Top tips for preparing your paddock for spring
Is your paddock looking worse for wear after the wet and cold winter months? With overused gateways, fence lines, feeding areas and shelters fields can be left poached and muddy with little grazing for your horse. Let's get it back to its best for spring...
Is your paddock looking worse for wear after the wet and cold winter months? With overused gateways, fence lines, feeding areas and shelters it can leave fields poached and muddy with little grazing for your horse. Here are three tips for getting your paddock spring ready.
Harrowing is a beneficial way to aerate the soil, remove dead grass, level out bumps and help break up clods. In the poached areas of the field, harrowing will create a more even surface to fertilise and sow seed. Harrowing helps improve air circulation in the soil and helps water infiltration allowing new seeds and growing grass to be properly fed.
The other benefit of chain harrowing is if there are loose droppings in the fields harrowing will help spread them around creating a natural fertiliser. Droppings help distribute nutrients and prevent grass rejection.
Once your paddock is harrowed it is ready to fertilise. If a soil analysis was done in winter, it will establish what type of fertiliser is required on your paddock. The fertiliser will replenish nutrients and encourage grass growth. Making sure you have the right fertiliser for your paddock is essential as your horse relies on grass for many of their nutrients.
You can apply the fertiliser with a spreader whether that be hand, walk-behind or towable, it will depend on how big the area you are fertilising and what equipment you have on hand. You will have to wait 7-10 days for the granules to dissolve. Once the granules have dissolved it will be time for reseeding.
You can fertilise bare patches as well as grassed areas as the nutrients will help the grass to grow and also benefit the newly germinating seed that you apply.
It is the perfect time to be assessing your paddock and seeing if there are any unwanted weeds around. Thistles and nettles are very visible at this time of year, but weeds may vary depending on your soil type and environment.
You will also need to keep a close eye on dangerous plants such as ragwort, sycamore, bracken and yew to name a few. Monitoring these weeds now will allow you to find the perfect herbicide which is a highly effective and quick resolution to your problem. You will then be ready to control your weeds in April.