I work at a large horse farm that has more that 200miles of 4-rail wooden fence. The maintenance crew used to weed whack the grass under the fence, but have switched to spraying glyphosate. They buy it by the drum! Unfortunately, appearance is an issue so just letting everything grow up over the fences is not an option. Any suggestions?
You need to prove to them just how much time and money they are spending that could be avoided by installing permanent barrier.
Recycled conveyor belting will create a nice mowable edge that will last forever, but $$$. Cedar boards would do the same thing, but not last forever. Or concrete curbing/sidewalk.
You may not be able to get them to change all of it at once, but try to get a couple test sections to figure out the cost and how much they will save in maintenance.
Or you could throw out some GMO seed so they still get stuff coming up after they spray Just kidding! The gly-resistant weeds will be there soon enough, anyway.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
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Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
posted 6 years ago
Probably the most permie answer I know of is do you have someone there who uses goats for weed control. Here a neighbor up the creek has a herd of about 400 goats he charges to bring in to clean up such things. They set electric fence temporarily to keep the goats contained to the area be cleaned. Given the mileage of fence likely this and weed barrier are simply out of reach so you probably are already looking at the most economical answers. The only other answer would be some sort of semi permanent ground sterilization. That either means really nasty chemicals or some sort of salt sterilization(maybe MgCl, CaCl or KCl).
Mike, my work is on a large GMO/chemical farm so I know how frustrating it is to see something going on everyday that you don't agree with and know is wrong. However unless you have a major stake in this horse farm and or a realistic vision of it evolving into something better maybe you should save your efforts for elsewhere.
Make the smallest change for the greatest benefit. Sorry if you already know this and are way beyond someone reminding you of permaculture principles (I have no clue how far down the path you are).
That said, I don't really have any knockout ideas for this situation. Goats or sheep might work, maybe seeding a mix of short, attractive, locally adapted plants under the fence could help. Something to entice the horses to reach under the fence and clean it up themselves? I don't know much about horses. Oh, and a scythe can be much faster than a weed wacker except it might not look quite as manicured especially right up next to the posts, but 200 miles would seem a bit crazy.
Here in the desert, we simply drag along the fence line with a tractor and a Gannon box. Some people use a special set of chains. It makes an excellent firebreak too. With a wood fence, you MUST do something about high weeds along the fence line in Arizona. We get lightning and small fires on occasion. I don't see why the same technique would not work for you. Why can't it be mowed by a tractor maybe? You have to use a tractor to spray anyway.
One thing I see done here in ND is to bail the weeds up into round bails. They then use it for cattle and horse feed!
Why can't your place use a round bail like they do out here? They take "wasted" prairie "weeds" and bail them up. They cut and bail with the same tractor and out pops a round bail ready for eating. Even the state gets involved and sells the weeds along the freeway for bailing!
Something to think about, because it would give the horses natural feed that is free for the harvesting. There is initial purchase price of equipment, but the savings in chemicals can be written off. The gas and maintenance are there if they spray or mow or bail anyway, so why not get free horse feed?
One other advantage, natural "weeds" give your horses some much needed local sources that build their immunity. Protein sources in the form of bugs are important too. It's better for everybody.
Common Weeds And Wild Edibles Of The World (HD video)