Equine grass seed – to repair or reseed?

Horse owners often look to their paddock and wonder if it’s time to reseed or maybe they could just patch it up. Taking differing factors into consideration we set out practical advice on your approach.

Over time all paddocks yield and quality get worse, however, there are lots of factors to consider when taking a paddock out to reseed particularly as many equestrians face land limitations.

Of course as with anything it entirely depends on the amount of use a paddock gets before it requires a total reseed but as a guide of one horse per acre we would recommend a reseed after 7 years. If there are more horses per acre then the field will require rejuvenating more often. Often horse owners will find the only option is to repair the paddock by overseeding as required.

Whatever option is suitable for your circumstances, we have prepared some advice:

Soil Sampling

Regardless of if you are overseeding or reseeding your paddock, it is worth bearing in mind the value of getting a soil sample from the paddock, particularly if it has been neglected for a few years. Take the soil sample to a local agricultural agent to analyse the soil. Taking into account the results, treat the soil as required to give the seed good growing conditions.

Seed Growing Season

Whether you are overseeding or reseeding it is important to sow at the correct time of year. The growing season for grass seed is generally early spring and late summer when the weather is warm but still brings the odd rainy day, both the warmth and moisture will help the germination process.

Tip: Plan to spread the seed on a day when light rain is forecast.

Overseeding the existing grass – repairing

Mow the grass as short as possible then harrow with a chain or tine harrow to boost groweth. Spread the seed about 6kg per acre using NURTURE: Paddock Overseeder then roll afterwards to provide good seed to soil contact.

Reseeding a paddock - a new ley

To lay a field with grass seed suitable for horse grazing you will need to have the field ploughed and a good even seedbed created. It is best to spread with NURTURE: Paddock or NURTURE: Paddock with Herbs at a rate of 12kg per acre and roll afterwards.

After reseeding we recommend horses are kept off the grass for approximately 8 weeks. The grass is ready to be grazed when it stands the ‘Pull Test’; the grass blades can be pulled from the sward without removing the roots. Whilst the grass is establishing, ensure you have prepared alternative grazing area for the horses. As is natural with all reseeds, be prepared to take weed control measures 5 weeks after sowing by cutting the new ley. Most annual weeds will mow out.

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