Did you know that fall is the most ideal time to overseed your horse’s cool-season pastures if you want to thicken a stand and make sure that all bare areas are filled in? Follow our recommendations below to multiply your chances of a successful overseeding:
1) Lime & fertilizer supplements
Be sure to apply any required fertilizer and lime amendments so as to ensure that the soil has all the important nutrients it needs for ideal growth. Nitrogen is one nutrient that can greatly benefit your new seedings, as well as most other horse pastures, in the fall. Two applications of 30-40 pounds/acre spread 45 days apart thicken stands while also increasing winter survival rates for the plants.
If you have any challenges with getting an up-to-date soil test, you can contact your nearest local county Extension agent for help.
2) Seed quality is a very crucial factor
Remember to use very high-quality seeds (or seedlings) of an improved variety; i.e. a variety that has been proven to be an excellent performer under the climatic and soil conditions in your area. When it comes to quality of seeds and seedlings, some of the things to have in mind include: good germination rates, seedling vigor, stand persistence, final yields, survival under regular horse grazing, etc.
On storage, store your seeds in rodent-proof enclosures in a cool and dry area. For storage above six months, a refrigerator is better placed to maintain seed viability.
3) On planting time & seeding methods
Be sure to plant enough seed at the most appropriate time. Mid-August to mid-September is the most ideal time to seed for the northern U.S. states while towards the end of the year is better for the Deep South. Seeding rates are normally determined by the corresponding grass mixture in the area where you choose to plant.
For seeding methods, we recommend the no-till drill seeding method for overseeding existing horse pastures. And, be sure to close-mow or graze prior to overseeding in late summer and fall so as to reduce competition from weeds and grasses.
In conclusion, remember not to return your equines to an overseeded pasture too soon in order to avoid wiping out any seedlings through grazing and trampling. Let your seedlings establish.
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