Pic #3 looks like spider webs with dew on them? No? Also see dandelions in it.
Pic #4 Does this weed have fat kinda squishy leaves on it like a Jade plant? Can you get a better pic of it?
Pic #5 Deadly Nightshade? Jimson Weed? Tomatillos? Where are you?
Pic #6 Yeah, moss can happen in a pasture, just like in a lawn. Is it shaded in this area at times? Look around for trees which could shade it. Also may be an indicator of too acidic.


Offline AllYouNeedIsLove

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Re: Pasture Rehab
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2013, 09:41:34 PM »
Thanks for responding Cedar! I'm honored.

In answer to your questions:

1) 4 acre pasture
2) on the line 4b/5a
3) 38 inches...April-August
4) We were going to try mob grazing the neighbors cows or calves - we were thinking 10 cows on it for a week in the middle of the summer and again in the fall. Mainly just going for rehab this year. We've got chickens too, but I don't think 25 chickens won't do much to 4 acres.
5) No. Looking for an old school tractor - have two possible tractors (~$500 range) that we're looking at.

My "plan" if you can call it that was to let whatever grows grow without touching it through the middle of the summer hopefully getting some of the grasses to seed - then knock it back 60% with a week of intensive grazing, and then letting it grow out again until the end of the year. This "plan" is very permacultury because we're expecting a new baby and have tons of other stuff as well - so I'm not sure how much else I can do. For example, liming and seeding might be too much even if it is the best thing.

What do you mean by "drilling" seeds - do you need special equipment for that?

We were thinking of buying just a couple pounds of big blue stem and eastern gamma grass and seeding the westernmost 10-20 feet of the pasture on the other side of the fence, and then just letting it go completely to seed and hope the wind blow it up onto the rest of the pasture. We have strong west winds on our property. What do you think of that idea? Would those grasses grow well in 4b/5a?

Thanks a lot Cedar!