Poached and muddy paddocks are the bane of horse owners lives!
We own horses, so we know exactly how it feels - what should be nice green grass is brown, churned up and muddy.
How to turn it back into grass though?
First thing to start with is chain harrowing - this helps rip out moss and dead grass, smashes up lumps and helps drag the 'ridges' into the 'holes'. Multiple passes with the harrows will be necessary to acheive the best result.
The best time to harrow is when the ground is moist, not wet and crumbly but not solid - it can be a fine line - if you can walk over it and it doesn't stick to your wellies, its about right.
Top Tip - Chain harrows were originally designed to be horse drawn and the technology has changed litte since - they work best at a horses 'working walk' - so no more than 5 mph - faster than this will just cause the webs to bounce and potentially damage the harrows.
So - I have chain harrowed, what should I do next?
After chain harrowing the next operation depends what state the ground is in. If it is fairly loose still or was heavily rutted and poached before then rolling would be beneficial as it helps the ground to settle and stops it blowing away in drier weather.
We would also recommend aerating your paddock frequently as this helps the water penetrate the groud and helps relieve the compaction that horses inevitably cause.
Really compacted paddocks or those on heavy soil may benefit from being mole drained to help the water drain through any compacted layer and into the subsoil.
My paddock still looks really bare!
After harrowing,rolling and aerating we would strongly recommend to both fertilize and rest your paddocks to help the grass recuperate from being grazed.
Generally speaking we would recommend to rest your paddocks for at least three weeks (to as long as practically possible) following fertilizing. This helps the grass get growing, put down some more roots and generally become more healthy, thus more palatable and nutrious to your horses.
I still don't think my paddock will recover!
Really trashed, heavily poached paddocks or those that have been intensively grazed for many year benefit from over seeding every few years. This helps re-introduce the faster growing and thus faster grazed grasses which are often first to disappear from the sward. Prior to overseeding we recommend a REALLY intensive chain harrowing followed by aerating, overseeding, then rolling to give the new seed its best possible start.
ALL SOUND LIKE AN AWFUL LOT OF WORK - OR FEEL YOU JUST DON'T HAVE THE EQUIPMENT OR KNOWLEDGE TO DO THIS YOURSELF?
We can help here at South Lincs Grass Care - we have all the equipment, knowledge and experience to bring your paddocks back to life.
We can cater for all sized paddocks within 25 miles of Spalding Lincs, if you aren't sure if we cover your area or have any other questions, don't hesistate -
Contact us today on 07745 247488 or 01775 830250 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
South Lincs Grass Care is a trading name of ANP Services Spalding Limited.