Continuing an Equestrian Legacy Community Bulletin Board General Discussion Greenspace Management — managing weeds, improving habitat Reply To: Greenspace Management — managing weeds, improving habitat

Karla Lauritsen

Spring hand grazing season is beginning at the Stables. Mostly you and your equine will find lush green patches of cool season annual grasses–cheat grass and foxtail grass–which are invasive species. These annual grasses consume ground moisture–to the wilting point–crowding out desireable native and introduced perennial grasses. However, these lush green grasses provide a rewarding, nutritional experience for our equines. So encourage your equine to graze.

However, if you have an equine who is sensitive to higher levels of sugars, graze with caution while our nights are cool and days sunny. NSC are lowest in early morning, the safest time of day to graze.

When these annual grasses mature, their seed heads become sharply barbed, embedding themselves in clothing, fur, and tender membranes. If eaten, their seed heads can create sores in lips and gums. So as the growing season warms, while your equine grazes, feel free to pull up their annual grass leftovers! As you target your efforts, preserve the desirable grasses, leaving them with at least a 3″ stubble height.

These targeted efforts–along with ECIA Maintenance mowing and weed whacking–will reduce the seed bank in the soil. Then this fall, weeded areas should be reseeded, using the Santa Fe Pinon Juniper Meadow Mix. These dryland natives can grow and thrive, creating more diverse habitat and low sugar grazing.