Estate Management Services specialising in
Paddock & Grounds Maintenance
We offer paddock and estate maintenance services to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Buckinghamshire.
Our aim is to provide safe and healthy paddocks for your horses and livestock of any type. Be it a one-off job or a regular maintenance service contract, we can recommend how to get the best from your property.
Please call 07824 876855 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion and free quotation.
The main services we provide are:
Aeration (slitting of soil)
Hedge cutting (Tractor mounted or hand)
Plus other services associated with any Estate/yard/ or commercial premises management.
Other services we provide are:
Small building maintenance
Pipe and cable laying (digger/laying machine or by hand)
Electric fence installation (mains/solar)
Construction of roadways/paths/gateways
Small tree work
Why look after your paddocks?
Harrowing helps your paddocks breath. It helps break up the surface, allowing air into the root system; this encourages growth to both roots and sward. Harrowing will also level ground after winter poaching and level molehills. In conjunction with rolling it will give you a safe surface for your livestock.
Once harrowing or over seeding has been done it is good to roll because this will trap moisture and stimulate new growth from older grasses in the sward. This means grasses tiller out to provide thicker sward (thicker sward will help prevent poaching). This has to be done when ground conditions are right, too wet and you can cap the soil and restrict grass growth or drainage, too dry and the roll will not be effective.
Topping/Mowing (Growing Season)
Paddock topping is an important part of good paddock maintenance. By mowing taller grasses that are not palatable to livestock you will help encourage other grasses that are more palatable. Weeds will be cut, stopping them from going to seed and preventing problems later on. Docks, thistles and buttercups particularly do not like regular mowing. Topping will stimulate new grass growth that livestock like to graze on and helps thicken the sward. For horses, 50-100mm (2 to 4 inches) of sward is ideal.
Spraying (Spring to Autumn)
Spraying needs to be done when weeds are actively growing. This is normally from spring to autumn but the best time is in the spring when you get new growth. However, using the correct herbicide you can spray up to the autumn, which will benefit the paddock going into the following season. Done in conjunction with harrowing, aerating and over seeding this will prevent weeds getting a foothold and making pasture unproductive.
It is illegal to spray professional herbicides and pesticides without qualifications. Here at PM countryside services, we are fully qualified in boom spraying and knapsack spraying (certificates PA1, PA2, PA6a). With the boom sprayer, we are using GPS navigation to precisely apply spray and only use the exact amount of chemical required, reducing environmental impact and cost.
Health and safety is of key importance when spraying, so we take care with everyone concerned and we will advise when livestock can return to the sprayed area once completed.
This process reduces soil compaction, which will help with root growth, drainage and moss control. Compacted soil will not produce good grass that can survive in dry conditions. This is because water and air can’t get into the root zone of the grass. Once you slit or spike the soil this will allow air and water into the root zone and relieve compaction. The roots then can grow down in search of water and when there is a dry period, aerated paddocks will last longer reducing the need for feeding hay or hard feed.
Aeration will help reduce thatch. This is a build up of grass roots and stems that can’t break down as quickly as they grow. This is a haven for weeds and disease if left to get out of control. Once the roots have been encouraged to grow down they will find more nutrients deeper in the soil which in turn will benefit the grass and reduce the need for fertiliser in some cases.
Drainage is the key to stopping poaching in paddocks. Aeration will help this by reducing compaction of the ground so water will drain away quicker in winter months and in early spring. It also increases the earthworm population, which will help with organic matter being incorporated into the soil, benefitting grass plants.
Over Seeding (Autumn)
Over seeding benefits worn, exhausted or damaged paddocks after a long winter especially high traffic areas such as around the water trough or gateways. It is essential to restore paddocks in early spring in order for them to be productive for the year ahead. This task is done after harrowing and rolling have levelled the area. Sometimes we can do the process in one pass depending on how bad the damage is. Grass seed only needs to be in contact with the soil to germinate. The weather/ground conditions need to be right if the grass is to survive; warmth and moisture are key. Livestock needs to stay out of the area for up to 4/6 weeks to allow grass to establish.
There are different grass seed mixes out on the market so once we know the demands of the pasture, we will provide the right mix. You can over seed in the spring but the soil needs to be 70C or more so Autumn is considered optimal.
Fertiliser spreading (Spring/Autumn)
Fertiliser promotes growth to the leaf and roots. There are two types; fast acting or slow release. As its name suggests fast acting breaks down quickly and the plant will take it up and grow away. The slow release will break down and stay in the soil releasing its nutrients over a 3-6 month period. A soil analysis may be required, which we can arrange. Most horse paddocks do not need a lot of nitrogen so a non-nitrogen fertiliser can be applied that will still help the root structure.
Hedge cutting (late Autumn/Winter)
This is the best way of controlling hedgerow boundaries; you can start cutting hedgerows in September and carry on to the start of March. If you like to keep the berries for wildlife, hedges should be left uncut until February. We use a compact tractor with small flail hedge cutter that is lightweight so we can get on to the ground much earlier than bigger tractors. We also offer hedge cutting with hand held machines for areas you cannot get a tractor to. Formal hedgerows can be cut all year round.
Fencing (All year round)
We can offer all types of livestock fencing whether it is new or repair. Please contact us for a free quotation.
About Paul Moore
I started off in agriculture at the age of 18 and moved into grounds management 2 years later as a Groundsman at Fakenham Racecourse, eventually becoming Head Groundsman in 2009. As grounds staff we looked after the racetrack which held 10 race meetings a year along with a 120 pitch touring caravan site.
In 2011 I joined Newsells Park Stud in Royston, Hertfordshire, as the Estate Manager. Newsells Park Stud is a 1200 acre stud farm, of which 1000 acres is down to permanent pasture. This hands-on managers role encompassed preparing and maintaining pasture for top class thoroughbred broodmares, foals and yearlings, as well as management of American barns, wood chip paddocks, ménages, horse walkers and all-weather lunge rings. The paddocks range from a quarter of an acre to 35 acres with a variety of soil types.
I have a keen eye for detail and the ability to adapt to different challenges presented throughout the year. I look forward to applying my experience and knowledge to your situation and requirements.
NVQ level 2 in Groundsmanship
PA1, 2, 6a Spraying (Boom and Knapsack) certificates
Chainsaw cs30, 31 (Maintenance and Tree Felling)