Common Weeds in Pastures of Eastern Pennsylvania Horse Farms
Even though pastures may look green and gorgeous from a distance, not all of it is good for horses to graze. Some may actually be poisonous. Here is a list of some of the more common weeds that can be found in pastures of Eastern Pennsylvania horse farms.
Buckhorn plantain is a perennial and is not poisonous. It commonly grows in all types of pastures and rough turf. This weed survives overgrazing and in compacted horse pastures, particularly during limited rainfall. Mowing pastures is usually ineffective against this weed, but is easy to control with application of several herbicides.
Buttercups are a very common sight. The yellow flowers bring beauty to a green pasture. These are perennial weeds and can be poisonous to horses if digested. The plants are not palatable and are not usually eaten by animals. Buttercups can be easily controlled with several herbicides, but mowing tends to be ineffective in controlling them.
Chicory, with its pretty blue flowers, is a common plant in all types of pastures and rough turf. It has not been reported that it is poisonous. It can be easily controlled with herbicides. Mowing will keep down the number of flowers produced, but will not kill the plant. Digging out the taproot is a successful method of removal and should be done before the seedheads form.
Milkweed is a common sight in pastures of Eastern Pennsylvania. It is a perennial which is very poisonous if consumed. The plant is toxic to horses and can cause depression, weakness, irregular heartbeat, diarhea, labored breathing and even death. Controlling this plant is extremely difficult. Mowing is ineffecting. Digging out the taproot may help but not guaranteed.
Ragweed is an annual plant that grows during the warm season. It can be found in pastures and cultivated crops and is not poisonous. In pastures, it is usually a problem when overgrazing occurs or during a drought. Control of ragweed is easily controled by applying herbicedes to to plants less than 12 inches tall that have not been mowed.
Hemp dogbane is a perennial that is poisonous to horses. The leaves are always toxic, even when dried in hay. It can cause digestive disturbances, diarrhea and weakness. This plant is very difficult to control in pastures. Mowing is ineffective and herbicides treatment will require multiple applications.
Nimblewill is a warm weather perennial grass. It is commonly found in many pastures and different turfs. It is not poisonous. This grass is difficult to control. Mowing is ineffective and no herbicides can control this weed.
Poison hemlock is biennial and is extremely poisonous. It most commonly grows along fence borders in shady and moist areas. This plant is extremely poisonous to both horses and humans. Poison hemlock can be easily controlled with herbicides.
The star-of-Bethlehem is a poisonous perennial, especially the bulbs and flowers. It grows in pastures, landscape beds, gardens, fields and along the roadside. This plant is toxic to horses. Very few pasture herbicides are effective in controlling it. It is best to hand dig out the bulbs.
White snakeroot is often found in shaded areas of pastures near streams or woods. It grows during the warm season. Both fresh and dried leaves ofthis plant are toxic to horses. Intake between 1 to 10% of body weight is toxic can be lethal. The best way to remove these plants is by hand.
Wild Carrot or Queen Anne's Lace
The wild carrot, or better known as Queen Anne's Lace, is a biennial plant that grows to about 4 feet in height. It is commonly found in pastures, fields and roadsides. It is mildly toxic to horses and is not considered as a serious threat. Controlling is is easy. It can be mowed and before flowering and treating with herbicides.
Some of these weeds can be found in other parts of the country as well as Eastern Pennsylvania horse farms. Some are poisonous, while others are not. It is a good idea to eliminate these weeds, if possible, especially if they are poisonous to horses to decrease the chances of the horses ingesting it.
Brigita McKelvie is a REALTOR® (Pennsylvania License #RS297130) with Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, specializing in rural and horse properties and farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. She has an e-Pro® (Certified Internet Expert) certification and a GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute) designation.
Brigita McKelvie, REALTOR
Pennsylvania License #RS297130
Rural and Horse Properties and Farms
Cindy Stys Equestrian & Country Properties, Ltd.
The Premier Equine and Country Real Estate firm serving Eastern Pennsylvania from back yard operations to world class equestrian facilities.
Use a REALTOR with "horse sense" that doesn't horse around when it comes to horse properties.