Three Tips to Help You Grow Lush Pastures By Emily Konkel
Spring is right around the corner (hopefully!) and most horse owners being thinking about their pastures. Pastures can be difficult to maintain at this time of the year due to the changing weather and soft ground. Turning horses out to pasture before it is ready can reduce the productivity of the pastures during the summer. Here are some things to keep in mind in order to keep lush pastures:
1. Do not turn horses out to pasture unless the soils are dry
. As eager as you and your horses may be to get out to a nice, green pasture – wait. If your pastures are still wet, the soil and dormant plants can’t survive the trampling and grazing from your horses. If the soil gets compacted from the horses, the roots of the grass plants will suffocate. Test your pastures by simply walking them. If you leave a footprint, they are still too wet.
2. Encourage thick and healthy grass by applying pasture seed to barespots in your pastures.
This will help keep your pastures full and lush. Also, bare spots in your pastures during the summer provide a place for weeds to grow.
3. Rotate your pastures to keep them healthy
. By splitting up or rotating pastures, you can keep pastures from being over eaten and encourage more even grazing throughout them. Never allow your grass to be grazed shorter than three inches. This “three inch rule” will allow grass enough energy to permit rapid growth. Horses can be turned back out to pasture when the grass is about six to eight inches.
Pasture management is an easy task as long as proper steps are taken. Start thinking about your pastures now to ensure lush pastures this summer!
For more information on pasture management tips visit: http://cs.thehorse.com/blogs/smart-horse-keeping/archive/2013/03/28/smart-horse-keeping.aspx