Warming Up for Spring: Prepping your Land for the Season Ahead
By Frank Baldwin, Managing Director at Farm Tech Supplies
It’s official: spring has (almost) sprung. Temperatures have been feeling considerably warmer and more spring-like lately – but before the first buds begin to appear, you need to start prepping your land.
So, no matter if you’re a farm or smallholdings owner – or a groundskeeper for a school, golf club or estate – here’s how to shake off the winter coat and get ready for the working season ahead…
Walk the grounds
Before starting anything else, the first step is to walk the grounds and check what needs doing – making a list of any maintenance issues or repairs that need to be carried out so you can prioritise the most pressing ones. Areas to inspect include borders and fencing, outbuildings and livestock housing. You should note down any areas that need reseeding as well.
It is also worth checking for any signs of slugs, snails, aphids and larvae which may have been sheltering in plants during the winter. There is a range of pest control materials and methods available, so it’s best to tackle these hibernating pests before going ahead and putting in new plants.
This is also a good opportunity to do some general cleaning and tidying jobs such as removing leaves and debris from the grass. You’ll also want to start cultivating the soil in preparation for sowing, so now is the time to test the state of it. An easy guide is to grab a handful of soil, squeeze it tightly, then open your fist – it should crumble instead of forming clumps.
Check your kit
Before winding down for the winter months, you will (hopefully!) have checked all your machinery and, if needed, serviced it before putting it away out of the cold. But now it’s time to get it back out of storage, dust it off and see what state it’s in.
Carefully inspect the machinery for any signs of wear and tear; these should be minimal if checks and repairs were carried out before the winter but, if not, then now is your chance to get them fixed. If you can get your hands on the right parts, you may be able to tackle any smaller jobs yourself.
But for major repairs, it’s best to call in the help of an expert. Just keep in mind that this can be one of the busiest times of year for agricultural mechanics – so if you need farm machinery repaired or serviced, be sure to make arrangements now.
Time for a trim
Depending on the weather conditions, March onwards is when you should start mowing as the warmer weather and spring showers stimulate growth. A flail mower tractor attachment is great for tackling overgrown grass and weeds in pastures, paddocks and fields – while a topper mower will also cut through light scrub and saplings. Once the worst has been taken care of, a finishing mower is then best suited for regularly maintaining level areas of short grass.
If you didn’t get around to pruning your trees before or during winter, now is the time to do so as almost all plants are best pruned when they are dormant. The exceptions are those plants that bloom and fruit off of old wood, which should be pruned after they produce in spring. Removing damaged, dead and diseased branches now before new growth occurs will make the process easier – and will help to keep the plant in good health.
Just remember, there are certain laws regarding hedge cutting to protect birds during their breeding and rearing season. So, if you haven’t cut back or trimmed your hedgerows before March 1st, then you’ll have to wait to do it until after August 31st.
If you have livestock on your land, you’ll soon be able to put them back out to pasture once the weather warms up. This is a great opportunity to give any livestock shelters a thorough mucking out after being used all winter. A tipping trailer will come in handy when it comes to this – allowing you to easily move fodder or soil.
As calving and lambing season approaches, you should also make sure your animal’s inoculations are up to date and get their general health checked over by a vet.
For further advice on choosing the right equipment for the season ahead, please get in touch with our team on 01420 520510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.