Yellow False Indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) have a very wide, natural range to which they seem well adapted. It is native to the lower Midwest and Gulf states. As a group, these perennials are deer resistant, heat and humidity tolerant and drought tolerant. Height and width vary by species. It grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall by 2 to 4 feet wide with upright stems. Flower spikes are 12 to 15 inches long with large, bright yellow flowers held above bright green foliage. Most indigo species bloom… Read More →
During the dormant season we often get anxious for warm weather and green pastures so we start thinking about renovation. Renovation is a practice or series of management practices which “restores the vigor” or “makes new again.” In pasture management, renovation refers to improvement of a permanent pasture by changed management. Renovation of bermudagrass pastures may be as simple as soil testing and applying proper fertilization; or, it may be as complex and intensive as destroying the existing sod, preparing a seedbed and sprigging again. Some renovation… Read More →
Lime is often recommended for pastures and hay meadows in order to increase soil pH. Many forages can be sensitive to soil pH, especially acidic soils (soil pH < 7). Maintaining an appropriate soil pH can increase nutrient use efficiency, meaning plant roots have the capability to pull nutrients from the soil and use them for plant growth and persistence. Liquid lime is a formulation of approximately 50% high quality dry lime and 50% water. Some advantages of liquid lime include: providing better uniformity of spread and reacting… Read More →
Weed of the Week: Buttercup
Buttercup (Ranunculus species): One of the many yellow flowering weeds that we fight in pastures and hay meadows. Buttercup is a winter annual that thrives in weak or thin pastures. There are several species of this winter annual. They differ mainly in leaf shape and growth, but all produce characteristic bright yellow blossoms. March to early April is the best time to kill buttercup. The goal is to spray buttercup before bloom. Fertilizing and liming to soil test recommendations and efficient utilization of pastures or hay fields are… Read More →
Pasture Management – Just the Facts
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants combine solar energy, atmospheric CO2, and water, within green leaf tissue (chlorophyll) to produce carbohydrates. Plants use these carbohydrates as a source of energy to carry on basic metabolic processes. In short, while overly simplistic, plants can create their own food using the simple ingredients of sunlight, water, and CO2. Plants do require, however, adequate green leaf (photosynthetic tissue) in order to carry out photosynthesis. Without these four main ingredients plants cannot survive. As managers there is not a lot we… Read More →
Weed of the Week: Broomsedge Bluestem
Broomsedge Bluestem (Andropogon virginicus L.) is a warm season perennial grass found throughout Central and East Texas. Broomsedge growth begins as temperatures consistently stay above 60 degrees F. It produces many seeds that are distributed by wind. It is a poor competitor, has poor nutritive value for livestock and low palatability. Broomsedge can quickly become the dominant species in over-grazed, low pH (< 5.5), low fertility, eroded soils where desired vegetation will not thrive. Since this plant thrives on low pH and low fertility soils, soil testing is… Read More →
Winter Weeds: Do they matter?
As forage producers, we focus most of our energy on our warm season perennial pastures and hay meadows (bermudagrass, bahiagrass, etc.). That means most of our weed control efforts are also focused on warm season weeds (such as carolina horsenettle, blackberry, etc). Unfortunately, cool season weeds can be just as detrimental to our warm season perennial forages. Annual ryegrass…a cool season annual forage often utilized by livestock producers for winter grazing. However, it’s often deemed an enemy of many a hay producer in East Texas. Later maturity… Read More →
Impact of Sub Freezing Temperatures on Warm-Season Perennial Grasses
Warm-season perennial grasses are the basis of pasture systems and livestock production in Texas. The most prominent warm season species are bermudagrass (seeded and hybrid) and bahiagrass. Neither of these species is native to the state of Texas but they are well adapted to Central and East Texas. Unfortunately they can be greatly impacted by cold winter temperatures. Central and East Texas have seen record temperatures in late December. Many may be concerned about whether or not their warm season forages have survived these weather conditions. Bermudagrass… Read More →
Hay Meadow’s Friend or Foe?
Annual Ryegrass…a cool season annual forage often utilized by livestock producers for winter grazing. However, it’s often deemed an enemy of many a hay producer in East Texas. Volunteer annual ryegrass can be common in hay meadows. Winter rainfalls can promote seed germination and seeds can survive for multiple years in our soils. Later maturity of annual ryegrass can delay or prevent our warm season perennial forages (i.e. bermudagrass or bahiagrass) from breaking dormancy in April/May therefore delaying our initial hay cutting. So how do we manage… Read More →