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I am absolutely aghast at what modern ranching practices have done to my land. Long story made short, my land has been leased for cattle for over a decade, no, I didn't get a say in it. Everybody that has leased it has sprayed it. I've been telling them not to for a long time. Even after I got possession of it this year and told them not to spray......they thought they could do it on the sly and I wouldn't notice. They wouldn't dream of mowing, but love to spray. I do not understand this way of thinking. Rant over(well mostly anyhow).

So I now have land that used to have an amazing variety of native species....practically nature's grocery store...that is now coastal grass, goat weeds and thorn bushes. That's it. Not even any fall flowers for my bees. I have never had to feed bees in the fall before....not in over 20 years.

So my quandry is....how do I begin to restore it? Can it be restored? I bought a bunch of clover seed and will be planting it this week, but how do I restore the biodiversity?!! This is an enormous project. I don't want to let the meadows grow up into brush, which I know will require mowing at least annually.

I have no knowledge of these herbicidal sprays. No idea what has been used. No idea if anything will be able to grow in the soil that is a broad leaf plant. :help:
 

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I am absolutely aghast at what modern ranching practices have done to my land. Long story made short, my land has been leased for cattle for over a decade, no, I didn't get a say in it. Everybody that has leased it has sprayed it. I've been telling them not to for a long time. Even after I got possession of it this year and told them not to spray......they thought they could do it on the sly and I wouldn't notice. They wouldn't dream of mowing, but love to spray. I do not understand this way of thinking. Rant over(well mostly anyhow).

So I now have land that used to have an amazing variety of native species....practically nature's grocery store...that is now coastal grass, goat weeds and thorn bushes. That's it. Not even any fall flowers for my bees. I have never had to feed bees in the fall before....not in over 20 years.

So my quandry is....how do I begin to restore it? Can it be restored? I bought a bunch of clover seed and will be planting it this week, but how do I restore the biodiversity?!! This is an enormous project. I don't want to let the meadows grow up into brush, which I know will require mowing at least annually.

I have no knowledge of these herbicidal sprays. No idea what has been used. No idea if anything will be able to grow in the soil that is a broad leaf plant. :help:
Persistent herbicide is effective for at least 3 years. If other weaker stuff is used you might be able to get some results by starting to sow what ever you want this season.
 

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Best start would be to look into permaculture that Mark Shepard is doing to give you and idea - it might not be suited exactly to your area but the idea of starting with plants that grow naturally in your area plus arranging them to balance nutrients is a good one.
 

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It will be a long term project. I'd start by looking for any local nurseries or plant sellers that specialize in native plants and grasses and ask their advice. They may have native seed mixes specifically designed for what you want to do. Check with your local or state dept of natural resources. They may have knowledge or contacts for people or groups that do restoration work. You may be able to access or even leverage their knowledge and connections. Is there a local college with any kind of program in wildlife ecology? Students can be great free labor in exchange for real work experience in habitat restoration. Just don't expect it to be easy or quick and start with manageable chunks. Success breeds success.
 

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Some broadleaf herbicides can have an effect for 3 years. Tordon, Grazeon, Milestone, etc.

Most of the cheaper ones are seasonal, will wear down in a week to 3 months. Typically based on 2,4-D.

You likely have a seed bank of the weeds you want to regrow in the soil, so let nature take its course. The stuff you want will reseed in a year or two with the weaker chemicals.

I presume you are no longer renting out the pasture if you want it a native vegetation. Those are sort of opposite goals, you seem to have put your renter in a bad position, collecting money from him but not really allowing him to use the property. But I'm assuming a lot, I'm sure there is more to the story and that is fine. It was not right of them to spray against your wishes, but not right of you to rent something out and then not really let them use it.....

Paul
 

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I had nothing to do with it being leased. Everything has been tied up in an estate. I did not receive control until after it had been leased for this year. Since I know they would like to continue to lease I mistakenly thought that they would try to at least get along with me.

I am setting up a large apiary and broad spraying is detrimental to my bees and their forage. I explained this to no avail.
 

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Some broadleaf herbicides can have an effect for 3 years. Tordon, Grazeon, Milestone, etc.

Most of the cheaper ones are seasonal, will wear down in a week to 3 months. Typically based on 2,4-D.

You likely have a seed bank of the weeds you want to regrow in the soil, so let nature take its course. The stuff you want will reseed in a year or two with the weaker chemicals.

I presume you are no longer renting out the pasture if you want it a native vegetation. Those are sort of opposite goals, you seem to have put your renter in a bad position, collecting money from him but not really allowing him to use the property. But I'm assuming a lot, I'm sure there is more to the story and that is fine. It was not right of them to spray against your wishes, but not right of you to rent something out and then not really let them use it.....

Paul
If the conditions of the rental were laid out ahead of time the renter could have chosen not to rent. If they sprayed in express violation of the rental agreement they were in the wrong. Just as in any rental agreement the landlord could go after damages but is question if it was worth it in this case.
 

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I take it that after this lease runs out.....

it will NOT be renewed? If so, I'll be betting

that they will be complaining down at the local whine and dine

about that crazy bee lady.......
 
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ROFL.....I'm sure I have been a hot topic at the local whine and dine for quite some time now.

There is no written lease. I had nothing to do with it or I assure you there would be a written lease.

How about some ideas and suggestions rather than looking for a reason to beat me up for something that isn't my fault?
 

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Here is a real crazy idea! Ask what was sprayed. Research what was sprayed. Then leave it to nature. It will come back. It may take several years, but believe me when I say, nature takes it back in time. I have land that was grain land, and you would think now, 10 years later, it was natural young forest, forbs, weeds, natural grass included.

A spray is not a spray, is not a spray. They are all different. And when you do research what was used, consult ag research papers, farm articles, etc., not mother earth new, or organic daily. You do not need to be scared further, and un-necessarily...
 

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Have you tested your well water? That would be my primary concern at this point.

Great post, farmerDale! That is exactly what I'd do, let nature takes its course.
 

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What grows in the area? Along the roadsides, in the woods? This is what will try to grow on your land. Wild seed lasts far longer than modern seed. If you till the soil you may bring up exactly what you are looking for.
 

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If you are going to restore you land with the main interest
for bees, then I would consider the best plant for the best
honey production. Not being familiar what grows best in
your area for bee plants, I'm thinking something like clovers
or orchard type heavy flowering trees and bushes.
My land, for example has big old pasture areas of goldenrod
that bees utilize for fall honey. I easily frost seeded red and
white clover in past years do well and do on.
No, I don't keep bees at present, but even wild bees make
Good use if natural restoration with some help reseeding
plants you want for them.
 

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ROFL.....I'm sure I have been a hot topic at the local whine and dine for quite some time now.

There is no written lease. I had nothing to do with it or I assure you there would be a written lease.

How about some ideas and suggestions rather than looking for a reason to beat me up for something that isn't my fault?
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I'm entirely on YOUR side in this matter.

Just giving out the very likely and possible scenario
that goes on around most small town gossip stations.

Not much you can do about it either. Tongues will wag regardless.

Let's see if I've got a handle on the actual situation. This property has
been in the family for some time now. There is no written lease, but the
prior landlord/owner had a verbal agreement with the present tenant to
use the property as grazing land. You 'may' have had some input as to
asking/telling the tenant NOT to spray, but because you weren't the real
owner, it didn't exactly cut the mustard. Now that you've inherited it,
you are still under terms of the 'verbal' lease/agreement and they still
don't feel the need to advise you whether they are going to spray or not.

Terms to agreements tend to change with time and perhaps it's time to
review those now. Since you don't have a written lease and if you do plan
on keeping the rental option open and functioning, then it's time to sit down
and draw one up that you BOTH can live with. Otherwise, it's time
to draw the relationship to an end and hopefully part on amicable terms.

But if that happens, they will have THEIR story on why it ended and of
course, you'll have yours. Not saying that either is wrong, but sometimes
people'[s feeling get hurt when things don't do their way. Are they paying
enough 'rent' to at least pay the taxes? Are they paying anything at all?

You'll just have to do what ever works best for you and your situation.

And regarding bee forage; plant an assortment that come along throughout the growing season,
so that the bees can have a continuous source of nectar. When the tallow quits, then the clover
starts up and eventually the fall flowers like astors and goldenrod kick in as well. Up north here,
we used to have large areas of marshlands covered in purple loosestrife, as well as a steady favorite
known as spotted knapweed; aka 'star thistle'......both are "foreign invaders" and the state and USDA
have spent a fortune in taxpayers money to develop natural pests that have wiped out these once reliable
bee forage species......they used to pay the bills, now our bees literally starve through the drought of summer.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
I'd like to restore it for bees, wild life and I wouldn't mind cattle continuing to graze on it. It used to be wonderful grazing land and wildlife habitat....which coincidentally meant that it was great for bees too. Why does man want to make mono-cultures out of everything!

This really used to be an incredible piece of property. The only native species that have survived are the trees. At least they didn't kill those.

I hesitate to do much ground breaking as the moment the ground is broken blackberry briers appear. Of course I will have to disc lightly to plant clover or anything else. Maybe I should try that on a small area and see how it goes.

I would ask about what kind of spray was used, but I was lied to about the spraying in the first place. I doubt I'd get an honest answer.
 

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Soil is a living thing until we start screwing with mother nature. Make a list of the native species that used to grow there. It's obvious you understand progression. Will the native species be enough to provide for your bees or do you need to look into cover crops that are managed to provide forage year round? Normally each species likes a certain soil, exposure, etc. They also prefer a specific soil ecology.

AcresUSA is a monthly magazine that would probably be regarded as extreme fringe by conventional farmers. The magazine will open, maybe, a new world of potential contacts.There's a professor at WVU that has run a fungi lab for decades for use in improving crop production. It works.

I wish I lived nearby, I've been interested in a remediation/reclamation project for a long time. There are ways to grow soil.
 

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To the point:

If there is no written lease - you have nothing. Verbal doesn't count in Real Estate.

Give them a written letter - mailed, have them sign for the letter - giving them enough time to move their cows. That's it! Done!

Be nice but firm. You can state that one reason was that you specifically asked them not to spray and they did.

Of course, you'll be the talk of the town for a while until something else comes up that they can gossip about.

The co-op agent offered to come out to my property, & walked the land with me. I sure learned a lot. Maybe they'll do that for you.

Want seeds? Harvest from the sides of the roadway.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Want seeds? Harvest from the sides of the roadway.
Now that's a thought! I'll do a bit of research on how to harvest fall flower seeds.

I'm not concerned with what folks say about me. Never have been. Not concerned with the lease or lack of one. The damage is done. I'm just trying to figure out how to fix it.

Seems like I read about putting grass or clover seeds into feed that was fed to cows or maybe sheep and the pasture was reseeded through the manure. Anyone tried something like that?

Unfortunately the ag agents in this area mostly have info on spraying. :hammer: There are some small reimbursement programs for planting clover but that's about it. I already checked on that.
 
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