Pasture management plays an important role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of grass. Healthy grass always adds to the beauty of your pasture. But keeping it in good health requires considerable effort and care. Weed control management is necessary to maintain such grass, and it can be done through several methods. The term “weed” actually refers to an undesirable plant that grows in a place where you do not want it to grow. Weed control management is necessary because weeds affect the quality of plant species and decreases the yield. Weeds can also be a potential risk for the livestock if the plants are toxic.
Mowing Pasture to Control Weeds, this is how to do it, and why it is effective:
In general, mowing pastures is a great way to control weed growth. Repeating the mowing pasture will reduce the weeds’ strength, so it has less chance to survive on your lawn. When the weeds have the same height as the grass, it is difficult to hinder the grass growth, and they can not establish seed heads. This way, it is difficult for them to spread further over your grass and prevent them from reproducing. Depending on the weed type, multiple mowing sessions can be required.
This article will help you understand the mowing pasture to control the weed. You will be able to determine the best method to reduce weed pressure by mowing your pasture, and decreasing the weed pressure by mowing your pasture benefits you too by eliminating the need for herbicide application.
Farming comes with huge responsibility – responsibility in how you take care of your land. This responsibility can give you a huge headache when weeds start to spread through your pasture, thus adding to the ever-growing list of activities. Weeds are hazardous to your land, so you need to find ways to manage and control their growth.
Weeds are the most common pests in a pasture. Some weeds can be toxic and, under certain conditions, can lead to illness or death in animals. Most weeds have a good nutritional value but, compared to pasture grasses and other desirable plants, weeds have the less cooling ability after summer stress and wear, are less productive, and do not provide winter cover. Weeds are strong competitors and can cause pasture rehabilitation and implementation projects to fail.
There are many ways for you to control weed growth. One of them is mowing your pasture, as it will help you stop weeds from spreading through your pasture.
Mowing the Pasture
The general weed control recommendations in a pasture are to use your mower when weeds have lost most of their roots. In many plants, this critical period is at flowering. The idea is to destroy parts of the food-producing plants at a time when food stored at last year’s roots is very low. This causes a decrease in energy, and eventually, the plant dies.
When pruning pastures, it is necessary not to cut the grass too short, as cutting it in that way will reduce the area of leaves that are required to promote growth. A grass plant that is severely cut is more likely to die. The best height of winter grass to control weeds is about 4 inches; the best height for warm-season grass is about 8 inches.
Repeated pruning decreases the weed’s competitive capability by eliminating carbohydrates reserved in their roots and preventing them from producing seeds. Some weeds are cut when they are young and can be eaten by livestock. Mowing your pasture can also kill or suppress annual weeds. It can also help prevent its spread. Cut at a height above grass where the weeds are 8 to 10 inches high to reduce weed infestation.
When mowing, it is necessary to have complete knowledge about how to mow your pasture in order to get the most out of your efforts and stop the spread of weeds. One mow will not adequately control most weeds. Instead, mowing three or four times a year for several years can greatly reduce and sometimes eradicate certain weeds. Also, mow along fences and borders to help prevent the introduction of new weed seeds. Regular pruning benefits you in preventing weeds from forming, scattering, and competing with grasses and desirable vegetables.
If your pasture is healthy and shows rapid growth, then mowing can control weed production once a year. Severe yearly weed problems are exceptional in the pasture and sign the declining health of desired species. These paddocks may be suitable for upgrading or remodeling.
Endless weeds such as the Canadian thistle, milkweed, and goldenrod need a different approach. Cutting once will not control these weeds. Pruning in intervals that allow the grass to grow back to 8 to 12 inches between cuttings will eventually kill the plants.
Mowing Pasture Advantages
Let’s have a look at the advantages of mowing a pasture:
- Inexpensive: It’s an inexpensive program. There is a mower at almost every pasture, and the owner does not have to pay for hand labor to control weed production.
- Not selective: It is not selective. Mowers work well and effectively on weed-grass and leafy weeds.
- Annual weeds: It is particularly effective for annual and biennial weeds if accomplished before seed production.
- It is better for legumes: Unlike spraying, when using a mower on a pasture to control weeds, it does not eliminate legumes.
Mowing Pasture Disadvantages
Some of the disadvantages of mowing pasture:
- Do not remove all weeds: With a mower, you cannot get rid of all the weeds in your pasture and so sometimes results can be unsatisfactory.
- Forage: The forage produced by the desirable grasses that have not been used till now gets lost as a weed.
- Requires punctuality: Controlling weed production through mowing the pasture requires punctuality because you need to wait until the seed is mature and weeds are ready for regrowth.
- Not for all weeds: Some weeds cannot be effectively controlled by mowing the pasture because, at that time, they are not adequately developed.
Much research has been done on mowing pastures to control weeds, and according to the research of Nebraska Agricultural University, the following was found:
- Forage decreases: The forage production decreases from a pasture as a result of mowing.
- Decrease in the vigor: The best result obtained from mowing a pasture was a decrease in most weeds’ vigor. Weed control was not satisfactory on perennial pasture weeds species.
- Annual: Annual weed control was satisfactory.
Before mowing your pasture, it is necessary to take the following action in order to get the best results of controlling weeds.
Identifying weeds is important before mowing your pasture because it can save you a lot of money and effort that you are going to make to stop weed expansion. This is because sometimes you need to apply herbicides to your pasture, which are known as chemical control. So if you know about your weeds and whether it is a cool season or warm season, then you can save yourself a lot of effort and money. If the weed is a winter season type, then there is no need to get rid of it with herbicides because when the warm season comes, the heat will kill it within a month without any effort from you.
Weed Population Identification
It is important to start by inspecting your pasture to find out all the existing problems and to determine the condition of the desired crop and the level of the weed problem. Identify the weeds in the pasture and learn about their growth. Understanding how a plant grows allows you to control its growth and spread. Annual, biennial, and perennial (long-lasting) are the weed types that can be found in pastures. Annual weeds sprout from seed, grow quickly in spring, then flower and produce seeds at the same time of growth.
Annual weeds can be winter or warm-season weeds. Winter weeds germinate from autumn to spring and bloom in late spring or early summer. Summer weeds mostly start growing in the spring and remain around the growing season. Many annual weeds are a problem when grazing is established in a prepared seedbed.
Biennial and perennial weeds are the ones that cause the greatest headaches for owners. They usually come when the pasture is less productive or less competitive. They usually cause a problem after the first year when they have developed a good root system and have accumulated a good source of nutrients for survival. Biennial weeds usually breed because of seeds, but unlike the annual ones, they rarely bloom and produce seeds in their first year.
The first year’s growth reflects the vegetable phase in which the plant grows and accumulates food reserves, followed by the production of flowers and seeds in the next year. After a plant has bloomed and planted seeds, it usually dies. Perennial weeds are tough to control or get rid of. Therefore they are also known as endless weed. Many perennial weeds produce seeds and energy-dense vegetable components, such as roots or root crops. If all the perennial weed roots are not killed, new shoots will emerge from the stumps.
Weeds control Methods
Other than mowing, which is also known as a mechanical method, the chemical control of weeds through herbicides in pasture and forage crops is another common method and it is mostly recommended when your pasture is large. Weed pulling is again another method that can be used to control weeds. However, this latter method is not very popular with the perennial weeds because their stem are buried very deep in the ground and their roots regrow.
● Weed Pulling
Weed pulling can be done in two ways: by hand and by using tools. Hand pulling is often used for weed control in small areas because it is easy to carry out. All it takes is to remove the roots without major soil disturbance. Tools can also be used for the weeds’ removal by properly holding the stem and providing the necessary strength to remove its root. Remove weeds slowly and carefully to prevent soil erosion. Soil disturbance can provide a chance for weeds to germinate. When you are pulling weeds by hand, it is necessary to wear gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and trousers because plants can cause skin irritation.
● Chemical control
Weed control can also be done using chemicals like herbicides. Herbicides are found to be the most effective and efficient for weed control. Some herbicides are prepared to protect the plants around the weeds. Chemical control is an effective way to control weeds. Currently, there are many chemical products available on the market for this control. The downside is, of course, that a lot of chemicals can harm more than just the weeds. More and more people are looking for more nature-friendly methods of weed control.
Weed formation in a pasture is always challenging for an owner because they are usually harmful to your plants. Getting rid of weeds is not an easy process, but various methods can be used to control weeds. Which method you use depends upon certain factors. If your pasture is not that large, you can save yourself some money because weed pulling is the most suitable option.
Mowing through the pasture and using herbicides are both effective. Mowing can reduce weeds largely, and it is cost-efficient and does not harm the environment. Using herbicides can help you get rid of weeds entirely but often harm the environment.