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How to Control Weeds in Your Pasture

The famous thoroughbred farms in Kentucky are starting a new trend that has many horse owners scratching their heads: they are using chemicals to spray their pastures in an effort to control weeds.
Up to this point in time, the use of herbicides has been frowned upon, and even the most adventurous agricultural managers who might have experimented with these chemicals were quickly persuaded to stop by horticulturists who were quick to point out that these poisons were damaging a wide range of other plants as well. This has quickly discouraged many a horse owner from continuing to use herbicides, or if they were still undecided about it, to begin using them at all.
This insecurity is now due to come to an end, since the multi-million dollar stables of Kentucky have taken up the cause of the herbicide spray and show no ill effects on their broodmares or stallions. Naturally, if you want to go ahead and follow their examples you will still need to be conscious of the possibility that you could kill desirable plants and trees, and therefore the scrupulous adherence to warnings and manufacturers’ recommendations is very much advised.

These warnings will most likely prevent you from spraying any herbicide in windy weather, conditions that are above or below 70 to 75 degrees, high humidity and also from allowing your horses to begin grazing on the pasture again until at least two weeks have gone past. Of special concern to horse owner is the dilution ratio. Most herbicides come in concentrate solutions that need to be mixed with water. Failure to completely follow these directions will most likely result in your killing off more than simply the weeds, but also the desired grasses.
If you are still not sure that the spraying of herbicides is a good idea – after all, the horses graze down the weeds just in the same way as they graze down the grass – consider that the more weeds you have in your pasture, the more competition your grasses have for nutrient rich soil and also for the moisture. If you are planning to reseed your pasture, the removal of weeds will permit your seeds to germinate and have a better chance at surviving than if you were to decide to leave them there. Of course, spraying herbicides is not enough to stay on top of the weeds. Another important aspect of weed control is the mowing down of weeds before they have a chance to release their seeds.

Read the next horse pasture article on Revive Equine Pasture in Fall.
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