Renovating Pasture Central Oregon

Asked July 13, 2017, 8:56 PM EDT

I moved into a new home in Deschutes county in May, and have had to do a significant amount of work to the existing irrigation system: pond, pump, and underground sprinkler system. I've got everything working great now, and am wondering about the best time to replant. I was thinking of discing everything under, and reseeding. What would be the best time to do this? Should I consider spraying (killing) all of the existing vegetation before replanting? Also, there are a ton of voles in the current pasture-- should I consider some sort of control for them at the same time as planting?

Any advice is appreciated!

Deschutes County Oregon

1 Response

Hello,

I'm glad you asked about pasture renovation and I'm happy to discuss with you. The approach you take will depend on how weedy your current ground is, how quickly you need productive pasture, and what resources you're will to put in.

There is a lot of information in this answer, I am happy to speak with you directly if you want to contact me at: clare.sullivan@oregonstate.edu

If you are ok with herbicides, I would recommend spraying the pasture before you work the ground. Weeds need to be sprayed when they are actively growing, so as long you keep the pasture alive and growing before spraying, you can spray this summer.
If you are dealing with a lot of perennial weeds it would make more sense to spray in the fall because that is when plants are sending their energy down into their roots and killing them will be more effective. But then you will be delaying planting.

If you are dealing with voles I would recommended working the ground like you are planning on doing to disrupt their burrows. There are some rodenticides available for use in pasture, but they are restricted use products and you would need a pesticide applicators license. You can also look into bait stations such as this: http://www.volecontrol.com/product.html

For pasture renovation, keep in mind you will need time between spraying, working the ground, and planting. How much time will depend on the type and amount of vegetation you currently have out there. Here are a couple options for planting times:

1. If you are in need of productive pasture next spring/summer:

Spray your pasture out ASAP, allow to sit for at least a week, work the ground and prepare a planting bed (time this takes will depend on decomposition rates), plant your pasture mix as soon as you can this summer. End of July/early August is actually the best timing to plant a pasture as long as you can manage the water for the plants to survive.

2. If you are not in a rush for a productive stand next spring:

Wait to spray out your old pasture this fall (late September/early October) in order to get better control of perennial weeds. You can leave the sprayed out field over the winter, or work it then if you want. In the early spring see how things are looking, and you may want to spray again in the spring (remember plants need to be actively growing), and then prepare the ground for planting. This method will probably give you the cleanest bed to start off a new pasture on.

As I said, feel free to contact me to speak about this further. Good luck!

Clare