Pasture has the potential to provide
1. The horses nutrition
2. A Safe exercise area
Potentials rarely achieved, often neglected

All information given here is believed to be correct but the author cannot be responsible for any consequences of it's use.

Pasture Management
for
Horses

by Denis Lindsell
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Weeds

Weed Control

Ragwort

Bracken

Marestails

Nettles

Docks

Chickweed

Buttercups

Plantains

Creeping Thistle

Spear Thistle

Dandelion

St. Johns Wort

 


 

Bracken - Pteridium aquilinum


Growth Habit

Perennial, spreading by underground rhizomes.

Encouraged by

Overgrazing, poor grass establishment

Physical Control

Cutting twice a year and rolling will reduce it's vigour, encourage grass growth, and may stop the bracken spreading but is unlikely to give complete control. Rolling can be effective without cutting, as the bruising to the fronds and rhizomes causes sap loss, weakening the plant.
If making a single cut, this will be most effective if made as close to the ground as possible, and when the plant is at full height.
Ploughing and cultivating will give some control, particularly if the plant's rhizomes become exposed to frosts.

Chemical Control

Glyphosate and reseeding. Asulam or Asulox, a selective herbicide has been effictively used for bracken control but steps were being taken to ban it's use in Europe at the end of 2011.
Any chemical control may be improved if the bracken has been cut in the previous year, giving more even growth in the current year.

Toxicity

All parts are toxic, contain thiaminase (thiamine deficiency), cumulative.
Spores are carcinogenic.
Horses will generally avoid eating the growing plant but may eat the young fronds if short of food.

Symptoms in Horses

Anemia, anorexia, ataxia, colic, convulsions, death, staggering gait, recumbency, weight loss