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Author Topic: Mares Tails ...  (Read 8362 times)

OldGaffer

  • Joined May 2011
  • Cambridgeshire
Mares Tails ...
« on: May 11, 2011, 05:28:46 pm »
I am considering putting some sheep on good grass that also contains some Mares Tails. I know sheep are fairly picky about what they eat, but does anyone know if there will be a problem with Mare Tails being present? Cannot find anything that states good or bad about Mares Tails and sheep.

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 06:59:00 pm »
This link Mares tails poisonous says it's poisonous for horses. Doesn't say about sheep but I'd be concerned I think.

OK, this one says poisonous to livestock, full stop horsetail

OldGaffer

  • Joined May 2011
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 08:50:28 pm »
Many thanks jaykay, I shall need to do something about the fold I wish to use, before putting any sheep on it.

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 08:53:49 pm »
good luck mares tail is evil stuff to get rid of...

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 09:23:14 am »
We have a lot of mares tail in our ground it is almost impossible to get rid of it, but we have found that the sheep graze it and that does seem to slow it down a bit. We've not had any problems as far as it being poisonous to the sheep and i can't find any referance to it being so. They don't actively seek it out to eat but it does get eaten so presumably it tastes ok. We have also had it in hay fed back in the winter and had no problems, but i wouldn't feed that hay to my horse. :sheep:

OldGaffer

  • Joined May 2011
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 09:42:10 am »
Many thanks, that is interesting, I guess in small amounts it is not a problem to sheep.

From what I have read it does look to be a very hardy plant, with very deep roots.

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 04:50:57 pm »
we treat it as a very invasive weed in gardens the only solution is chemical and that still takes multiple treatments over a number of years to fully erradicate the bloody stuff!!!

for the organic gardener it is one of the worst problems to erradicate i have ever encountered, no idea how you'd start to get rid of it on a field scale!!!

Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 05:06:46 pm »
Basically three options for mares tail....

1...Dig it out - Roots can go down 2 metre +  and if you miss a tiny bit it will be back !

2... Bruise the stems by driving over it several times then spray the whole area - as above will need multiple applications

3...Repeatedly cut the area - keep the area very short, eventually the plant will weaken as it wont have stem / leaves to create food so will die off - this may take two seasons to do.

DON'T ..... Plough and harrow the area - this will chop up the roots and multiply the problem 100 fold!

Someone once told me to put hens on the area, as they will keep it short and it will eventually die off.

Thanks
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OldGaffer

  • Joined May 2011
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 10:37:28 pm »
Thanks for the information, explains why that field in so bad. Some time ago the field was ploughed and power harrowed, the result was lovely soil and now lots of Mares Tails!
I may try chicken tractors for a while, see if that helps.

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2011, 11:30:37 am »
The gound we use is in higher entry level so consequently they wont allow us to overgraze or put certain chemicals on it, so as you can imagine we now have a field that is rapidly becoming marestail and nothing else. I dont know how much longer we will be able to use this ground luckily it is not our own only rented, so dont leave your ground get on top of it now before it becomes a major problem

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Mares Tails ...
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2011, 11:38:43 am »
The same reason is causing the fields across from us to revert to seaves (Juncus or rushes). Why anyone would want this to happen to good pasture is beyond me, particularly since there's so much wet, rushy land above the intake walls around here for the curlews etc. It's the reason we won't go into the scheme. We manage our land by cutting/grazing and don't want telling we can't!

 

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