New guide for controlling weeds in horse paddocks
Species such as docks, nettles, buttercups and ragwort can often be seen where horses graze. If left alone, they will eventually take over the whole field and are usually a sign of worn-out or damaged pasture that has been overgrazed.
Where weeds grow, grass does not – so having weeds limits the number of horses that can be put in any one paddock. They also make the area look messy, untidy and unkempt.
Added to this, many of the problem plants are either unpalatable or poisonous such as buttercups and ragwort. There is a legal obligation to take action where the latter is posing a serious risk to grazing animals.
How to tackle weeds
There are three ways to tackle weeds. They can be dug out by hand – but this is only really practical where plant numbers are small. It is essential that when digging out ragwort that it is then subsequently removed from the field, as it becomes more attractive to eat as it dies and more lethal to horses if digested.
Another option is to chop them down – giving instant visual satisfaction. However, this is just a temporary solution, as these are perennial weeds and will simply regrow.
An easy and effective way of getting rid of them for the longer-term is to spray with a herbicide, such as GrazonPro. This is ideal for spot-treating small patches using a knapsack sprayer, or under fence lines or around gateways and water troughs.
It provides excellent control of docks, thistles and common nettle, and is also very good on brambles, gorse and broom. It is completely safe to the grass so will not damage it in any way.
This is a professional-use product – which means unless you were born before 1964, you must have had the right training to apply it. For details on this go to www.nptc.org.uk
Where the weed problem is fairly widespread, or you do not have the qualifications to make the application yourself, it may be better to employ a spray contractor or local farmer to do the job.
To download a free copy of the ‘Paddock Weed Control Guide’ go to www.dowagro.com/product-category/paddocks/
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