Ask a Question forum: How should I clear this??

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BDavide
Apr 7, 2017 7:50 PM CST
Hello,

A majority of my 3 acre lot is covered in shrubs/bushes and saplings. I'm trying to find the best and safest method of clearing it all out to eventually fertilize/seed into a lawn. The pictures make the area seem much less clustered than it really is, with the spring growth the area is totally consumed by the brush and thorny stems. The trees > 5 feet in height I would like to leave. Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks!
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 7, 2017 7:57 PM CST
Is it fenced? Could you borrow some goats?
Porkpal
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 7, 2017 8:01 PM CST
How about hiring a guy with a bulldozer (or even a small Bobcat) for a couple of hours? He could level the ground for your lawn at the same time.

It looks like a daunting task that could take years if you try to clear it by hand. But if that's your only option, start with a small area near the house, and work your way outwards, digging up the small stuff and leaving the bigger trees.

Be sure the trees you leave are of a type you will want growing. It would be a shame to let them grow big before you discover they are messy or not pretty. (you can post some pictures once they leaf out if you need help to ID them)
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
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plantmanager
Apr 7, 2017 9:16 PM CST
I would wonder if you really want that much lawn to water, fertilize and mow? It could become gorgeous with some different paved sitting areas and beds with flowering shrubs.
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Apr 8, 2017 12:17 AM CST
Part of this is how fast you want to do it, and what cost. Bobcat etc for fast. Elaine's gradual method for slow.

One person's messy tangle wasteland is another person's wildlife habitat and viewing area... As the bigger trees grow, they will shade more and cut down on the scrubby stuff. But the scrubby stuff will persist a long time and you may not be up for dealing with that.

Get some quotes for clearing. The cost may help decide whether you really want to clear it all. 3 acres of lawn will mean 3 acres of mowing too...I think adding some lawn will help you feel out of the woods and maybe able to tolerate what remains, as you reduce the worst and let trees grow.



..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
France (Zone 8b)
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Alimoso
Apr 8, 2017 3:51 AM CST
Yeah goats would do a good jobs clearing all that.

It's true what the others said about having so much lawn. So many people think that lawns are the easiest to keep, but it's really not true. It takes a lot of time and effort, believe me!
I have 10 acres of land. We leave about 7 acres and get a farmer over to cut and collect the hay.
The other 3 acres is our garden and a great deal of it is lawn and it takes forever to mow. About 3 or 4 hours a week and that's with a riding lawn mower!
I am trying to grow bushes as quick as possible to reduce the size of the lawn!

If you have lots of bushes, trees, shrubberies etc, they can cover a lot of land and look awesome. The best thing is that they don't need a lot of looking after. A quick trim once or twice a year and you are done!

So maybe you should try and cut away some of it, leaving the best trees and bushes.
You don't have to do it all in one go, start clearing away the part closest to your house and driveway.
Get some friends over and exchange a barbecue for some gardening. Sticking tongue out
I know exactly how you are feeling though, 3 acres is a lot and gardens take years to grow. I have only been here a year and often I wish I had a magic wand to speed everything up!!!

BDavide
Apr 8, 2017 5:03 PM CST
Thanks for all the advice.

My wife and I would like to have goats on the property but I don't think a containment fence nor winter shelter is within my next couple years game plan. I do not necessarily want it all as grassy lawn, but at least clear enough to walk through. In the summer you can't take 2 steps without being tangled, it's VERY clustered. I unfortunately lack the eco knowledge to identifiy different plant life making it hard for me to pick and choose which growth to remove and which to leave.
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
Apr 8, 2017 5:08 PM CST
See if you can find someone knowledgeable to come walk your land with you and tell you what you should save. Bet you do have some good plants in there. We have land like this too. We have 10 acres, and only about 1 acre is groomed and almost like I want it. The rest is just native and may never get cleared!
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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Apr 9, 2017 7:35 AM CST
BDavide said:unfortunately lack the eco knowledge to identifiy different plant life making it hard for me to pick and choose which growth to remove and which to leave.

Now.... You are looking at this project from a better place.

Lawns are about the worst use of garden space.

But not knowing what you have.... Is easily resolvable.

There's a plant ID forum here.... Take a picture of each plant... Post on the forum.... Try to post one or two at a time.... When each plant is identified, you can make a decision as to desirability.

It's always shocking when a beautiful patch of environment is killed to make room for turf.

I actually do have patches of turf at my house.... Invasive stuff is everywhere....

Once you figure out where to put some paths.... You'll be less concerned about the rest.... And ... Once you start learning what you have..... You wouldn't want to kill it.

BDavide
Apr 9, 2017 8:49 PM CST
Thanks Stone,
A greenthumb relative once surveyed my lot and was shockingly pointing out all sorts of blackberry, strawberry and flower plants. They unfortunately have little growth from surrounding invasion. So yes if I clear the bad stuff out i'll probably end up with a nice natural area of healthy growth.. and snacks!
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Apr 10, 2017 6:06 AM CST
It must be near overwhelming. If you can mow or get a brush cutter to just make some paths, chances are they are not going to mow over 'that one prize wildflower' in the process. Any one thing that you see a LOT of, go ahead and cut some of it. (Even the blackberries would be helped by getting rid of old canes)
The more I think, the less I know where you would start! Any special features to work around- a creek, some mature trees..?
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Apr 10, 2017 6:32 AM CST
sallyg said:It must be near overwhelming. If you can mow or get a brush cutter to just make some paths....

y'all have no idea about what a thicket looks like....
Those pics make the space look wide open to these southern eyes....

I am used to everything being so thick that a walk through the brush rips the clothes off your back.

I need to look around and try to find pictures of my yard before I started clearing out the smilax....

In that yard....I'd just walk around looking at stuff, and I would soon have paths just from the act of walking around.

Once the spring wildflower season starts.... You will be drawn out into the garden more.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 10, 2017 6:41 AM CST
You do not mention whether there is a house on your lot. Do you need to clear it partly to choose a house site?
Porkpal
Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
Ex zones 4b, 8b, 9a, 9b
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McCannon
Apr 10, 2017 7:54 AM CST
@BDavide, One thing to keep in mind, if you bring in a dozer or a bobcat, that is probably going to have a detrimental effect on your topsoil. If you're in no hurry, I would clear a manageable section at a time, and expand as necessary. Nice looking plot by the way Thumbs up
The aboriginal people of the world and many other cultures share a common respect for nature and the universe, and all of the life that it holds. We should learn from them!

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