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  1. #1
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    Default Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    Hello all. This is my first post, and I'm just getting into this. The thing is, my wife and I purchased 150+ acres of undeveloped land for recreation and eventually to build a home on. About 70 acres of it was timbered 2 years ago, and it's a HUGE mess. It has great potential however, and will be beautiful once it's finished. The guys left behind enormous brush piles (I have pics if necessary), and of course stumps galore (cut pretty close to the ground), as well as massive amounts of logs everywhere (mostly in the "low areas" - it's quite hilly). Since it's been 2+ years since this was done, there is a ton of undergrowth now as well. Lots of pine saplings as well as incredible amounts of briars.

    I've talked to a lot of people so far concerning how to deal with this and had a company come out to quote the clean up. The quote was insane, so I plan to do it myself. What I've been told so far are the classic steps:

    1. Gather up the logs by hand or other means, and burn them or mulch them.
    2. Burn the brush piles.
    3. Use an excavator and dig up the stumps.
    4. Fill in the stump holes.
    5. Bush hog the growth.

    Now, that all sounds fine, and if you could see it personally, it also sounds like it would take years of a lot of hard work. I'm not opposed to that, but I can't help but think there's an easier way, which is why I'm here to talk to you guys.

    I've been researching all of this the best I can, and I keep being drawn to the foresty mulchers. Specifically, I am planning on purchasing a new Bobcat T870 with the mulcher head and other attachments. The thing is, I can't help but wonder if it would do the job I want it to do. I figure it would make short work of the brush piles, especially since they've been rotting for 2 years. And the logs on the ground, I don't see why it would have a problem eating those up as well. And the 2+ year old stumps should also be easy to grind down level with the ground, right?

    I suppose my questions for you are, am I correct on my theories about this so far? I plan to start in the winter when all the growth has died and it's a lot thinner. But will the mulcher head have problems in the thick growth? What do you all recommend?

    I don't have a lot of help. Just me and my best friend really, so going the slow route will be a lot slower than normal. Not that I'm in a big rush, I just don't want it to take us a week to clear one acre, and by the time we are 20 percent finished, that acre has already grown back.

    I have no experience with skidsteers, or tractors, or bulldozers really. I did drive a Lull (big tractor/forklift) on jobsites when I worked construction many years ago though. I know the bobcat will take time to learn, but I'm sure I can.

    Any advice you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    NW Louisiana
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    MF 35, Mahindra 4035

    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    Me, 150 acres ? I'd get a bigger tractor (80 hp or better) a big grapple, heavy duy bush hog and burn a lot...I think it would be a lot quicker to push, stack n burn than try to shred it all...bush hog for ballast and added benefit of shredding smaller stuff...if you elect to go with bobcat make sure you go with tracked not wheeled n get higher hp model...easy to get a log jammed between wheels...for stumps, let em rot if you can wait, otherwise there is nothing better for poppin stumps than a mid size or bigger trackhoe...good luck ! Be careful n have fun !

  3. #3
    Silver Member
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    '10 Kubota MX4700HST, R4s

    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    My advice is that there is nothing like the right tool for the job. I'm not familiar with the Bobcat T870, but if you're going to be mulching a 6 foot wide path with it, then you've got the wrong tool for the job. Nothing wrong with burning the downed logs, brush, and slag, but I'd want a big piece of equipment to clear the land...say, D8 Cat with a 10 or 12 foot blade. I had 4 acres cleared several years ago and hired a fella and his helper. They had a big Cat Hilift and a huge excavator. It was a jungle and took them a few days to clear it, another day or two to burn the piles, and were worth every penny I paid to have it done. I think your fears of clearing one acre a week and by week 20 having to start over are very realistic fears. Get big equipment in there and "Git 'er done"... JMHO.

    mkane09

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Eastern Ontario
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    Kubota MX5100

    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    70 acres of mess or only a portion of that is a mess? That is a lot of land to clean up and personally while I would love to do it myself and am always thinking that way, however I say hire a pro who has the machinery and let him/her deal with any maintenance issues. There is a land-clearing forum on here and someone there can surely help you out with advice, possibly an estimate, etc. That is just my thought as it sounds like a huge job and depending on what you want to do with it, you're right, you may only clear a couple acres and then move to next acreage only to have to go back and maintain what you already cleared. What are your plans with the land?
    2011 Kubota MX5100, BH92, BH BB72, Walco Bush Hog and Snowblower, Wallenstein 310 Splitter & Forks

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    Yeah, I think I should probably post this in the land clearing forum. But thanks guys for the advice still.

    Seriously, the quote I got so far was from a local company with a mulcher kindof like what I want to use. I kid you not, the price quoted to clear 70 acres was nearly as much as what we are paying for the entire 150 acres! So I'm very hesitant to contract out the work. I work from home so I have a ton of time that I could dedicate to the job, and I think it would be extremely fun, therapeutic, engaging, and rewarding. I plan to spend 100-150k on the equipment necessary, and at the same time have the equipment for future jobs like making atv trails and property cleanup. And if necessary, I could sell the equipment and recoup some of the cost. If I pay someone else to do it, then it will cost me at least that much (or in the case of the last guy - 3x as much), and I learn nothing about how to do it myself, nor do I have the equipment to use later.

    As for using a grapple to pick up the logs, I'm not sure how it could be done. It's SO thick, that it's tough to actually see the logs until you are right on them. My wife and I drove our Polaris RZR all over the property in April, exploring. We were constantly going over logs and stumps everywhere. A lot of areas were absolutely impassable, and so far unexplored. It's that bad.

  6. #6
    Elite Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    My neighbor has a T320 Bobcat with a Fecon mulcher head. It's a pretty impressive setup. He's got an older model Hitachi 200XL excavator, too. Both have seen many hours of use clearing on his 250 acres.

    Of course, he's got a monster root rake for the Bobcat, too.

    He did some tree clearing on one of the hay fields that I rent. The Fecon chewed the trees down and ate quite a bit of the stumps. Ate up the top half of the trees as they layed on the ground.

    But... I had to dig up the remaining stumps and clean up the leftover trees. And, rototill all the ground and incorporate the chips and smaller roots into the soil.

    Long story short - the mulcher is fast but it's not as "clean" as some would have you believe. There's still quite a bit of mess leftover to take care of.

    You'll still need an excavator for a lot of the stump work and a good root rake as well as a disc harrow, tiller, etc. to level and smooth the ground for replanting.

    AKfish
    "Most people want to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it."

  7. #7
    New Member Gerold's Avatar
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    Default

    Why clean it up? Mess to you is cover for deer, ground birds, and just about any critter you can imagine. Salvage some logs for firewood or timber. Let the others rot. New seedlings need brush cover for their first years or deer will destroy them. Brush piles are great for rabbits and bird perches. Clear some nice walking trails. Make a nice picnic area. Build a tree stand or hunting blind if you are inclined. It would be a whole lot less work. Nature will more than likely recover faster than you can cleanup and what grows will probably be what belongs there.
    Last edited by Gerold; 06-23-2013 at 10:52 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land-img_0103.jpgNeed advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land-img_0113.jpgNeed advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land-img_0098.jpg

    Here are some pics of what needs to be cleared. Again, these were taken in April, so there's a lot more overgrowth there now.

    I had planned on purchasing a root grapple, bucket (of course), and a bush hog attachment for the bobcat. As far as I can tell the 870 is the most powerful skidsteer/trackloader out there, so I figured I'd be ok with that. For nearly the same price as all of this I could perhaps get a dedicated forest mulcher with 2-3 hundred HP. But I hesitate going that route because it's only for 1 purpose, and I am going to need the different attachments the bobcat can use.

    I have also planned on purchasing a used excavator as well. Mostly for digging up the stumps that are in the middle of the logging roads, as well as the site prep for the house. Those areas should be smooth. As for the rest of the areas, I don't need them to be perfect, just cleared. So I had hoped that the mulcher would be sufficient in getting rid of the stumps.

    For the next year or 2 we don't plan on doing anything other than clearing and hopefully playing on the land (camping, shooting, exploring with kids, and riding atv's). Not sure if that makes any difference in the suggestions though.

  9. #9
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    hire it done. then buy a tractgor that will do 80% or so of the work you'd like.

    it's too easy to spend $$$$money on a machine that does all your work. but then $$$part of it sets idle for years unused after a single task is done.
    souNdguy

    sent from my NOKIA LUMIA

  10. #10
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Need advice for land clearing 70+ acres of timbered land

    That's not nearly as bad as you had described. Lot's of work for a grapple and multiple burnpiles.

    mkane09

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