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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    56
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default Brush Removal Strategy

    Hi Gang!

    I have a meadow of about four acres surrounded by wooded wetlands, some of which is edged with thorny bushes I would like to eliminate. I'm fairly certain this is some sort of invasive alien plant, possibly multiflora rose. I want to get rid of this and replace it with native bushes, trees, wildflowers and grasses that provide food for us as well as food and cover for turkey and birds and nectar for bees and butterflies. Also, there are a lot of vines growing all over the trees at the edge of the woods that I will be snipping. I'm considering several ways to do this, each of which involves purchasing equipment that will find other uses down the road. So which method is best and what should I buy? Burning isn't allowed here.

    I've cut some of it with a small chainsaw, but the lighter stuff and vines grab at the saw and crawling around and under the thorny bushes isn't ideal.

    One thought is to buy a handheld brush cutter, similar to a string weed trimmer but with a rotary blade and bicycle-like handlebars. Echo, Stihl and others make them, though they are not readily available at the big box stores, possibly because you could cut your shin in half with one.

    Once everything is cut down, I could let it rot down or, preferably, grind it up in a chipper/shredder and either blow it in a shallow pit or hot-compost it to kill the seeds. I would need to get a chipper/shredder or chipper, which would be useful to have.

    Another thought is a field and brush mower such as that sold by DR. They have a tow-behind version that should work well on our John deere 1 Series subcompact tractor or on our Yamaha Rhino ATV. It has its own gas engine. DR claims its mower will chop and mulch the material. I could use such a device for blazing and maintaining a trail we're building through 40 acres of woods.

    Similarly, John Deere has a flail mower. I have not priced it but am guessing it's the most expensive option. I believe it's a three-point hitch setup. Either the flail mower or the brush mower could be later employed to mow nearly two acres of wildflowers we are planting in the meadow.

    Another thought is to scoop the bushes up with my little backhoe, though I'm not sure it has the guts to scoop up one of these bushes, some of which have strong, deep root structures.

    Equipment I already have: backhoe, front loader, box blade, tiller, chainsaw, chains (for yanking), Roundup.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member amigauser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,033
    Location
    Unionville, Connecticut USA
    Tractor
    Kubota Grand L 3240HST

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    Depending on the quantity a walk behind brush mower like the DR you referenced or a brush hog for your tractor would seem to make the most sense. The brush hogs basically splinter the stumps and depending on the plant species can prevent regrowth. Just cutting them off with a brush cutter leaves a smooth stump that likely will grow back unless you treat the stump with a sprayed on brush killer.
    Kubota Grand L3240HST, LA724 FEL with QA, 72" QA bucket, Turf Tires, QA snow plow, QA Loader Buddy, Bradco Pallet Forks, Leinbach 72" pine straw rake, GroundWorks brush forks and Kubota L series ballast box.
    ---------------------------
    Stihl stuff

  3. #3
    Elite Member rekees4300's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    2,796
    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    JD4300 HST 4WD

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    A Ratchet Rake is ideal for removing thorny bushes and vines. There have been several threads at TBN discussing it and many posts recommending it. Let your tractor do the work.

    Ratchet Rake, LLC - Rip and Dig, All Terrain Rake, Snow Edge, Tractor attachment, Bucket attachment, Loader, Skid loader, kubota, Skid steer, Landscape rake, Brush remover, York Rake, Harley Rake, Rock Rake, Tractor rake attachment, Construction atta
    Last edited by rekees4300; 04-07-2013 at 11:28 AM.

  4. #4
    Gold Member Recoveryhill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    338
    Location
    St. Croix, Virgin Islands
    Tractor
    Kubota L3700SU

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    Greetings Bush Man in NJ:

    I'm the master of jungle clearance in the Islands. Your problems pale compared to those in the tropics. For starters, I assume your ground is somewhat level. You already have an advantage there.

    Some areas can be mastered with a bush hog, a rough cut rotary mower. If you make continued passes over even determined trash trees and vines, eventually the root system gives it up. In my case, I need to remove trash trees on sharp slopes. To do this I have a four inch diameter poly rope 30 feet in length, a 3/8 chain with grab hooks 20 feet long and....

    BrushGrubber | Home

    I use the biggest trunk grabber they make due to the fact that I need to jerk TanTan trees with diameters approaching 6". The company offers a range of root pullers for problems small to large. Included are brush chain grabbers for the smaller clumped stuff.

    If repeated, bush hog work will kill the offending trash vegetation, that's the easiest route. If you have specimens that are too large to cut with a mower, or on a slope or too near the water or marsh, jerk them out by the roots with an appropriately sized brush grubber at the end of a chain or pull rope. Your FEL bucket will be useful in uprooting vines and pushing them into a movable pile.

    Poison sprays were introduced for large scale crop weed problems and are now being marketed for everything including Dandelion in your Kentucky Blue Grass. Avoid them if you can. The latest and greatest are increasingly implicated in mass killing of honey bee populations. (Hard hat donned for expected response from solve all problems from the better living through chemistry faction) Look up neonicotinoids and coumaphos. These are pesticides but also take a look at Monsanto's Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine), a herbicide for evaluation of risk. Monsanto conveniently also genetically modifies food crops to be safe from Glyphosate killing.

    You are gifted with a piece of land and you want to improve it. Kudos to you. There is no better solution than sweat labor and elbow grease. You and your JD should be up to the task!

  5. #5
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    491
    Location
    Thornville, Ohio
    Tractor
    No longer Searching. Mahindra 3016 Shuttle

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    1026R owner,

    Is your property fenced? If so, goats are the solution, especially if you have mutaflora rose. Bush hogging it cuts it down, but it is back in no time. Goats prefer the new growth and will keep eating it until it is gone for good. All the mechanical and chemical choices are not long term, goats are. They will clean and clear all of your property better and far cheaper and keep it clear.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    1,081
    Location
    Ma
    Tractor
    Kubota b2920

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    You're describing similar to what I have on the edge of a lake. Thorns, vines, brush. I use a handheld cutter with a rotating blade that looks like a circular saw. I start up high and then move down towards the ground basically cutting it into small bits as I go. The result is pretty good as its mulched in place. It does grow back, so I cut every couple of years. One thing to be aware of is that lots of surprises can hide in that type of terrain, including big rocks, holes and stumps. I found plenty of all and would have had a seriout issue if I were using the tractor.

    You didn't describe the terrain, that factors in. If its flat then a tractor could get at it, if its steep or wet then on foot would be better. Tractor implements you could consider would be a sickle mower or brush hog, I think you'd get very tired with a BH and would be better with a FEL or ratchet rake to uproot the smaller stuff.

    When i cleared a section I cut it by hand then used the FEL to pop out small stumps. You could also do roundup, then cut it down and replant without having to dig up anything...

  7. #7
    Elite Member newbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    4,071
    Location
    From Vt, in Va, retiring to MS
    Tractor
    Kubota's - B7610, M4700

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    Almost everybody can use an inexpensive set of pallet forks.
    I found the clamp on pallet forks worked well for tearing brush and vines out.

    Brush Removal Strategy-8x6sam_0810.jpg

    As you can see to the sides of the tractor there were thick vines and brush.

    Brush Removal Strategy-8x6-4700-w-bgrnd.jpg

    Push in, rip up

    Brush Removal Strategy-8x6-brushpile1.jpg

    pile

    My M4700 was able to rip up vines about 2" in diameter. Before I got the pallet forks I had only planned on using them to pile the stuff. I was pleasantly surprised how well they worked ripping the stuff out of the ground.

    /edit
    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/k...ml#post3213749
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Brush Removal Strategy-8x6sam_0812.jpg  
    My rides - '95 Kubota M4700 w/ PEC, LA1001 FEL :'07 B7610, LA352 FEL, Bush Hog SBX 48 box blade, '09 Woods BH70-X w/ 16" bucket and thumb, 3pt pallet forks, Dale Phillips PHD, Jinma 8" chipper, Winco 12KW PTO generator, Howse plow, 5' KK tiller with a 2002 7.3L Ford F350 CC DRW 4x4 and '07 18' Hudson HSE Deluxe trailer - 5 Ton to haul it all

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    56
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    Great stuff here! Thanks! Also looked at the "Similar Threads" that popped up.

    The terrain is relatively flat, essentially a yard going to the edge of wooded wetlands. It can be very soft at times. Some of this stuff is pretty thick. I was working on it with the chainsaw, but it would hang up a lot. And I want to avoid yanking stumps with the tractor. Shortly before we bought this farm a couple of years ago, a friend of ours was killed trying to pull a stump out with a vintage tractor, his wife standing there watching it all. So before we bought our tractor I had to promise to never try to yank a stump. And I would prefer to avoid spraying or at least minimize it.

    There are at least a couple of varieties of thorny bushes. Some are the size of a Ford Escape and have thick trunks with red berries sort of like holly berries. Others are smaller. And there are what I'm guessing are wild raspberries -- red shoots covered with thorns. I plan to cut small, undesirable trees down with a chain saw but leave others and work around them. I had been figuring on swinging a saw around as tractchores was describing then stuffing it all in a shredder/chipper, but it's nasty stuff to handle. Driving the tractor and munching it in place for mulch sounds like a better way to spend the day. Loving that ratchet rake! Hadn't seen that before. I do have a set of pallet forks, which I'm using far more than ever imagined (everything goes on pallets, now, dear!), but hadn't thought of them for landscaping duties.

    And I suppose this stuff will come back, won't it?

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    751
    Location
    Covington, GA
    Tractor
    JD 870

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    There is a an attachment point for pulling stuff. I think they call it a drawbar in my JD manual. You pull from a higher point and you significantly increase your risk of flipping the tractor. That roll over bar works better if it is up and locked and if you are wearing your seat belt so you do not get tossed and crushed. That seat belt also keeps you in your place if you run in a stump hole or over a rock you did not see. I define a stump as what is left after I cut down a tree, not roots from brush. Heck they make root grubbers. Tractor Front End Loader Buckets Stump Bucket | Quality Welding Service

    RecoveryHill mentioned a key point. You mow the stuff down and you keep it mowed down the roots may very well die off after a few years. If not you grub out the roots anyway you like.

    Chunky tire sealant is your friend. At least for the front tires if you are running 3 rib tires. I am constantly puncturing tubes but the sealant seals up the holes. It saves me an hour of not having to remove the tube and patch.

    I have used my trust or not so trusty Stihl with a brush cutter blade. It works well. I got some carbide blades that I have not used yet as the plain steel hand file blades seem to dull quickly.

    I just drive my tractor into brush like you are describing with my blade low to the ground. It pushes stuff over and what it does not push over it has pushed out of the way enough that I can get in with a chainsaw, loppers, brush cutter or other weapon of choice.

  10. #10
    Elite Member jerrybob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    4,120
    Location
    Southwest Washington
    Tractor
    yanmar 186D....JD LT180....DR Brush Cutter

    Default Re: Brush Removal Strategy

    I bought a used DR brush cutter a few years back.....great machine and will do the job for you. New ones are pricey so another alternative is buy a Piranha Tooth Bar. I bought one of these a few months back for digging but was really impressed with it's ability to clear blackberry bushes. Great product! See below.....
    BXpanded Piranha Tooth Bar
    I Intend to Live Forever.....So Far....So Good!

    My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
    Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.

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