Farm Store | articles | Top 10 Horse Pasture Pleasers For Spring

Horse Pasture Pleasers For Spring

10 Tips For Managing Your Pasture

1. Break it up.

Two horses grazing in the springHoles, ruts, erosion gullies and compacted areas aren't conducive to plant growth, are unsafe, invite weed competition, and just look bad. A heavy drag, disc or harrow can produce a nice seedbed and break up compacted areas allowing water to infiltrate and cycle pathogens and nutrients for plant growth.

2. Hold the fertilizer.

On cool season grasses, hold off on later spring nitrogen unless you need to thicken up a stand with early spring nitrogen.  Excessive nitrogen discourages clover and can increase endophyte levels in some fescue. Too much growth in later heat causes stress that respires the grass tops relative to the roots and shoots.

3. You can be in clover.

Some horse owners don't prefer white clover or legumes, and horses preferentially graze quality grasses. Yet these clovers and other legumes provide quality grazing, produce natural nitrogen and can offset some of fescue's ill effects. Encourage by clipping or grazing tall grass in the spring, hold off on nitrogen that stimulates the grass.

4. Rescue from fescue.

Most pastures have some and others have all fescue. Fescue is the least preferred new seedings. Special situations with brood mares and foals require fescue control. But, it grows nearly year round. To establish quality tall grass alternatives completely eliminate fescue in dedicated areas first. Good choices are orchardgrass, ryegrass or low or friendly endophyte fescue.

5. Too rich.

In spring, before tall grasses reach 8-10 inches, their rich sugar and starch content can nearly be equivalent to grain. Delay grazing or only allow sensitive horses to graze for short periods. Once the plant starts to shoot a flower bud, the fiber and lignin content increase naturally to provide a good balance of nutrients.

6. A time for all weeds.

Early spring weeds should be controlled before they're easily spotted. Control winter annuals like chickweed in March, spring blooming perennials like buttercup in April, summer annuals like spiny pigweed in May and June, and summer blooming perennials like horsenettle in June or later.

7. Fence, fence and more fence.

Horses need exercise so there is a limit to restricting paddock size to manage plant growth with grazing. If you have no cross fencing, start small and simple. One restricted paddock can produce a lot of feed and you'll have no problem getting your horse to graze a new area of stockpiled spring growth. Just like mowing a lawn, give it a rest when leaf area is down to 2 inches.

8. Clip and save.

It's ironic that you have to clip excessive spring growth to promote more growth. But, when the lower leaves start dying and turning yellow, the plant can't produce any more canopy and has maxed out – the plant then starts to decline without cutting or grazing. Clip early and don't let a lot of grass "windrow" to choke out new growth from the base of the plant.

9. Water, seed and dirt.

If you need to reseed cool season grasses, hold off unless your new seeds only need water and dirt. If it gets hot and dry, the seed won't sprout or the new seedling is stressed. Putting seed in existing, heavy sod or weeds will not let it grow. If you want new grass or to overseed existing pasture, you need to eliminate weeds or undesirable grasses first. Bare dirt or a sparse population of existing grass make seeding more successful without special equipment like a no-till drill.

10. Make hay the easy way.

Every day of good grazing is a day of not feeding hay. Any and all of these suggestions can help to make your own hay without using equipment, harvesting, hauling and storage. That's quite a discount on your hay purchases from a little time invested in managing the pasture.

Shop Pasture Grass

Related Products

More Products Like This:
Grid View
List View
  • Statesman Shoulder Spreader

    SKU 10232013
    Built for comfort and utility, the Statesman Shoulder Spreader is perfect for all your lawn and garden seeding needs. The corrosion, tear and weather resistant hopper is equipped with a zippered top for easy filling and closure. This nylon construction allows the bag to remain upright when filling yet collapse for easy storage. Features include a wide shoulder strap, spring action setting control with hand support, high RPM gearbox, and an oscillating shut-off plate for flow control.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Professional Horse Pasture Mixture South 25 lb

    SKU 02142115
    Southern States Professional Horse Pasture Mixture South features a blend of cool season grasses and white clover. The mixture is suited for the Transition Zone and south, where good footing and quality forage production are required.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Scotts Wizz Spreader

    SKU 10218901
    The Scotts Wizz Spreader is the quick and easy option when it comes to spreading. The Wizz holds up to 2,500 sq ft. of Scotts lawn care products and features Scotts exclusive EdgeGuard and HandyLock Technology. Use it year round to feed, seed, weed, and melt.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Statesman Broadcast Spreader 65 lb

    SKU 10209398
    Seed effectively with the Statesman Broadcast Spreader, featuring a 65 lb capacity rust-proof hopper. This even spreader comes fully assembled with a folding handle, easy-to-use gauge and lever control for precise applications. With Statesman, spreading is fast and effective.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Southern States Hallmark Orchardgrass 50 lb

    SKU 02132431
    Southern States Hallmark Orchardgrass is a hardy perennial bunchgrass that grows 2 to 3 feet tall. Its major uses include pasture and hay, and forage quality is high under good pasture management. Plant Southern States Hallmark Orchardgrass seed in early fall and it will perform well for your grazing livestock come early spring, even in pastures with moderate to low drainage.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader

    SKU 10207676
    Keep fertilizer off landscaping, driveways, sidewalks, and out of waterways with Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader. EdgeGuard technology ensures precision spreading for more accurate coverage. That means less waste, less clean-up and better for the environment.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Statesman Deluxe Broadcast Spreader 65 lb

    SKU 10209399
    The Statesman Deluxe Broadcast offers large capacity commercial features on a homeowner model spreader. The spreader features a 3-hole drop system for even spreading, 9-inch pneumatic tires and a high-speed gearbox for quick and easy spreading. This deluxe broadcast spreader comes fully assembled with a folding handle.
    to see pricing & availability
  • Scotts Turf Builder Edgeguard Deluxe Broadcast Spreader

    SKU 10209246
    The Scott’s Turf Builder Edgeguard Deluxe Broadcast Spreader features exclusive EdgeGuard technology. This means less waste, less clean-up, and it’s better for the environment. The spreader keeps fertilizer off landscaping, driveways, sidewalks, and out of waterways.
    to see pricing & availability

Find Your Nearest Southern States Location

Sales & Offers