Manage fields and pastures for broom sedge

Quality Farm Supply, General Tips

Every year about this time more broom sedge shows up in pastures and hay fields across the Mid-South. Broom Sedge is easy to spot due to its tan to brown color and tall thin plant stature. Most palatable forages have already been eaten by now, so the broom sedge really stands out. Also, allelopathic chemicals in broomsedges prevent other plants from germinating around them, making this an extremely competitive plant. Broom sedge invades pastures due to low soil fertility levels. For years, acid soils or those needing lime were blamed, but low phosphorus can be a factor as well. Because broom sedge can be difficult to control once established, prevention is key. Preventative options include: Keep pH and Phosphorus levels in check. This means farmers should monitor soil fertility every year or two. The pH levels take some time to correct, so plan accordingly. Maintain appropriate pasture management. Keeping pastures clear of common weeds goes a long way to avoid major weed intrusion. Proper grazing methods should enable the farmer to increase or decrease grazing pressure in certain areas, and to help avoid overgrazing. Long term management plans should be in place as well. Pasture species composition is dynamic, and forages likely have to be over-seeded after a few years in certain areas. Landscape position is a driver for available water, and thus plant composition. Once broom sedge appears in pastures, it will be there for a while. Control options include: Correcting nutrient deficiencies in respective pastures: This increases the vigor of the base forage. Proper Grazing: Livestock will eat broomsedge for a short period of time in spring. Patience: It may take several years for broom sedge to disappear. There are no good herbicide options, other than glyphosate, which will also kill or damage the surrounding forage. Any way you look at broom sedge, it’s taking up space in your fields and costing you money and your livestock’s performance.

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