Skip to comments.Advice for clearing wooded property
Posted on 06/18/2018 7:33:15 AM PDT by rarestia
Calling all farmers, land owners, and gardeners... yours truly recently took ownership of 4 acres of property in central Florida and has some questions. I'm far from a greenhorn, but I'm learning new things and don't know what I don't know. Please bear with me and correct any misuse of terms herein.
Approximately 3 acres of my land is heavily wooded and was poorly maintained. My last 2 weekends were spent with a rented brush hog clearing the front acre of my property of undergrowth. Vines were everywhere, some as thick as 2 inches (diameter), and it made for very slow going. There were numerous dead logs and some dead trees are still standing. The rest was poison ivy, overgrown deliberately-planted bushes such as oak leaf hydrangea, and oak saplings.
After clearing, I'm left with a lot of thatch, leaf litter, and branches to clear, but I have my sights set on the future. What are my next steps? I could walk the acre and manually pick up the big stuff. I'll either burn, chip, or save felled lumber. How can I make the grounds arable for turf? Should drop a broadleaf herbicide to tame the weeds? Should I rent a power rake or a dethatcher? Finally, should I aerate and then overseed with bahia or rye?
My goal is to have the natural large trees remain intact with appropriate pruning for shade, some winding mulch pathways, and either turf or natural ground cover such as fern, vervain, or juniper filling in the space where a lot of the weeds and brush were previously. I understand this is going to be a very lengthy process, but with the proper machinery and patience, I believe it's all very possible.
My thanks to any and all FReepers who might be able to help.
Goats. Get some...................
I’ve read this so many times.
I purchased 32 acres in rural KY about 7 years ago. 25 acres are wooded. The first thing I learned was about the bugs here. The second thing was about Permathrin (insecticide you actually spray on your clothing).
The third thing I learned was when Tractor Supply has the huge bottles of herbicide on sale (like Roundup.
I also bought a used tractor and use those heavy nylon tie downs to drag logs around.
And I got a GOOD weed whacker and a couple of 10” diameter steel cutters with an edge that is identical to a chain saw, regarding the blades. You even sharpen it like a chain saw. That sucker cuts through saplings, etc. up to 4” in diameter like a knife through butter. Two blades for $20 on Amazon.
Thanks for saving the trees. I live in a wooded subdivision with large lots (1 acre) and I had a neighbor move in next door and cut them all down because he wanted grass.
If it is a lawn or meadow you want as the end result, the most important issue in my opinion is how you grub out the stumps and shallow tree and brush roots.
Trees can be removed in any number of ways if time is not the issue. Removing the stumps, root balls, shallow roots and the like is a different matter. Check out the legality of burning (with or without a blower for full combustion) the future brush pile. If that is not legal or something you can manage you need to use a grinder of some sort to get the debris to a state where it is easy to load or decompose. Is there any ravine area needing fill?
Probably to dense to burn some of the underbrush. Fire does wonders to quickly clear underbrush and get ready for new growth. But it is hard to use in dense tree growth. I’m not sure if you can do some controlled burns on your property. But I thought I would throw it out there for consideration.
My only experience is for hunting properties (FWIW).
Took the words right out of my mouth, or from my pen, or from my keyboard.
An electric fence is relatively cheap and very effective to keep them corralled. More goats is better than just a few.
The previous owners were of the tree-hugging variety. Sadly, their lack of care for their property has resulted in a half dozen or so large oak trees with varying degrees of oak wilt. There are two oaks over 12 inches in diameter that are about ready to come down on their own.
Owner negligence and ignorance of proper grounds maintenance is no way to help the environment and only leads to pestilence and decay.
Nuke it from orbit with herbacides. If anyone asks, tell them it is organic. You can even write “Organic” on the Roundup bottle with a sharpie.
Go with big equipment early and often.
Get somebody to run the equipment unless you know what you are doing. I own a large backhoe and I still am better off having someone else run it.
Permathrin is awesome!
I’d use an herbicide on the weeds. Don’t bother with round-up, vinegar is cheaper.
I’d sow it with rye for sure. You can use Zoysia, there are benefits and drawbacks to it.
Electric fence and goats. The words simply do not go together..... If there is a hole in a fence, a goat will find a way... electricity or not :)
Don’t even think of burning the poison ivy. Put some body oil on your skin, put on long sleeve protective clothing, glasses and gloves (if you are allergic to poison ivy) and gather those vines by hand, bag them up. You can shred the rest in a chipper shredder. Wood that works for mulch can be chipped in one pile, leaf and twigs shredded into a compost pile.
I always found it easiest to clear out all vines and undergrowth, remove those. Then you can better see which tree branches you want/need to get out of the way to make room for bibber cuts, and direct your shaded/sunny areas. Be organized in your work, clear and clean so you don’t have trip hazards and housing for potential unwanted animals.
Be cautious around brush and piles sinc3 both poisonous and non poisonous critters like to take shelter in them. Do a little at a time. Use logic.
I second the goats recommendation.
Heritage breed cattle, not the pampered sissy cows, also will do a good job.
Pigs are great for getting stumps out. Bore four holes around the stump, toss in some corn and away they go.
As an old retired contractor, this is what I would hire and be done with it.
Whatever you do dont burn poison ivy. The smoke can kill.
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