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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    42
    Location
    Michigan
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35

    Default Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    Hey everyone. I've got spring fever and am already planning out my spring and summer projects. I am planning to put in some new trails on my hunting property to ride my four wheeler on. My property is all wooded and the areas I want to put trails in consists of saplings ranging from 2 to 8 inches in diameter. Since I plan on putting in quite a few trails hand cutting these bigger saplings is outta the question. I have a kioti dk35 and a kioti dk55. Would I be able to take out these bigger saplings with the dk55? Or am I better off renting a dozer? I have thought of buying a dozer and I'm thinking this may be a good excuse for a new toy. I was looking at a komatsu d21. Would this push down this size brush and saplings? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member pjbci's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    712
    Location
    Summit. Ms
    Tractor
    JD 4840, 450j, 310, komatsu D31px22, IH 1486, MF 135, MHF TO35

    Default

    The d21 will do what you want but you will have to spend a few minutes of time digging around the base of the 6-8 inch trees. Its not going to just push em right over without breaking roots first. If you have plenty of time to do it then get the dzr. They are fun and very relaxing to run.

  3. #3
    Elite Member foreman Etexas's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    3,076
    Location
    texas
    Tractor
    Kubota (2010)M7040,(2012)M7040,New Holland(2004)TL100

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    I have the D31p and wouldnt wonna go any smaller,still can haul with one-ton and gooseneck easy....

  4. #4
    Gold Member Wnc3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    354
    Location
    S.E., Texas
    Tractor
    John Deere 820 utility, John Deere 5525, 997 JD Zmower, Komatsu PC 35 miniExcavator

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    Might consider a skid steer track machine. I have been amazed at what we have cleared wih it. We used to Rent a dozer and bought this. I love dozers, but this machine (komatsu ck35 out of production ) is so muc more versatile in
    Comparison.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    127
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota M5040

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    Look up the rachet rake. I don't have one, but looks pretty good for the small sappling stuff.
    I have been amazed that I can push over pretty big hill country cedar tree with my M5040 FEL.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Ken45101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    3,331
    Location
    southern Ohio
    Tractor
    Kubota M5040, M9540, B21 TLB, B2710, RTV900, JD 325 Skid steer, KX-121-3 mini excavator

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    You didn't say if it's level land, or if you will be going across hillsides. I've done a lot of trail building here for our 4 wheelers and horseback riding. We have steep hills.

    If you are going across a hillside, a dozer, backhoe, or mini excavator work well. A skid steer doesn't do well cutting across a steep hillside.

    As for a skid steer (or tractor) pushing over saplings, it depends on how big and the tree species. Those with shallow roots go over a lot easier than those with big tap roots.

    But if you are removing 8" trees, you also have to figure out what you are going to do with them once you get them out. Just pushing them off to the side makes an ugly mess.

    If you are making trails for 4 wheelers, you may find that you can go around the bigger trees. That's less work and makes for a more interesting trail.

    Initially I built our trails on the flatter areas with just the tractor and box blade, or a small backhoe on some of the hills. I had a contractor come in with a medium dozer (JD460?) for the steeper hills and he did a great job and did it quickly. Now I have the mini excavator and that will handle just about anything although a dozer may be faster.

    When I was looking into equipment, it was emphasized that if you buy an older dozer, you had better be good at doing repair work. I'm not. But I still drool when I see a small dozer for sale

    Ken

  7. #7
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    18,258
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    Get a backhoe attachment.
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

  8. #8
    Elite Member s219's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    4,372
    Location
    Virginia USA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3200

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    I had to make a tractor trail into some new property to move firewood.

    For saplings under 4-5", I have been using a brush grubber attached to the rear drawbar, and it works well.

    For stuff over 4-5", I typically low cut the stump and then grind it low and round the edges with my chainsaw (hold the saw normally and pass/wave the bar back and forth over the stump as if the moving chain is a belt sander, being careful to keep the revs from getting too high).

    Selection of the path was based on minimal disturbance, where any obstacle trees were small, diseased, or rotten. So there was no major loss taking out the tree, and only a small impact on the ground. I think I only had to take out healthy big trees in 2-3 spots.

    My biggest obstacle was a massive 20 year old "rotten" stump. Once I pulled off the top part, I found the lower wood was still in very good shape. It was hollow, but the wood around the edges was quite sound. I ended up low cutting and grinding that down.

    And then there are pine stumps, which tend to be rotten around the edges but have a very substantial inner core of fat wood. Those take some work to get out, but it's worth the effort to harvest the fat wood from the center. It's great fire starter.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member deezler's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    583
    Location
    Southeast MI
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet 7305

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    Just started my own trail project myself yesterday afternoon.

    I started cautiously, as this is my first real experience doing such, but ended up gaining confidence and using my Cub 7305 (same as Mahindra 3015) like a small bulldozer. The ratchet rake on the front bucket wasn't quite as effective as I'd hoped it would be, but surely still above and beyond working with a bare loader bucket. I was able to take out 4 to 5" trees without issue. Just push 'em over, put the weight of the tractor up on the trunk to bust the roots a little better, then back up, get under the roots, curl the bucket and out they come.

    We first walked the trail corridor with a chainsaw cutting everything off at 4 to 5' above ground level, making a pretty good mess. Then came through with the tractor to push everything off to the sides and push over and dig out the remaining stumps. Worked pretty easily and seemed like pretty low impact on the tractor. Very fun!

    Now, certainly we left a big mess along side the trail. Once I get a clearing opened up within the interior of my property, I'll go back and clean things up and make a big *** burn pile or chipping pile. but for now this method seemed to alow opening up about 100' of wide trail (like 20' wide, going to be a driveway eventually) per hour. Not sure if that is nearly effective enough for the amount of ATV trail you are putting in. How many acres do you have / miles of trail do you want?

    Obviously 4 wheelers are pretty narrow. I have seen a lot of 4-wheeler trails that aren't really cut in much at all. Just ride it where it fits and establish a trail in that way.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member deezler's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    Location
    Southeast MI
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    Cub Cadet 7305

    Default Re: Putting in new trails. Best way to clear saplings

    ^ which is to say, you could probably just walk your trail corrdor with a chainsaw, and pull branches off to the side. Pick the trail route to avoid as many saplings as possible... and then you wouldn't even need either of your tractors.

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