Our horse pasture has been overrun with Queen Anne's Lace this year. We've...

Asked August 25, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

Our horse pasture has been overrun with Queen Anne's Lace this year. We've kept it mowed so that it hasn't flowered, but it's still spreading like wild fire. What can we do to remove it? We would also like to re-seed the pasture. What variety of grass seed should we use, and when should we spread the seed? Thanks!

Harford County Maryland

1 Response

Queen Ann's Lace or Wild Carrot is a biennial plant that reproduces by seeds and can be a serious pest. The seeds can survive in the soil for up to five years, so this pest can cause aggravation for the near future. Being a biennial, the first year is a vegetative stage; it then overwinters and the second year the established plant flowers and forms seed to begin the cycle over. Therefore if the flowers are mowed (mechanical control) and prevented from forming seeds (both in the pasture and nearby surrounding areas) then over the course of several years the number of Queen Ann's Lace weeds can be reduced significantly.

Selective herbicides can also be used to control this weed at various stages of its 2-year life cycle, with the seedling plants in the first year being more easily controlled. There are several herbicides that are labeled for controlling this weed in pastures. … read the label first! Products that can be used include 2,4-D and Dicamba for which there are various brand names and products. As mentioned above, there can be a bank of seeds in the soil that can keep this weed coming back for several more years. You can contact your local University of Maryland Extension office or agricultural service provider for specific application information.

Overseeding pasture

This is a good window in the calendar for seeding pastures. There are several things to consider as you make your plans. First, what is the soil fertility? Or in other words, how long has it been since there was a soil fertility test done on the pasture and were amendments (lime or fertilizer) applied to bring the fertility levels up to recommended levels. This is an important factor in having successful pastures and seeding efforts.

Second, if you are applying herbicides, check the product label for any restrictions or cautions concerning seeding… some products have a waiting time after application in order to minimize damage to new seedlings.

Third, it is recommended to eliminate or minimize horse traffic on areas that have been reseeded until the new grass seedlings are well established. Hoof traffic can push seeds and seedlings into the soil too deeply or the seedlings can be crushed.

Three grasses can be considered for over seeding; bluegrass, Orchardgrass and novel tall fescue. Which grass that fits your needs will depend somewhat on what the local site characteristics and pasture needs are. Regardless of the grass type selected, it is important to apply the seed to maximize the soil–seed contact and to prevent the seed from being placed to deep … usually no deeper than ¼ inch.

You can contact the University of Maryland Extension office concerning specific rates or practices that may apply to your situation and conditions. Your Harford County office number is 410-638- 3255.