Tips to Controlling Weeds in Grass Pastures and Hayfields

Tips to Controlling Weeds in Grass Pastures and Hayfields

April 15, 2005


Tips to Controlling Weeds in Grass Pastures and Hayfields


Limiting Outdoor Water Use


4-H Members Showcase Equine Expertise at Kentucky Horse Contests


Tips to Controlling Weeds in Grass Pastures and Hayfields

Source: J.D. Green

Using good pasture management practices will help eliminate weeds and unwanted plants in grass pastures and hayfields. Weedy type plants reduce quality, and sometimes quantity, of desirable forages available to livestock. Some plants are even potentially poisonous to grazing animals.

To get the most quantity and quality from pastures, use management practices that encourage growth of a vigorous, dense stand of forage grasses and limit germination and growth of unwanted plants. Weed seed can germinate in thin pasture stands, and unwanted plants are more prone to become established in these areas.

Recognize that all weeds aren’t detrimental as livestock forage. Some weedy plants have nutritional value, especially those used in the early vegetative growth stages such as chicory and crabgrass.

Good management starts with timely mowing and good grazing practices. Mowing before weedy plants can produce seeds helps prevent production and spread of weeds. Where perennial weeds dominate, frequent mowing can curtail growth by depleting their root reserves. If you use rotational grazing, be sure to avoid over-grazing that reduces the competitive capabilities of desirable forage species.

Maintaining the optimum soil acidity/alkalinity and fertility levels is another weed prevention practice. Soil test on a regular basis to ensure that proper nutrients are available for pasture growth and quality. Also, keep fence rows and adjacent fields free of troublesome weeds such as musk thistle and multiflora rose.

In some cases, herbicide use probably is the most desirable weed-control method. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t effectively control all weeds with an herbicide product. Sometimes herbicide use is cost-prohibitive. So, when considering herbicide use, determine the types of weeds to be controlled, their life cycles and the best time of year to apply the herbicide. Remember to note and abide by any grazing or forage harvest restrictions.

Avoid applying herbicides in mid-summer, because many common products for pastures can injure nearby, sensitive broadleaf crops like tobacco, vegetables and ornamentals, especially under high air temperatures and humidity.

Generally, the best times to apply herbicides to grass pastures is in the fall to early winter months or in the spring after plants begin actively growing.

As is true with any good management program, use a variety of practices to prevent and combat weed infestations in pastures. Remember, timely mowing is an effective cultural weed control practice. Whereas, apply herbicides only if and when the situation warrants their use.

Contact your (CountyName) Cooperative Extension Service for more information on managing weed problems in pastures.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.


Limiting Outdoor Water Use

Source: Kim Henken

Many of you will spend more time outdoors gardening and landscaping when warm weather returns. As you plant a garden and tend your landscape, taking a few simple steps will limit water use in the beginning of the growing season and later, too.

Try to group plants together by their water needs when you plant annuals, perennials and vegetables. This practice will help you efficiently provide necessary water to plants when rainfall is insufficient.

Use mulch to reduce the need to water plants. Mulch helps prevent water evaporation and slows the rate at which it moves across soil. This will allow water time to reach plant’s roots while helping prevent soil erosion.

Water plants only when necessary. Typically, plants and shrubs need one inch of water every seven to 10 days and should be watered only when rainfall does not provide this amount. Although annuals and perennials will need frequent watering the first couple of weeks after they are planted, they only require about an inch of water once a week afterwards.

By taking a few simple steps, we all can reduce the amount of water used outdoors.

For more information on water conservation, contact the (CountyName) Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.


4-H Members Showcase Equine Expertise

At Kentucky Horse Contests

Source: Kristen Janicki

Kentucky youth will have the chance to demonstrate their communications skills and equine knowledge at the Kentucky 4-H Youth Development Horse Contests. This year’s contests will be held June 14-15 at the Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel in Lexington. 4-Hers will take part in activities including public speaking, demonstration, horse bowl, horse judging and hippology contests.

Both junior and senior teams and individuals can participate. The junior division is for 4-H members ages nine through 13; senior division, members ages 14 through 18. Participants in the contest do not have to own a horse to take part. The registration deadline is (AGENTS: Put your local deadline here.) The registration fee is $3 per participant for each contest entered, except for the horse judging and hippology events. The fee for these two contests is $10 and includes lunch.

Youth can exhibit their mastery of communications skills and horse-related knowledge in the public speaking and demonstration contests. Members choose a topic related to the horse industry, formulate main points and deliver the speech or demonstration before a panel of judges and general audience. Incorporation of visual aids for self-expression and to create a visually stimulating presentation is important in the demonstration contest.

Junior and senior 4-H members learn an enormous amount of technical information pertaining to all aspects of the horse industry whenpreparing for horse bowls. Individual and team awards are given to the 4-H Youth Development members correctly answering the most questions.

Members are evaluated on their ability to identify proper conformation and performance in a group of four horses during the judging contests. The 4-Hers’ ratings are scored against a panel of official judges. Junior contestants answer questions about the classes they judge; senior contestants have the opportunity to present oral reasons to an official judge. Youth receive lessons in critical thinking and public speakingin this horse-evaluation event.

Team members’ total knowledge of the horse is tested in the hippology contest. Written examinations cover such topics as anatomy, physiology, diseases, tack and equipment, horse sports and management. Youth must also identify breeds, colors, gaits, and tack among other related information. Conformation and performance classes are evaluated in the event as well. Individuals and teams with the highest cumulative scores receive awards.

4-H members display their talents and quality of workmanship in the crafts contest. This event is an outlet for creativity and expression in a variety of media.

4-H members who excel in state horse events can advance to various national competitions.

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Other equine educational opportunities, including leader training, take place annually as part of the Kentucky 4-H Horse Program. For more information, contact the (CountyName) Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.