Good paddock maintenance requires a little careful planning so that things that need to be done in the course of the year can be scheduled.
Spring is a good time of year to carry out a soil analysis. Soil fertility affects grass growth and this can check how healthy your soil is. Recommendations can be made to correct anything.
Harrowing in the spring - or the autumn - removes old grass (dead thatch) from your pasture and allows light and air into the pasture to develop new growth. It is often accompanied by rolling, which can both level and improve growth.
Topping (cutting or mowing) will help give a good durable grass sward. This is in itself the most effective barrier to weeds.
Fertilising, especially after topping can also be carried out at this time of year.
In the summer, a paddock may require further topping and fertilising again, if required.
Over-seeding can both repair grass and introduce more suitable grass mixes into a paddock. Good expertise and local knowledge (leading on from soil analysis) is important in choosing the seed.
Summer is also a good time to aerate the soil, especially if the grass and underlying soil has become compacted by either machinery or animals. This can not only help with improving the grass, but will also help with surface drainage issues.
Autumn is a time for topping, aerating, weed control and over-seeding as well.
In addition, autumn is the time of year for an application of lime - although little and often throughout the year can often prove to be the best. The soil analysis will determine whether this is an appropriate treatment.
Autumn is also a good time to start hedge trimming. There will be no effect on any nesting birds and the summer's growth can be cut back, leaving a tidy clean hedge. This in turn encourages growth and helps keep a hedge stockproof.
Winter can also be a good time for any hedge-trimming which has not been carried out in the autumn. It is at this time of year that any hedges which need to be laid in the traditional way are tackled. At first laid hedges look bare, but they soon green up the next spring.
This is a good time of year to carry out any ditching work, check on fences and plan the year ahead for the next cycle of pasture management.
Each stage in the process does not take long, but it is worth planning well to keep an attractive green sward of grass.