RECYCLE OLD FARM ITEMS
Old railroad ties can be enjoyed by goats or used to line a fence to deter varmints from digging under.
Make use of old metal water troughs with rotted bottoms by filling with soil and transplanted succulents or add useful herbs or plants.
Machinery parts get second career:
- a mineral block server for your horse, complete with built in water drainage
- fenceline accents
- creative gates and yard art
PUT UNWANTED ROCKS AND TREES TO USE
Some rocks are useful for erosion control. Others, well...what to do?
- road pavers in muddy areas
- tree base decoration
- creative entry posts
Freshly downed trees serve as greenery and fiber for horses, later can be cut for firewood (green wood needs to dry out a year), and remaining woodchips and debris act as mulch and compost. SEEK AND DESTROY COCKLEBURS
This bushy, coarse summer annual weed and its prickly clusters of flowering heads are a menace to your horses and pasture.
Horses like to graze where new grasses appear in moist areas that cater to the cockleburs’ love of water. Burs tangle in manes and tails and your horse transports these pesky plants to other areas of the pasture.
Infesting mostly moist areas and seasonal creek bed edges, cockleburs produce fruit from July to November. Leaves are bright green, shiny on top, taper to the tip and have notched edges. The perfect time to remove them is when the burs are green; when burs are brown, it’s challenging to keep them from bursting and dropping their seeds.
Frequently seek out and remove cockleburs BEFORE they take over a large area! Even before the burs appear, stems can be easily identified by their purple (almost black) spotting. Pull weeds when they are in the seedling green stage, preferably in moist soil. Removing the smaller plants earlier avoids dried burs from bursting and releasing hundreds of tiny seeds that come back as more cockleburs year after year. It is always faster and easier to pull by hand, but some tiny plants may be hoed up. Never hoe or till cockleburs with brown burs!
HOW TO NON-CHEMICALLY ELIMINATE COCKLEBURS
- Best choice: Pull the green seedlings by hand BEFORE the burs become dried and before seeds are vulnerable to spreading.
- BURN cockleburs safely on an approved burn day. If possible, burn them where they grow so as not to disturb and spread the seeds.
- Remove mixed burs (green and brown), hand gathering tiny seeds that break away from broken pods. Carry them to another area for burning or disposal off the property.
- If pulling or burning are not feasible, make up the following solution to slow growth (may also eliminate tender new plants):
1 gallon vinegar
8oz Dawn Soap
2 cups Iodized salt that has been dissolved in 2 cups of warm water
Apply cooled solution using a sprayer directly on young leaves. Leaves should wilt and many will die off.
CREATIVE CEDAR TREE USE
Why not consider a natural cedar fence while controlling brush and improving pasture for more beneficial equine use?
Remove cedars from your pasture to:
- Control brush
- Encourage grass growth
- Conserve water for more useful purposes
- Make room for more beneficial saplings to grow into fruit/nut bearing trees
No grass will grow under cedar trees, leaving your pasture barren and vulnerable to erosion. Cedars are also notorious for huge water consumption and rapid reproduction. Cedars do allow some coverage for deer and are a low-forage choice for goats, but have no real equine benefit.
Current practices include "brush sculpting" which leaves breaks of cedars while opening up other areas for grass growth. Old school thought advocates total removal of cedars.