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  1. #1
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    best way to clear brush

    i want to start clearing and building a couple trails on my land, i've scoped out the lines and the only thing i need to do is clear brush and briers don't need to cut any trees, do you guys just go at them with weed wackers and tillers, or is there a better way to clear the trail, i've never built a trial so any info will be great thanks

  2. #2
    zrm
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    Well, Dubya is going to be unemployed soon and he's spent a lot of time on the ranch clearing brush. MAybe he's looking for work

  3. #3
    Builder of Trails
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    We use loppers, hand saws, and chain saws, but no machetes or tillers. Loppers and hand saws do a good job of cutting small limbs and vines. When cutting limbs, always cut the limb at the next highest junction or at the tree trunk itself. Never cut a limb in its middle.

    If you have to remove a tree from the tread, cut it off knee high and grub it out at the roots using a mattock or a pulaski. We try to only remove trees smaller than 3-4" in diameter. When designing your trail, try to align the tread on the high side of the trees so you don't cut into the stronger anchor roots when bench cutting. Also, you can take out roots bigger than a pencil and smaller than your wrist.

    If you have a lot of grass in the tread, you can use a weed eater to scalp the grass to dirt level.

    Others here can chime in with more info.

    D

  4. #4
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    as i said no trees are coming down it's just a lot of thick briers and various plants, need to get to bare ground as for grass that will eventually be torn up by my knobies

  5. #5
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    For small brush, I've generally used loppers to trim stuff back enough that I can then get in with a mattock and rip out the root ball. Some plants like honeysuckle have really poor roots and even large ones can be pulled out after cutting a couple of the anchor roots.

    Be aware of the invasive plant species you're likely to find in your area, because those typically have some insane survival strategies like the ability to sprout from roots, insane seed production, and others. Some of them you may want to combine cutting with chemical treatment (especially if you have any tree of heaven or japanese knotweed...that stuff is NASTY). Even honeysuckle can be a pain, because it sprouts well from stuff you don't completely dig out, but at least it doesn't poison the nearby soil like the other two I mentioned. Multiflora rose needs trimmed before you grub out the roots because those stems turn into serrated whips.

  6. #6
    Papa T
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    Machetes and/or loppers work best for brush from my experience. Wear some protective clothing and have at it. Buy some beer and rope a friend into helping.
    Keep your head tube up!
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  7. #7
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    You mentioned briars. You have to get under those suckers and cut out the roots. If there are briars within a few feet of your tread I would take those out too. Briars are great at coming back from the root.

  8. #8
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    When we encounter a section with mostly weeds, we'll make a pass with machetes just to get the trail walkable. Once things are cleared and the remaining weeds are no more than a foot tall, you can come back through with a weed-eater. If the weeds are too thick for the weed eater string, there are lots of types of blade attachments for weed eaters.
    When you do encounter a thumbsize bush or large weed that's going to leave a stob when cut, my advice is leave it about 1 or 2 feet tall and trim around it. That way you can come back later and remove it at the roots with a mattock or prohoe.
    Another option for the really messy stuff is a walk behind brush mower. You can get drop blades for the DR's that cut near the ground and mulch all in one step whether you're dealing with leaves or brush. We use one of these at our trails and haven't had to pick up a rake since. Another benefit is that the mulch provides a carpet over the soft topsoil that causes new trails to be so muddy at first. In no time the mulch layer has packed in and the trail is hardpacked without having to go through that muddy ruts phase a raked trail has. We use a DR brand, which I haven't seen at rental stores, but I'm sure you can find similar products for rent.

  9. #9
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    I second the DR. We use it to clear areas with honeysuckle and briars, then cut the roots out with McLeod and/or Pulaski. Makes for really quick work. It's merely a mechanical replacement for a pair of big loppers and a pair of hand clippers. A folding handsaw works wonders too. The DR simply makes it faster.

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