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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    67
    Location
    So. Oregon
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 HST 4WD

    Default too old to do it by hand

    My first post, so please be nice [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    My wife and I are getting too old and tired to do our property improvements with wheel-barrow, pick-axe, shovel, rake, bow-saw, and dr-trimmer-mower.

    Our house sits in the middle of 50 acres, most of which has slopes ranging from 5, 10, up to 30 percent.

    There was a forest fire here 30 years ago and the forest is slowly growing back. But much of the area is covered with manzanita brush, which is a very hard wood to cut.

    Summer water is scarce, so there is no lawn to keep up, but we do trim the "weeds" around our house and along our 1/2 mile gravel drive with the dr-trimmer-mower.

    We've been increasing the fire-break around the house with hand clearing.

    Oh, there is also poison-oak, to which we both are allergic, so we try to reduce it by hand-spraying Round-up.

    We are looking for an appropriate piece of equiment which would mechanize these tasks which we currently do by hand and on foot -- and which would help us maintain our gravel road, and help with other small digging and grading projects.

    We don't expect to clear the majority of the 50 acres, but we'd like to improve the logging roads in it and clear more fire-break around our house. We will ignore the really steep slopes, or work them by hand when necessary.

    The kubota BX24 has appeal and its $16K price-tag is in our comfort zone for price. Do you have other/better suggestions? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    647
    Location
    TX
    Tractor
    NH TC 40 A, AC 5020

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    sent you a pm.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member RedRocker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,115
    Location
    Lewisville & Montague County, TX
    Tractor
    Kioti CK30 HST, dual remotes, FEL.

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    I'm doing the same type of work with Poison Oak all over the place. For clearing brush and deadfall as well as road maint. I've had real good luck with my tractor. It's heavy and built like a tank.

  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    67
    Location
    So. Oregon
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 HST 4WD

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    A SCUT TBL would seem to handle everything but the manzanita clearing chores and the string trimmer mowing.

    For the manzanita clearing my concerns are stability and ground clearance on the uneven slopes -- and the ability to grub the manzanita and then move it into piles on flatter ground where it would be safe to burn.

    The TBL seems bass-ackwards for this. To my novice brain it seems like it would be easier if the hoe were on the front of the machine for grubbing and there were a grapple on the rear for transporting the brush.

    As for price, I can see going as high as $25K, if the equipment is more functional.

    The soil on our slopes is thin and the subsoil beneath is decomposed shale, which is very good for putting on our road, or for use as stable fill. As one digs deeper, the degree of decomposition of the shale becomes less and less until you get solid shale 3-6 feet down.

  5. #5
    Elite Member ToadHill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2,711
    Location
    Catt county New York
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35, Ford 8N, Oliver Cletrac

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    We don't have manzanita here but we do have honeysuckle. I use the FEL to dig at the roots and push it over. On the larger bushes after a couple passes at the roots I use a chain around the base and raise the loader to pull out the rest of the plant. I keep the logging roads clear with a FEL and a box blade.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,683
    Location
    Northeast MA
    Tractor
    Kubota B3200 with BH77 backhoe, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    There are companies that make strim trimmer type devices that can go on the rear 3pt hitch on a tractor. I can't recall who they are off the top of my head but maybe somebody else here might know - try doing a search thru TBN and you might find some older posts with the info.

    Having a grapple on the front bucket would be more useful than a grapple on the rear of the tractor - having it on the front means you can use the grapple to grab logs off the ground - pick up large piles of brush and hold it in the bucket, carry logs, etc. I am not really sure what sort of tractor implement would help with the manzanita clearning other than to use a chainsaw to bring the bush down, use a backhoe to dig up the stump and then a grapple to carry away the remains.

    I have BX23 which is very similar in capacity to the new BX24 and I think you might be better going with something just a little bigger like B7610 which has slighty higher lift ratings on the FEL, has higher ground clearance, more capacity on the 3pt, etc. If you wanted to stretch the budget try looking at a B3030 - the backhoe is the piece that will bring the price up. It adds approx $4500 to the price of a BX24 over a BX2350 and it is probably $5000 - 5500 of the cost if you get a B7610 or B3030 with a hoe.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    67
    Location
    So. Oregon
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400 HST 4WD

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I've removed a lot of manzanita by hand by cutting off the leafy top, cutting the surface roots with a grubbing mattock, and then wrestling with a 2-3 foot tall trunk to pull it loose. (The manzanita is only 2-3 inches in diameter, but contains 20-30 years of dense growth rings. Even professional tree services don't like to run this through their chippers.)

    I'm guessing that any kind of mechanical grubbing tool attached to the front or rear hydraulics could easily dislodge a whole plant without having to cut off the top. Then you have to move the processed plants out of the way so you can keep working. (Manzanita grows in fairly dense patches on my land.) And transport to flat ground for safe burning. I'd like a machine so I don't have to do this by hand any more. Dragging brush by hand on 5-10% slopes gets very hard on the shoulder sockets. And hand grubbing is very tiring.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    882
    Location
    Northwest CT
    Tractor
    Kubota L5030HST

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    Hi Miles, welcome to TBN!

    <font color="blue"> My first post, so please be nice </font>

    Don't worry, we're always nice to first-time posters - only after your 25th post, when you are no longer a "new member", do we allow our childhood frustrations to regain control of us, at which point we will start ridiculing and attacking you. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

    Hey - for 25K, you can get a heck of a lot of machine. I LOVE grapples, and getting the biggest machine you can afford, provided it's not too big for your "needs". For uneven terrain like yours, I like the widest, longest-wheelbase machine possible, given the financial constraints.

    For 25K you could get a nice, gently-used kubota L3830 with a Bradco brush grapple on the front. You could always get a backhoe for it later, so it won't really seem like you're going over your 25K spending limit. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    The backhoe would give you some nice counterweight, but would also restrict your mobility as little (center of gravity and ground clearance). Life is full of trade-offs, for sure.

    If you go with a machine like the BX23, here's a good link to a grapple that goes on the front bucket: Grapple For BX23

    If you're leaning toward a bigger machine, here are some other threads that might be of interest:

    To Grapple or Not to Grapple
    Remotes for top and tilt?
    5030 "skidder" pics - the tree-bota in action
    grapple uses and companies

    And one of the most interesting and informative threads I've ever seen on tractor selection (for a situation quite similar to yours):

    "Down to Orange", and the related "Any Final Thoughts".

    Sorry I didn't "hot link" these threads, I'm a little short on time. Most if not all of them are in "Kubota Owning and Operating", and you can find them pretty easily using the "search" function, or by scrolling through the topics in that forum.

    Good luck, and again, welcome,

    John

  9. #9
    Silver Member AutoUnionTypeC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    164
    Location
    Upstate N.Y.
    Tractor
    CK20

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    I'm trying to get a handle on just what this bush/tree looks like. Some images have it more like a bush and others more like a tree. I've cleared a ton of multiflora rose off my own property, by hand prior to my tractor purchase. I can't tell you what a joy it was to attack these monsters with the bucket. One thing that's incredibly helpful with this type of work is R4 tires. Firstly they're wide, with a squared off contact patch so they provide a very stable operating platform and they also offer a much greater resistance to puncture. So you get be just about as aggressive as you want to be without any fear for your tires.

    Regards, Jamie


  10. #10
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,683
    Location
    Northeast MA
    Tractor
    Kubota B3200 with BH77 backhoe, Kubota B50 SSQA w/ 54" & 60" buckets, LandPride FDR1660

    Default Re: too old to do it by hand

    If you are able to get the manzanita out of the ground by hand by grabbing a 2-3ft piece of trunk and pulling it out then a tractor is going to make your life a whole lot easier. Even something like a BX24 would have more than enough oomph to enable you to wrap a chain or towstrap around the bush somewhere along the trunk and then just yank the thing out of the ground. Having a grapple on the front bucket would let you then just grab the bush whole (depending on how big it is) and drag it to a burn pile. By yanking them out of the ground and carrying the bush whole with a grapple you might be amazed how many you would clear out vs. how much you are able to do by the hand method you are using now.

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