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  1. #1
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    New question here. Low Scrub removal

    Hello all:

    I would appreciate your opinions on removing low scrub, yet keeping the new trail narrow! A DR type would be a bit wide. Since the trail is on minimal soil don't wanna dig it out. Hand trimming would be rigorous. Hand sickles seem to be the answer yet not much room to swing while trying to keep the trail narrow.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    A nice sunny hot day and a backpack sprayer full of roundup should do the job?

  3. #3
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    How wide are you trying to make your trail?

    If the trail is in thick scrub.....a brush mower like the DR works great and the trail is only slightly wider for a short period. Most new trails are cut slightly wider and then groom themselves back into shape.

    A brush mower cutting a single path through thick scrub makes a very nice preliminary cut but not down to bare dirt.....so what happens very quickly is that the trail becomes narrow pretty fast due to the fact that riders tend to ride the center of the trail to avoid the side brush, and a narrow bare centerline quickly emerges. Also since the vegetation was not cut down to the dirt level with the brush mower....the vegetation that is not getting ridden on regularly usually comes back in one season, leaving the desired narrow single track.

    I have used two brands of brush mowers and I prefer the Outback Billy Goat over the DR. The Outback ends up making only around a 19" cut leaving the vegetation around 2" high which makes for an easy first cut that can be hand-groomed easily afterwards.

    I've used the outback extensively and it can churn through 1-1/2 thick woody branches and 8' high weeds and grasses with ease.

    Another reason I like the Outback mower is because it does not have a side discharge for the cuttings. The cuttings basically lay down right onto the path of the cut which is helpful in areas where you may be cutting through some invasive plant species.....so it does not disburse the non-native seeds any wider.

    Basically I try to do my preliminary new trail cuts in the late fall just at the beginning of the local growing season....and typically by February or March....the trail becomes a thin sliver which is then able to be groomed by hand.

    I hope this helps.....and good luck with your project!

  4. #4
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    We have on occasion cut new trail through low brush. What worked best in our case, and may work for you given the thin soil is to just pull the stuff out of the ground manually. Takes a little effort but only done once. I know you didn't want to dig - you can shake most of the soil off the roots. Tools that have also worked well in this situation - a nice sharp rogue hoe and one of those fire rakes with the sharp triangular teeth.

  5. #5
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    My opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA
    Hello all:

    I would appreciate your opinions on removing low scrub, yet keeping the new trail narrow! A DR type would be a bit wide. Since the trail is on minimal soil don't wanna dig it out. Hand trimming would be rigorous. Hand sickles seem to be the answer yet not much room to swing while trying to keep the trail narrow.

    Thanks
    My opinion is you're confusing keeping the trail narrow with keeping the trail corridor narrow. Personally I hate riding through a brush choked narrow corridor. I also dislike having to trim brush. It always seems to grow back faster than you'd hope.

    My preferred solution is to chop out brush by the roots. Anything within several feet of the trail. Nice of you to worry about the soil, but knock the dirt off the roots and grubbing is pretty low impact.

    I despise honeysuckle! The deer don't even like it.

    Walt

  6. #6
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    Low Brush

    Depends on your mind set, but we have used a line trimmer that accepts a brush blade We have a Stihl FS80 R. Works great on stuff up to 1 inch diameter. You can get fairly close tot the ground wtth this. You can them follow up with a rake and you are good to go. Just have to remove the small stumps based ont he size of the bruch you have.

  7. #7
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    I also agree a brush cutter can work well. I have a echo brush cutter and plan on trying this blade on it this year:
    http://www.mfgsupply.com/m/c/BBB008.html?id=WNmGEKzs
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  8. #8
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    We typically mow first which cuts about 36" wide & 2-3" high and weedeat the final cut. Roundup will kill the weeds and grass but leave the roots in place when you start riding it and will keep the soil together. We use that to define the trail itself. Everything around it grows back fast enough to where it looks natural. I personnally like growth tight around the trail to kneehigh and cut back further above that to keep the line of sight open except for anchor and choke/corral trees or where it's just plain tight. When we cut with the weedeaters we just swing them and radius it to the trail as it gives it a better definition and look...taller further away from the trail.
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  9. #9
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    Using herbicides is just being lazy. There's no need under typical trail conditions.
    I love mankind - it's people I can't stand. ~Charles M. Schulz

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA
    Hello all:

    I would appreciate your opinions on removing low scrub, yet keeping the new trail narrow! A DR type would be a bit wide. Since the trail is on minimal soil don't wanna dig it out. Hand trimming would be rigorous. Hand sickles seem to be the answer yet not much room to swing while trying to keep the trail narrow.

    Thanks
    Here you go, and articulating Stihl extended hedge trimmer. We have great luck with this

    http://www.stihlusa.com/hedgetrimmers/HL100K-135.html

  11. #11
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    Using herbicides is just being lazy. There's no need under typical trail conditions.
    I cordially invite you to come do a work day with us down here in New Orleans and tell me that using Roundup is lazy!!!! We have to completely spray our trail 3 times a year to keep it open - otherwise it will quite literally completely grow over in a matter of weeks.

    We use a heavy duty string trimmer with .155 line - it'll cut anything that's non-wooden and makes quick work of weeds and brush. I also use it to cut new trail - just "weedeat" down to dirt and you have an instant trail bed ready to be ridden (and/or compacted). It's quicker and easier than lugging around a heavy wheeled brush cutter (although there is a time and place for them too!).

  12. #12
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    Woody brush and saplings should be grubbed (dug out by the roots) a few feet on either side of the trail tread itself. Herbaceous growth should be trimmed depending on what it is. Stinging nettles should be cut back enough that your hands/arms aren't getting assaulted. Legs are fair game, though. Knee-height and lower is good. Weedeaters are good for this.

    Herbicide on anything toxic...poison ivy/oak/sumac several feet on either side of the trail if the stuff is choking out everything else. Leave it if it's an occasional plant here or there.

    Any sort of vines need to be trimmed WAY back because they can encroach on a trail corridor and make it disappear in a heartbeat. Big old grapevines can usually be pulled aside and tied off somewhere.

    More or less, I use a simple gas powered line trimmer/weedeater to keep the corridors open enough that you can see the trail tread. Honeysuckle, tree of heaven, japanese knotweed, and multiflora rose are the typical brushy plants that encroach on a trail. Because all are considered noxious weeds and are nonnative invasive plants (and in the case of the tree of heaven & japanese knotweed, secrete toxins into the soil that prevent other plants from taking root, resulting in increase erosion), I let the mattock fly and dig those biotches out with a passion.

    On the rare occasion that there's a viny mess, I'll take some hedge clippers to clear the corridor enough that bikes can at least fit (with some extra space so the plants have room to grow before they need trimming again), but since the tunnel effect is cool, I'll try to maintain that, too. Trails through meadows occasionally need a mower with a wide deck, but once or MAYBE twice a year (late spring/early summer and then late summer/early fall) depending on conditions is usually enough.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatch
    Using herbicides is just being lazy. There's no need under typical trail conditions.
    Considering the authors desire to not disturb the soil, ie grubbing, then herbicide would be the correct tool IMHO.

    Of course I live in the arid west though. Hot engine + low scrub = grass fire.
    We had 2 last week. Burned a couple thousand acres and 3 people lost their lives.

    BTW, glyphosate will bleed out from where you spray. If you're looking to kill vegetation just spray a small swath and let it bleed out. It may take a few weeks.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamR
    How wide are you trying to make your trail?

    If the trail is in thick scrub.....a brush mower like the DR works great and the trail is only slightly wider for a short period. Most new trails are cut slightly wider and then groom themselves back into shape.

    A brush mower cutting a single path through thick scrub makes a very nice preliminary cut but not down to bare dirt.....so what happens very quickly is that the trail becomes narrow pretty fast due to the fact that riders tend to ride the center of the trail to avoid the side brush, and a narrow bare centerline quickly emerges. Also since the vegetation was not cut down to the dirt level with the brush mower....the vegetation that is not getting ridden on regularly usually comes back in one season, leaving the desired narrow single track.

    I have used two brands of brush mowers and I prefer the Outback Billy Goat over the DR. The Outback ends up making only around a 19" cut leaving the vegetation around 2" high which makes for an easy first cut that can be hand-groomed easily afterwards.

    I've used the outback extensively and it can churn through 1-1/2 thick woody branches and 8' high weeds and grasses with ease.

    Another reason I like the Outback mower is because it does not have a side discharge for the cuttings. The cuttings basically lay down right onto the path of the cut which is helpful in areas where you may be cutting through some invasive plant species.....so it does not disburse the non-native seeds any wider.

    Basically I try to do my preliminary new trail cuts in the late fall just at the beginning of the local growing season....and typically by February or March....the trail becomes a thin sliver which is then able to be groomed by hand.

    I hope this helps.....and good luck with your project!
    Any concerns with starting a brush fire with the brush cutting mowers? One of the agencies we deal with makes us use plastic blades on the week whackers. They say fires can start from the sparks from a metal blade hitting a rock. Any one hear of a brush fire actually starting this way?
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  15. #15
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    Roundup is a broad-spectrum herbicide which only kills emerged plants. It enters the plant through leaves, green branches, and green stems; then moves through the plant to the roots. It works by inhibiting the formation of specific essential amino acids necessary for plant growth and it will only eliminate plants that are directly sprayed and will not affect seed growth.
    Roundup Pro is a product specially formulated for agricultural use and has a surfactant added making it rain-fast 2 hours after application.
    Reportedly, Roundup does not move through the soil, so non-sprayed plants are not affected. The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate. It breaks down into natural elements: nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water and phosphate. Soil temperature and the number of microbes the soil contains affects the time it takes the chemical to break down. In the coldest climates, the active ingredient in Roundup could remain in the soil for almost a year.

  16. #16
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    Second the hedgetrimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    Here you go, and articulating Stihl extended hedge trimmer. We have great luck with this

    http://www.stihlusa.com/hedgetrimmers/HL100K-135.html
    Established 500 feet of corridor in a little over an hour with a gas hedgetrimmer, followed by two chainsaws and a loper... This was thick stuff, too...

  17. #17
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    Good job!

    Thanks for all the usefull info, here the result. Using hand sickles, trimmers, lopers, and a weed trimmer with the triangular blade. We kept the natural feel but got it done. The wet area had to be amored... another mile of trail open and complete at Nature Conservancy Moosic Mt Preserve in NEPA

    Come ride it!



    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
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    for the future, x3 for the stihl hedge trimmer, it works great on the blueberry/huckelberry bush stuff here in central PA and I know the guys at rattling creek used one extensively when putting their stuff in. the big advantage over brush cutters is there is no rotating shaft exposed to get crap wrapped around.

  19. #19
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    x4 now, if i could just find a HS246 for my 026 on this side of the pond, i have a fs38 with a tri-blade head, and a ms170 for anything larger, but also a large set of lopping shears do a good job for spot treatment. but there is the area inbetween (ie, large(r) 1/2-1" bush in large quantity. a saw doesnt work very well because the tension is always changing and the chain seems to bind as well. a small wacker like the one i have is nice cuz i can use the plastic blade attachments but it wasnt up to the job of anything over about 5/8 , have rented a hedge trimmer and they are terrific for this job and make quick work of it, if its small stuff 3/8" and under you can probably get away with the wacker but the trimmer makes clean cuts and turns big jobs into small work. just watch you dont rest it on your thigh before it comes to a stop =]

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    for the future, x3 for the stihl hedge trimmer, it works great on the blueberry/huckelberry bush stuff here in central PA and I know the guys at rattling creek used one extensively when putting their stuff in. the big advantage over brush cutters is there is no rotating shaft exposed to get crap wrapped around.
    Yep that's what we used!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA
    Thanks for all the usefull info, here the result. Using hand sickles, trimmers, lopers, and a weed trimmer with the triangular blade. We kept the natural feel but got it done. The wet area had to be amored... another mile of trail open and complete at Nature Conservancy Moosic Mt Preserve in NEPA

    Come ride it!



    On that last photo with the long hardened tread, you may need some chokes on either side to make the outside more difficult to travel than the trail itself. I can see people going high and low to avoid the rocky tread.

  22. #22
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by Fattirewilly
    On that last photo with the long hardened tread, you may need some chokes on either side to make the outside more difficult to travel than the trail itself. I can see people going high and low to avoid the rocky tread.
    Good eye my friend!

    I agree we need to do that...

    Thanks

  23. #23
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    My group just added about a 2 mile section onto our trail. We completed it in two workdays. We had a line of 3 machetes, loppers (cutters) and a chainsaw. The 1st day was a rough cut and took about 3 hours. The next day we came out with a couple weedeaters w/ steel blades, more machetes, and rakes to finish it. It worked great! The trail is as smooth as a babies bottom.

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