Restore Your Grazing Pastures
However, if like many landowners, your pastures are looking rather the worse for wear after one of the wettest years on record, Suregrow Fertiliser advises on how can you revitalise the grass and deal with moss, bare patches and other problems.
Restoring neglected pasture doesn’t always mean ploughing and re-seeding, as although this will produce a good end result, new grass realistically takes a full season to establish a strong root system and top growth before grazing again by horses.
Even heavy soils like clay don't make restoration more difficult, as provided the root system is still healthy underneath the remaining grass, it is possible to improve the remaining pasture significantly.
We suggest that whenever weather conditions are favourable, applying the right kind of fertiliser will ensure that the grass has the nutrients it requires to start growing steadily and evenly, which will be a key step in restoring your pasture.
If there are weeds, you could consider spot spraying but topping, even this early in the season, will reduce the challenge to the grass from weed growth. Harrowing and rolling is normal spring maintenance for grassland; the harrow will aerate the surface of the sward by removing dead grasses and the roller will encourage the grass to tiller (spread sideways with new shoots) into bare areas.
When choosing your fertiliser, don’t use a formulation intended for high yielding agricultural pastures. Like any living organism, grass needs the correct balance of minerals for strong, healthy growth and when used for horses and ponies, making the right choice of fertiliser can help ensure appropriately nutritious pasture.
Using a formulation designed specifically for horse and pony paddocks, like Suregrow Fertiliser, with its slower release form of nutrients, will help to produce sustained, better quality grass growth over a longer period and to facilitate uptake of nutrients essential to equine wellbeing. The correct choice of fertiliser will also stimulate the development of strong, healthy roots in grasses, resulting in a denser sward that helps to suppress future weed growth.
Check that the fertiliser you choose is safe to handle and spread without the use of agricultural-scale machinery, is easy to apply and that you don’t have to keep your horses off the paddocks during and after spreading. That said, your grass will recover and re-establish more quickly if you can keep the horses off it in the early stages. You may want to consider strip grazing, perhaps with electric fencing, and move the horses regularly to achieve this.
Horses evolved to eat a natural forage diet and as feed prices continue to rise, it is essential to ensure your valuable grazing is kept in the best possible condition, because it also offers important psychological benefits to help manage ‘the happy athlete’. Pictured is international dressage rider and trainer Richard Davison leading a horse in after turnout in a paddock fertilised with Suregrow.
For more information about Suregrow fertiliser and free advice on pasture management, contact the technical support line on 01423 223045 or visit www.suregrowuk.com.
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June 14, 2013 | Share: