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Old 11-16-2014, 11:12 AM   #5
EllenW
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Maryland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchd View Post
I took a class a few years ago from Oregon State: Ecology of Invasive Plants. One of the key take-home messages was that disturbance is one of the critical ways that non-native invasives get established and start to take over. Disturbance can be natural or man-made. Natural would include things like fire, flooding, avalanche, or severe storms damaging trees and other vegetation. Man-made can be many, many things. Logging, clearing land for development, overgrazing, and alteration of waterways come to mind. Sometimes you have to disturb a land base that already contains non-natives when you are trying to restore it to native vegetation. Either way, being diligent to replant with natives immediately, followed up with repeated weed control is critical. If you can maintain a natural ecosystem and minimize or eliminate disturbance, you're ahead of the curve.
That is what I have found when researching natural pasture management. If you let the horses overgraze that makes a perfect area for weeds to grow. Cows will eat weeds but horses won't eat a lot of weeds so they will spread if the grass gets too short. I rotate my pastures. When the grass starts to get short in one I move them to the other one. I mow the pasture that is resting so the weeds don't get too tall. In the winter the horses stay in a lot with hay off the pasture so they won't eat it down to the ground. Creeping buttercup is a huge problem for pastures in this area. I have been able to decrease it by not letting my grass be overgrazed. There is a farm nearby that has way too many horses. Their pasture is a sea of yellow in the spring when buttercup is blooming. Buttercups are one of the many plants that are toxic to horses. They will only eat plants that are toxic if they are starving. I sure hope that farm gives their horses enough hay so they aren't tempted to eat buttercups in the early spring.
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