Despite the fact that winter formally began just a few days in the past, I began what I seek advice from as my “winter practices” on the farm the day after Thanksgiving. December days on my southwest Ohio farm could be sunny and delicate in the future, then chilly and grey the following. And that sample continues on by means of March.
Since I’ve to be exterior for every day livestock chores anyway, I’ve outfitted myself with heat garments and boots, gloves and hats. As such, I’m capable of do farm work open air comfortably through the winter. I can spend a great hour and even two earlier than a extremely chilly day drives me inside to family chores.
And I hate family chores!
Smaller Chores Add Up
My favourite and most efficient out of doors winter farm actions will not be main initiatives. Quite, I choose smaller practices that produce large outcomes. These embrace tree/woods administration, frost seeding pastures and clearing invasive bushes and shrubs.
Naked branches make it simpler to chop invasive small bushes and shrubs like Asian bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, callery (Bradford) pear and multiflora rose. All of those non-native invasive species develop in my woods, fence traces and pastures.
I choose to not use herbicide to manage these crops (with one exception—see under). A sturdy pair of pruning loppers and a pointy pruning noticed could make brief work of the smaller development.
For medium-sized shrubs and small bushes, a battery-powered chainsaw is straightforward to handle and works on a cost for a few hours. Leafless bushes makes it straightforward to chop and/or drag fallen tree limbs into piles within the woods.
I don’t suggest burning. These smaller bushes and shrubs break down and decay away in a yr or two to feed a plethora of excellent microbes within the forest soil. Within the meantime, the piles present shelter for wild animals, birds and bugs.
About Asian Bush Honeysuckle…
The exception to my herbicide rule? Asian bush honeysuckle. This plant is essentially the most invasive of all of the non-native bushes and shrubs on my farm. It units leaves early within the spring and is the final to shed its leaves within the fall.
In December the Asian bush honeysuckle is the one plant nonetheless holding its leaves. (Although, admittedly, this late within the month they might be gone.) So early winter is the most effective time to successfully kill Asian bush honeysuckle across the farm by spraying the leaves with a really mild utility of glyphosate herbicide.
Use not more than a 3 p.c answer of glyphosate in water in a backpack or different sprayer. You’ll not discover any main change within the plant till spring. Glyphosate is a really harmful herbicide and should you select to make use of it, put on full protecting clothes so it doesn’t are available contact together with your pores and skin or is breathed.
Even the Nature Conservancy follows these pointers. See this factsheet for extra data.
Frost seeding begins the center of February in zone 5 and 6. This technique of seeding pastures is a great routine technique for insuring a various combination of pasture grasses with out utilizing any main tools.
I order pasture combine from my native feed retailer across the finish of January. It is available in 50 pound luggage. The feed retailer supervisor might help you establish how a lot to purchase on your fields.
It’s also possible to purchase mixes for particular sorts of livestock.
By the center of February the times are often above freezing however nights are typically within the low to mid 20s. A pure heaving of the soil helps the seed work into the bottom.
I frost seed not more than 5 acres at a time and I stroll it with a hand-cranked broadcast seeder. On a chilly sunny day or a milder overcast day it’s nice train.