Ask a Question forum: Brush Clearing

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2
Views: 725, Replies: 20 » Jump to the end
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Nov 3, 2016 5:45 AM CST
A portion of my backyard used to be nice and free of problem plants before I removed several trees that shaded my vegetable garden.

I did not realize that the under-tree space would be filled with ivy and wild blackberries in just 2 years after. If I hadn't twisted a knee badly in April ( and it is not back to normal yet but almost), I would have been out there cutting the undergrowth down.

The place is a thorn forest above ground and ivy covering the ground.

It has gotten out of hand. I have 2 choices. I can hire (and afford) a brush removal company to come in and clear the area (about 65'x50') or use a gas-powered weed whacker with a steel blade and get at it 100 sq ft at a time. The steel blade manual basically says I will amputate something unless I wear medieval armor.

I want to do yardwork myself, but I have other work to do too. My flowerbeds really need to be completely renovated after 20 years and I have 250 bulbs arriving soon to plant. And THAT area needs weeding,

So, does anyone have any experience with brush removal companies. Not asking for a recommended one, just such companies in general.

Do they do any good? I looked at powered brush-cutter equipment and they start at $2500.

I generally do my own work because it matters to me that I do it myself and that is sort of the point of doing yardwork, but I may have a situation beyond my ability to correct.

Any thoughts?
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Nov 3, 2016 7:40 AM CST
Gotta tell ya, I generally do fine with just a string trimmer, no blade necessary....
Just need one that can push .105 diameter 'string'.
I seriously doubt that Maryland produces anything worse than down here...
Once the berry briars have been cut down, you can dig out the shrubs that the trimmer couldn't take down with a mattock... Mattock works fine on the sprouts comming off the tree trunks as well.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Nov 3, 2016 8:22 AM CST
I estimate over 1,000 1/2" blackberry canes. Many dead and hardened. Others alive and laughing at my string trimmer.

Its the gas powered steel blade or the commercial guys...
Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Vegetable Grower Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tomato Heads
Annuals Hostas Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Spiders! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US
Image
robertduval14
Nov 3, 2016 8:43 AM CST

Plants Admin

I've been a landscaper for years and do jobs exactly like this regularly. I'd say do some research on individual local landscaping companies. I have to think there are plenty of companies in your area that would do this job to your satisfaction and for a fair price. The blade trimmer can get the job done, sure...but they are not really quick. Personally, I'd probably try and see if I could run a Bobcat in there and clear the area really quick with that. Having a crew come in to do it also means they get to pick all the thorny stuff up to take away.

Also note, a company that is strictly brush clearing tends to be a bit more 'rough around the edges' so to speak than a landscaping company will be. Different focus. It really depends on what you want that area to be once it's cleared.

Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
Image
madcratebuilder
Nov 3, 2016 8:54 AM CST
You could check your local Craigs List. Lot of small startups advertise on CL.

Berry canes almost require a blade trimmer and Ivy is next to impossible to eradicate, it keeps coming back. I've cleared land like yours in the past but much too old for that anymore.

If you have to go buy the trimmer I would just use that $$$ to help pay for labor.
Spectamur agendo
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Nov 3, 2016 10:17 AM CST
robertduval14 said: I've been a landscaper for years and do jobs exactly like this regularly. I'd say do some research on individual local landscaping companies. I have to think there are plenty of companies in your area that would do this job to your satisfaction and for a fair price. The blade trimmer can get the job done, sure...but they are not really quick. Personally, I'd probably try and see if I could run a Bobcat in there and clear the area really quick with that. Having a crew come in to do it also means they get to pick all the thorny stuff up to take away.

Also note, a company that is strictly brush clearing tends to be a bit more 'rough around the edges' so to speak than a landscaping company will be. Different focus. It really depends on what you want that area to be once it's cleared.



My thanks to you and madcratebuilder. I have 2 brush-hogging companys coming to give estimates and waiting on a 3rd.

I know what to ask for from them, I think (and the advice helps). It is a rough job.

I won't want lawn there, just a place to plant 3 sourwood trees and 2 korean dogwoods to create shade "there" to keep the blackberries and ivy at bay but not onto the veggie garden.

The 5 understory trees (sourwoods grow slow) should shade the "foresty" portion of the backyard while mot growing pasy 25' which would shade the gardem. I think Ive measured that pretty carefully.

But I can't plant them (and they are already arrived not quite dormant) until the spaces they will live are cleared. And I can't do that in a month.

I am also clearing the space because I want to recover a 9'D pond and 40' pumped spillway.

And there is a wild rose I think is 'Hawthorne Bloom' I want to reclaim from the intruding brambles. So it isn't going to be a straight "scrape and remove".

Pretty sure the brush clearers will know not to fall to a 9' diameter hole, but I will have to be directing them around the pond raceway and wild rose. I bet you understand about the difficulty of those!

I suspect I'm already surrendering a few 100 daffs as "unavoidable roadkill", but they are planted a good 6" down at the tops and may yet survive. I won't blame the brush clearer for any losses back there.

Any further thoughts you or anyone else as I start this project?



Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Nov 3, 2016 11:01 AM CST
I'm into tools. Last yr i wanted to eliminate the berumada grass in my yard. 1500sq ft. 😕Do i want to pay 2 grand or buy a 900dollar roto-tiller? Well ! I now have a roto-tiller when i need it. Next on my list is a chipper. Feed the soil. They make some chain heads to go on weedwackers that would do your job! Of course bobcat could get roots and all. Do you want a weedwacker??? 😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Image
Yardenman
Nov 3, 2016 2:41 PM CST
Philipwonel said:I'm into tools. Last yr i wanted to eliminate the berumada grass in my yard. 1500sq ft. 😕Do i want to pay 2 grand or buy a 900dollar roto-tiller? Well ! I now have a roto-tiller when i need it. Next on my list is a chipper. Feed the soil. They make some chain heads to go on weedwackers that would do your job! Of course bobcat could get roots and all. Do you want a weedwacker??? 😎😎😎


I have a gs powered weed-whacker. I'm just actually worried about the steel blade. And it won't get the roots of the blackberries. Grumbling

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
RoseBlush1
Nov 3, 2016 8:25 PM CST
I live in an old gold mining town in the mountains of northern California. Blackberries are considered a ladder fuel for forest fires and must be controlled. It is often difficult to get any kind of equipment into areas that are infested with blackberries and managing them with manual labor can be quite hazardous.

Please don't laugh, but there is a guy up here that rents out his goats to clear brush and blackberries. Last year, our volunteer fire department hired the goats to clear the creek behind the fire hall. They did such an excellent job, the Board of Supervisors hired them to continue clearing the creek that ran through town. They also used the goats to clear the 7' cliff across the road from my property. The goats actually did a better job of fuel reduction than the fire crew did several years ago and cost a whole lot less ... Smiling

Yardenman, I know you probably don't know of anyone with a goat herd near where you live, but they are very, very efficient and leave less damage behind than other methods of clearing your land of brush and berries.

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Nov 3, 2016 8:54 PM CST
I have a wild bramble area that I want to turn into a veggie garden. I sure wish I could find goats to rent!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Nov 3, 2016 9:59 PM CST
I delt with blackberry brambles in CA. My brother in law (who ran a company that sterilized rice fields) gave me a plan to rid my life forever of berry brambles.

In the fall, as the brambles are preparing to going dormant (still green but starting to turn), spray them with brush killer (mixed at regular strength). My brambles were so thick, I didn't worry about poisoning the soil. In the fall, plants are pulling all the nutrients possible down into the roots. Add a little poison and they are gone forever. It took me two years to get rid of about a 1/2 acre of brambles but they never came back.

Then hire someone to get rid of the tops - the roots are dead so won't be back. Just cutting the tops will not get rid of the problem.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
stone
Nov 4, 2016 7:58 AM CST
Believe it or not....
A powerful enough string trimmer that will push the .105 line I was talking about.... Does fine for blackberries at my house.
A small string trimmer won't do it.

I would never bring a bobcat in on top of my garden.... Doesn't matter how many thorns are growing....

And.... I know a thing or two about thorns here....

Thumb of 2016-11-04/stone/4065a3

This wheelbarrow of smilax tubers came from a single clump....
A string trimmer is useless against greenbriar and mature grapevines.... The chainsaw is necessary with those.... Afterwards the mattock is well suited for getting those roots... Just gotta go after them when the ground moisture is optimum.

A bobcat is positively going to damage everything.... Packs soil around the tree roots, driving all the oxygen out of the soil.... You'll be spending as much time trying to repair the damage to the soil that you hoped to save by bringing in the equipment in the first place!

And..... Nothing is going to get all the blackberry roots the first time through.... But... They are generally near the surface of the soil, so.... Once the briars are down, the roots are easily dug out with a mattock....
Name: Steve Claggett
Portland Orygun (Zone 8a)
Beekeeper Cat Lover
Image
madcratebuilder
Nov 4, 2016 8:03 AM CST
RoseBlush1 said:I live in an old gold mining town in the mountains of northern California. Blackberries are considered a ladder fuel for forest fires and must be controlled. It is often difficult to get any kind of equipment into areas that are infested with blackberries and managing them with manual labor can be quite hazardous.

Please don't laugh, but there is a guy up here that rents out his goats to clear brush and blackberries. Last year, our volunteer fire department hired the goats to clear the creek behind the fire hall. They did such an excellent job, the Board of Supervisors hired them to continue clearing the creek that ran through town. They also used the goats to clear the 7' cliff across the road from my property. The goats actually did a better job of fuel reduction than the fire crew did several years ago and cost a whole lot less ... Smiling

Yardenman, I know you probably don't know of anyone with a goat herd near where you live, but they are very, very efficient and leave less damage behind than other methods of clearing your land of brush and berries.



I had forgotten about the pygmy goat I bought back in the early 80's to clear berries off about 3 acres, worked like a charm.
Spectamur agendo
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Nov 4, 2016 8:46 AM CST
I love the goat ideal !!! Buy a couple goats. They like company. THEN !!!
You could rent them out yourself !😎
If not ! You could eat em ! 😛😛😛
Double duty all around #!#!
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Nov 4, 2016 11:46 AM CST
@roseblush1
Would you eat the goats ?
Or did i give you an ideal for a side business ?
I want my COMMISSION ###
LMOA. Rolling on the floor laughing
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Ginny G
Central Iowa (Zone 5a)
Plant Addict!!
Daylilies Peonies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Irises Hibiscus Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Bee Lover Native Plants and Wildflowers Lilies Garden Art Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Miniature Gardening
Image
Legalily
Nov 4, 2016 12:03 PM CST
Love the goat idea - Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Do you think they'd eat my poison ivy? Whistling Whistling
Be a person that makes others feel special.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Image
Philipwonel
Nov 4, 2016 12:16 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Hell yes ! Them son-of-guns
Eat anything !!! Tin cans even !!!
I wouldn't want to pet them after they ate it. Least wise i gave em a bath first. Rolling on the floor laughing
😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
RoseBlush1
Nov 4, 2016 1:01 PM CST
Philipwonel said:@roseblush1
Would you eat the goats ?
Or did i give you an ideal for a side business ?
I want my COMMISSION ###
LMOA. Rolling on the floor laughing
😎😎😎


I don't have enough room on my property to keep goats .. Rolling on the floor laughing In fact, I don't even keep chickens ! I live in the midst of woods and we have lots of predators. Unless you can protect your livestock, it's best not to provide bait for them. I have friends who have lost their chickens to bears and cougars, so no chickens or goats for me ... Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

The guy who rents out his goats for brush control has a thriving business ... Big Grin

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
Dances with Dirt
Dragonflies Native Plants and Wildflowers Frugal Gardener Critters Allowed Garden Procrastinator Herbs
Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Keeps Goats Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Composter
Image
gardengus
Nov 4, 2016 1:18 PM CST
I am a bit late to the party , but has renting a walk-behind brush cutter been considered?
We happen to own one and it can cut brush up to 3'' tree saplings , does very well on all kinds of tough weeds and brush . That size of area could be done in an hour or two .

Of course I would go the goat route Smiling we also have a couple goats
and yes they love poison ivy but do not let them kiss you after eating it Rolling my eyes. been there done that not a good thing Thumbs down
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
Image
ctcarol
Nov 4, 2016 7:27 PM CST
Cinda, you beat me to it. I was just going to suggest renting either a brush hog or goats. We use goats for fire control on steep hillsides here too, but I think they come with a goat hearder.

Page 1 of 2 • 1 2

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by rocklady and is called "Fringe Tree"