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  1. #1
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    Default Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    I'm interested in learning about attachments for controlling thick woody brush and small trees using only a ~30HP compact tractor. I have 23 acres of heavily overgrown central Texas land that I want to clear to some degree using my kubota L3400.

    My place is a mixture of open formerly cultivated areas (about 7 acres) that are infested with small mesquite and an older woodlot (about 15 acres) with large post oaks that has very thick small yaupon and cedar elm undergrowth. I had some of this stuff cleared by a hired dozer operator (mostly to clear roads and create access around my property) but theres still a huge amount of thick undergrowth that needs to be thinned. I can't hire a dozer for less than $100/hr these days and renting one is going to cost me at least $1000/week plus delivery and fuel. Obviously, I'm not wealthy enough to own my own dozer. I really want to find a way to do this to some degree using my own small tractor, even if it ends up being less efficient since invariably anyone I hire to do it will either do it wrong or do it too slowly.. and I don't really know that renting a dozer would be something I should do if I can do what I want with my own implements.

    I know I can keep the mesquite in the more open areas at bay by shredding and spraying with herbicide, but the yaupon and cedar elm are too thick/tall for a shredder and I do not want to risk hurting my beautiful old post oaks by spraying herbicide so close to them. I need some way of getting all that nasty woody brush out of there using only my Kubota L3400.

    What about brush grubber tongs like one sold by BrushGrubber | Home ? How well do these actually work for pulling trees out by the roots?

    Something like the Dougherty tractor saw ( Tree Removal - Skid Steer Tree Saw - Tractor Saw- Turbo Saw Tree Cutter ) might be overkill, especially since the **** thing costs over $5000, but it at least gives me the ability to use a compact tractor to quickly take down trees up to 10" with relative ease and would put me right up there with a dozer in terms of efficiency in clearing. Would something like this be worth it?

    What about skid-steer type tree shears? Ive got a skid steer quick attach adapter on my loader and I could easily get a set of remote hydraulics installed.

    What other options do I have for controlling thick woody brush with only a compact tractor?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    With 30 horsepower you are very limited. I would recommend paying someone that has a skid steer with a mulching head. Cost you about 2-300 per hour if it is like it is around here. They are faster then a dozer too if it is small growth. The problme is that a 30 HP tractor can not pull anything that will work on trees much larger then say about 4-6 inches. And that would only be a pine tree, nothing hardwood. Now you could get yourself a back hoe. About 5-$6000 would get you in one of them. And about another 1-$2000 in repairs later as they are not designed for that kind of work. 23 acres is a lot of land to clear. Even with something like a JD 750 or Cat D6 that is going to be a weeklong job for an skilled operator. The good thing about the mulch head is you wont get the destruction of you good trees that you will with the dozer. Plus the mulch and the fact that it gets everrthing under the grpund about 4 inches depending on the machine. Look at it this way

    40 Hours dozer for a week @ 125.00 per hour $5,000
    40 hours mulch head and skid steer @ 250 per hour $10,000

    Backhoe attahcement for tractor $5,500
    Tractor and backhoe destroyed because a tree came up the wrong way and fell on it $15-$20,000

    Plus the lost time from work. You just cant offset the cost of getting the right machine for the job.
    I would very seriously consider hiring someone me personally. If it were say an acre or two mmmm maybe i would try it. But not 23.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    By the way if you could get a mulch head to work on the tractor they are about $25,000 - $35,000. The way so much and need about 25-30 GPM hydraulic systems that only a few Skid Steers are capable of handling. So they would be out of the question unles you were going into that business

  4. #4
    Gold Member cbturf's Avatar
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    Nashville, TN
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    Fecon FTX-140, Fecon FTX 148-L

    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    The turbo saw is awesome. I am a mulcher and I almost bought one for a job that would not allow my mulcher to be used. If you are clearing invasive species like mesquite don't forget that you will also have to chemically treat the stump or grub it out or it will regrow quickly and be thicker than before. If you want to use your tractor I would use the turbo saw to get a smooth cut and then use a 50-50 mix of roundup and deisel to kill the roots. Or better yet hire me and I will have it all mulched up in a few days!
    I'm the ugly guy with the hot wife!
    Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    I will absolutely never hire out for dirt/dozer work again. I have used three different guys and so far none of them did exactly what I wanted to and they always had all kinds of lame excuses why they had to do things differently or they couldn't burn the burnpile like I asked or they took longer to do a job, etc. I have never been satisfied with any dozer operator's work and I'd rather rent a dozer and do it myself, even if it means taking longer since Im inexperienced since apparently I am the only one capable of grasping what I want to do (and no Im not overly picky here... the operators I hired were mostly just lazy).

    Theres no way in **** I'm going to pay anyone $5k for only 40 hours of work. ****, I know surgeons who don't even make that kind of money. Thats absolutely nuts. I would prefer to do as much work as I can with my 30HP tractor and what work I can't do, I'll rent a dozer and do the rest myself.

    The question is, what exactly CAN I do with my small tractor and what exactly do I need to have to get it done?

  6. #6
    Veteran Member mikim's Avatar
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    Paige Texas
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    NH TC45

    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    backhoe ---- it'll dig up that yaupon knot and keep it from coming back -- it's faster than you think -- might help with that mesquite too...and ...there are just so many things it can do besides. If you had a grapple on the front --- that would also help in hauling it to the burn pile.
    Mike


  7. #7
    Gold Member cbturf's Avatar
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    Fecon FTX-140, Fecon FTX 148-L

    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    You just do not understand the value of clearing your land with a mulcher! I have put over 12k miles on my truck in two months because I have gotten so busy. I am adding two new machines to my lineup because I can not keep up with the people who understand the value of what I do and are waiting in line to pay me $12k per week to clear land.....Good luck Amigo.
    I'm the ugly guy with the hot wife!
    Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Chicago suburban
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    Kubota 2710

    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by perdurabo View Post
    I will absolutely never hire out for dirt/dozer work again.
    I hear you. Your other option is renting something if you live near civilization. I rented a large backhoe when I put in my addition. Cost about $250 a day as I recall, made short work of digging foundation.
    Mark Leininger

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by perdurabo View Post
    I will absolutely never hire out for dirt/dozer work again. I have used three different guys and so far none of them did exactly what I wanted to and they always had all kinds of lame excuses why they had to do things differently or they couldn't burn the burnpile like I asked or they took longer to do a job, etc. I have never been satisfied with any dozer operator's work and I'd rather rent a dozer and do it myself, even if it means taking longer since Im inexperienced since apparently I am the only one capable of grasping what I want to do (and no Im not overly picky here... the operators I hired were mostly just lazy).

    Theres no way in **** I'm going to pay anyone $5k for only 40 hours of work. ****, I know surgeons who don't even make that kind of money. Thats absolutely nuts. I would prefer to do as much work as I can with my 30HP tractor and what work I can't do, I'll rent a dozer and do the rest myself.

    The question is, what exactly CAN I do with my small tractor and what exactly do I need to have to get it done?

    Reading your post makes me feel even more blessed. I recently had some dozer work done and the guy did nearly exactly what I asked him to do. In a couple areas he deviated, but that resulted in less work for me and more productivity from him. Basically, he did what I wanted and not what I told him. It would sure suck to have the bad experience you had.

    I have a 34 hp tractor and a medium duty (1100 pound) 5' brush cutter. It could only really deal with 2" hardwood or 3" soft wood. From my personal experience, you can't do jack squat productively with a 30hp tractor for clearing land with 4" and larger trees. Sure, you can do it, but it would be a full time job, would take years and destroy the machine.

    I would talk to "cbturf" and determine when he is traveling from TN to NM and see if he can zip down and do the work for you. I don't know him, but from his posts he seems like a decent sort. I think there are some other mulchers that post here that are from TX. Post up in the "construction" forum and see what response you get.

    Other than that, maybe you can find a place to rent you a mulcher and a CTL?

    Do you really know surgeons that get less than $5000 a week - before paying for the building, equipment, support staff, license, insurance, utilities, etc? Cuz that's the better example when comparing a mulcher that has $100,000 to $250,000 in equipment that will drink 200 to 1000 gal of diesel in 40 hours.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Mechanical Brush Clearing Attachments for Compact Tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by john_bud View Post
    Reading your post makes me feel even more blessed. I recently had some dozer work done and the guy did nearly exactly what I asked him to do. In a couple areas he deviated, but that resulted in less work for me and more productivity from him. Basically, he did what I wanted and not what I told him. It would sure suck to have the bad experience you had.

    I have a 34 hp tractor and a medium duty (1100 pound) 5' brush cutter. It could only really deal with 2" hardwood or 3" soft wood. From my personal experience, you can't do jack squat productively with a 30hp tractor for clearing land with 4" and larger trees. Sure, you can do it, but it would be a full time job, would take years and destroy the machine.

    I would talk to "cbturf" and determine when he is traveling from TN to NM and see if he can zip down and do the work for you. I don't know him, but from his posts he seems like a decent sort. I think there are some other mulchers that post here that are from TX. Post up in the "construction" forum and see what response you get.

    Other than that, maybe you can find a place to rent you a mulcher and a CTL?

    Do you really know surgeons that get less than $5000 a week - before paying for the building, equipment, support staff, license, insurance, utilities, etc? Cuz that's the better example when comparing a mulcher that has $100,000 to $250,000 in equipment that will drink 200 to 1000 gal of diesel in 40 hours.
    LOL I just love the end of your response. Truer words have never been spoken. I guess most people dont realalize exactly how much it cost to run and maintain these kind of machines huh.

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