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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    21
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Tractor
    Kubota L3010HST

    Default How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    Hi All,
    I'm looking for some direction here. I need to reclaim an old field that has been unplowed for more than 30 years and begin a small orchard. Its about 4 acres, fairly flat, but overrun with weeds (80%) and brush to 1 1/2" (birch mostly). We had the use of an excavator about a year ago and removed all the really big stumps. Now the tough work needs to begin, but where do I start ? Should I use a rough cut mower and mow it down first then use scarifier to get up the roots ? I have a kubota L3010HST with a tooth bar on the FEL and tried to pluck out some of the brush with limited success. A farmer in the area sugested we use a 2 bottom plow to get the roots up but I'm not familiar with this so I figured I would ask around here before I invest in any more equipment. Right now I only have a subsoiler for ground digging attachments.
    Thanks,
    Gary

  2. #2
    Super Star Member Thomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    12,150
    Location
    Lebanon,NH.
    Tractor
    Kubota L2800HST w/Frontloader & CC LTX1046

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    Arounds theses parts they hire in a mid size dozer..in which will level also remove unwanted stones,brush,weeds etc.. than back drag,than if one has rake..harrows etc..they can put the finishing grade on.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    21
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Tractor
    Kubota L3010HST

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    Hi Thomas,
    I'm also in NH, Merrimack specifically. I had considered the dozer route, but was concerned about cost and loss of topsoil. Did you just use the dozer blade or use a ripper as well ?
    Thanks,
    Gary

  4. #4
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    23,189
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    Around here most of the orchards are grass with fruit trees. Do you need to take the entire thing down to soil level? Most fields, if you can get a brush hog through them, will turn to grasses if mown regularly. You might want to try that. A lot less work. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    6,737
    Tractor
    JD 8320 MFWD, JD 6415 MFWD, FEL, and cab, John Deere MFWD 4600, John Deere 4020, John Deere 4430, John Deere 455 mower, Deutz, and Gehl 4610 perkins skidsteer

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    What do you want to have the field as? Grass, crops, etc.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Carl_NH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    2,009
    Location
    Coastal NH
    Tractor
    01 Kubota B21TLB, 2010 Ferris 52" ZTR, Cub Cadet 1811, Gravely Super8

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    Gary,

    I would lean towards getting the scrub removed/mowed down then using a dozer with scarifiers to remove the roots. This will minimize the debris and have more topsoil retention rather than dozing all the debris in a big pile.

    Once this is done it appears you have the tools to fine rake and grade.

    You might also want to build a simple stone screener made of 2x4's and plywood with a piece of chain link fence. Essentially this is a three sided sloping structure 6' w x 6-7' h x 5' deep with the left and right sides plywood and 2x4 frame then the chain link attached to the top and back which slopes front to back. The front is open to access the screened materials.

    Good luck,

    Carl

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    125
    Location
    Denver foot hills
    Tractor
    MF 1215

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    I don't know what kind of summer you had but, if you escaped the drought, you migh consider cutting it with you rotary cutter and then have the local (volunteer) fire department come in and burn off the residue. This will kill off most off the weed seed and the small stumps will stick out like sore thumbs. I have had decent luck going after small stumps and roots by shortening the top link as much as possible and using my box blade. This lifts the graders off the ground and still lets the scarifiers do the work. I would stay away from dozers as they will really compact your soil and lower your yields.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member Thomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    12,150
    Location
    Lebanon,NH.
    Tractor
    Kubota L2800HST w/Frontloader & CC LTX1046

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    When the gentle reclaim his field he hire a D8,and the operator drop the blade about 4" or so than push the top soil in many piles,than respread the top soil also back drag..seem to work well.

    Also depending how dry & level the field you have,maybe a grader might do the job quicker also cheaper.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    918
    Location
    QC, Canada
    Tractor
    B7500HSD

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    How much time do you have?

    I'm doing the same thing on 2 acres. Just keeping it mowed below the reproduction height of the undesireable weeds has made a huge difference. Now I'm cleaning up the saplings by hooking them up to the tractor with a chain and yanking them out.

    But, if you're going to be planting an orchard, do you really need to do any tilling? Get a heavy-duty cutter and mow everything in site - eventually the stumps will rot.

  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Posts
    244
    Location
    Geneseo, New York
    Tractor
    John Deere 4300

    Default Re: How do I Reclaim a Field ?

    Hi Gary,

    Two years ago we started on a piece of land that was an old apple orchard. It was full of brush and weeds. There were a lot of wild rose bushes and some sort of bush that is similar to Russian Olive. Some of the rose bushes were three inches in caliper but most were less than an inch. The wild berry bushes added to the thorny problem.

    We bought a 4300 Deere and five foot bush hog and started to work. I cut everything I could and used the tractor or my 3/4 4x4 to pull out the big bushes. We can open burn brush in our area so we had some large scale burning days when the conditions were right.

    The thorns were a problem until I added leak sealer to the tires and that was a good solution. The roots that remained were attacked with an ancient home made tooth tool borrowed from a neighbor. It worked great to hook and pull out the roots without a lot of damage to the top soil. I really did not want to reseed the whole eight acres.

    Once the high weeds were cut down and most of the bushes removed, we just kept mowing the area. I was surprised this spring how well the old grasses have filled in. I have attached a picture of the area. It is no finished lawn but it keeps getting better all the time.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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