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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    Nov 2005
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    194
    Location
    Utah
    Tractor
    John Deere 4720

    Default Clearing Sagebrush

    I have about 30 acres of sagebrush to clear, then plant with a good drought tolerant grass. Any suggestions on how best to get rid of the sagebrush? I hear people talk about brush hogs -- can they handle sagebrush?

    -- Grant

  2. #2
    Veteran Member deerefan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    1,474
    Location
    louisiana
    Tractor
    1952 8N, 2005 JD 5103

    Default Re: Clearing Sagebrush

    A bushhog should be fine. What size tractor/bushhog do you have or plan on using? I have a big problem at my place with privet and youpan, a woody brush. My 5103 and model 286 bushhog handles it fine. If the stuff is only an inch or two thick, a good mid to heavy duty bushhog will handle it. I had an earlier post in attachments titled bushhog abuse that had some informative posts if you want to read it.

  3. #3
    Silver Member
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    Sep 2005
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    180
    Location
    Near Reno, Nevada
    Tractor
    NH TC35A

    Default Re: Clearing Sagebrush

    The old way of doing it is by dragging a ship anchor chain like the one in the attachment between two cats.

    I've had luck with just a box-blade. If you're just looking to kill sagebrush, you don't need to uproot it - in my experiance you just need to mash it. Rabbitbrush and ephedra will root-sprout, though. Not sure about the various saltbushes and greasewood. Around here, there's ususally a good number of those bushes mixed in with sagebrush.

    I'd think twice about whether you really want to get rid of the sagebrush. Unless you are planning on irrigating, I don't think you'll get better pasture by removing the sagebrush. It'll also be uglier, less wildlife-friendly and more fire-prone.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    5,037
    Location
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Tractor
    Kioti CK30HST

    Default Re: Clearing Sagebrush

    Yes, the right size brushhog for your tractor will chop up anything you can get under it if it is less than a few inches thick. As I recall, the rule of thumb is 5 HP per foot.

    Once you knock it all down once it will be like mowing a lawn each time thereafter.

    I have done blackberries, scotch broom, alder saplings, and heavily overgrown fescue field with thistle. The brushhog is a fantastic tool.

    Rocks, metal, and mountains of dirt are the enemy of the hog.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Nov 2005
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    194
    Location
    Utah
    Tractor
    John Deere 4720

    Default Re: Clearing Sagebrush

    Thanks for that post.

    I am thinking twice, and three or four times, about removing the sagebrush. The goal is to improve the pasture for horses and cattle. I do want to irrigate, but at least for now I've only got enough water for that through June -- sometimes into July.

    It sounds like you're familiar with situations such as mine. What can I best do to improve the pasture?

    -- Grant

  6. #6
    Silver Member
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    Sep 2005
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    180
    Location
    Near Reno, Nevada
    Tractor
    NH TC35A

    Default Re: Clearing Sagebrush

    I don't know much about irrigation. But I figure you will want to get rid of the exisiting brush. There are some other bushes that do well in meadows around here - mostly roses and willows. You could encourage a few once you start irrigating just for ambiance. The livestock should keep them from spreading and taking over.

    There are some folks further up the canyon from me who have meadows - there's a little stream that braids out and irrigates naturally. In some places they dig little ponds with pipes running from them to areas that wouldn't get water otherwise. The stream flows through the whole summer. I can take some pictures if you're interested, though it probably won't look like your setup.

    Have you talked to any extension folks or local farmers/ranchers?

  7. #7
    Silver Member
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    Nov 2005
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    194
    Location
    Utah
    Tractor
    John Deere 4720

    Default Re: Clearing Sagebrush

    I do keep meaning to call the extension guys. All the old local farmers are gone. My Grandpa was the last of them in our canyon, and he died 9 years ago. Now all the landowners are wealthy imports. Some spend big bucks to pump water to irrigate their pastures (which used to be alfalfa fields). I think they are raising hay on my grandpa's ranch, but it never fell into quite the state that my place is in. Other than that, there's hardly a productive place in the whole canyon.

    My neighbors sprayed their sagebrush, and that seems to have been fairly efffective.

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