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Land Clearing

Discussion in 'Dozers' started by JS300, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    I've been clearing a couple hundred acres of locust for about year now. I started pulling and piling them with a skid steer which worked really good, kept the land pretty clean and the grass came back quick. This year I bought a dozer to speed things up and get the bigger stuff pushed down. The locust we are clearing are from 2-8 inches around and from 8-25' tall and so thick in most places you can't walk through them. I've had a few guys out running the dozer for me with varying results, I'd like to hear how some of yall would tackle a project like this. I've been angling the blade and digging them out one and a time then piling with a brush rake. The guy I have out now is walking them down and then piling. He is going slower than I do but the end result is cleaner. I'm certainly no expert so told him to do what ever he thinks is best. Guess I'm wondering what yall think is best way to clear really thick stuff with a dozer and how many acres can be done in a day?
     
  2. LT-x7

    LT-x7 Senior Member

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    It's impossible to estimate production without knowing what size/model dozer you are using. The difference in production between a 15k pound and a 100k pound machine would be substantial.
     
  3. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . .

    JS300. I don't know your "locust" of course but we have a horrible spikey thing called locust that I would tackle with a rig like this . .

    . stickrake-2.jpg

    The stuff is methodically walked down back and forth on a face with the rake as low as possible . . . see those horizontal bars? . . . the object is to get it laying flat.

    Then, working back and forth at ninety degrees to the direction it was walked down push it into piles.

    I realise you wont have a rake like that but if the dozer is big enough you can temporally chain or weld some railway line or drill pipe under the blade when knocking down to take a wider swath.

    I don't know what you folks call a "brush rake" but you need something that will just brush the ground at this stage and not stir up too much soil.

    I believe just stacking with a blade would be more effective than the typical U.S. style root rake on this application . . . the blade will tend to shear the whippy stuff which is usually such a pain in the azz with a wide toothed rake with no horizontal cutters.

    The main thing is to be neat and methodical and always work at ninety degrees to your previous pass.

    Some pictures would be good. (big grin)

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  4. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    Dozer is a Case 850G 90hp around 18,000#.
    Scrub Puller the locust I'm talking about are the thorny type, I hate these things. Your method sounds good I would have to weld some bars on my rake but I can do that. I am hoping to get a couple acres a day cleared. It's just hard to guess how long it will take in each area. I cleared a 15 acre field that was spotty with the skid steer in about 6 hours today but the dozer has been working on maybe 2 acres of really thick stuff all day.
    I will post pics if I can figure out how.
     
  5. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

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    Like Scrub Puller I don't know what locust is but from your comments a chopper roller would be a handy tool to knock it down then use a stick to finnish the job.
     
  6. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    I'm supposed to go demo a chopper roller next week. Thinking about using it to finish off whats left and get the roots plus use it every year for pasture areration. We are on East Texas black land and the soil gets really tight. Looking at a Lawson / Ranchworx Chopper. They are really expensive so I hope it pays off.
     
  7. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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  8. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    lantraxco my rake looks nearly identical to the top pic. I use it and really like it but the guy that works for me doesn't like it so just uses the blade. I'm not gonna complain cuz it's nearly impossible to find a hand that will even show up around here.
    Scrub-- if I had a dozer like the one in your pic I'd be the talk of the town . I bought this place to run cows on, it attaches to my place or I would have run from it. I guessed 500 hours to clear it and we are at around 375 now. About 250 on the skid and 125 on the dozer. Think we have about 50 acres to go. We are just in the really thick stuff now was reason for questions. I'm gonna try to post pics from my phone.
     
  9. D6c10K

    D6c10K Senior Member

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    Not the best pics, but this is what a honey locust looks like.....nasty branching thorns that can be 6-8" long all the way up the trunk and smaller ones on every branch. They can get to be quite large. I fight them here all the time.

    locust.jpg

    locust2.JPG
     
  10. hvy 1ton

    hvy 1ton Senior Member

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    To make the trees even better the thorns can cause pretty massive inflammation when they break off under the skin. I had my left hand swell up to where i could barely use it after spending a day cutting locust out of fence. Gloves only stop most of the thorns.
     
  11. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    Thats the trees I'm fighting hard to believe but I bought 210 acres that was covered in them. Those thorns are nasty too. Yesterday I opened the door on the SS to clean of the window and when I hopped back in there was one in the seat . My dozer operator ran for 2 days then called and said he wasn't coming back until I got side screens and front guards for him. I'll be glad when this project is over.
     
  12. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

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    What about using(hiring) a tracked forestry mulcher. It would smash those thorns:D and everything else.
     
  13. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    I looked into mulching the trees but got mixed reviews. It seems the mulcher doesn't get the thorns good enough and they will cause foot problems in cattle later on. The main problem with mulching locust though is the regrowth. If you cut say a 8" locust down a little tree will grow from the roots and stump now you have to try and chemically kill the root ball with a little plant on top and it just doesn't work very well. I think the best bet would have been to spray Grazon Nxt with a helicopter wait a year and doze the dead trees down. I just couldn't get a helicopter out for 200 acres. They want a couple thousand acres, unless they happen to be in the area. I'm trying to get a roller chopper to go over the cleared ground now. I think this will get the left over roots and all the littler stuff the dozer missed.
     
  14. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    As soon as I saw land clearing in the title I figured it would be about TX. Black locust is a big money maker, waaaayyyy better then any treated lumber on the market, last more then twice as long if not longer. The ole saying is, treated lumber 15yrs, cedar 30yrs, black locust 75yrs. Ole timers that use it for fence post will set a rock on top and tell ya, "when the rock turns to dust it's time to change the post." Honey locust is only good for planting under your daughters window, keeps the boys away :D :D
     
  15. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . .

    JS300

    I realise Texas is the home of roller choppers and imagine they would be fine for keeping cleared country under control but, in my experience with choppers on similar species they do little to actually eradicate the problem . . . sure looks good when its double chopped though.

    If you are happy to use chemicals, once you get the country cleared and you have a lovely crop of regrowth it may be an option to build a spray rig and mount it on the dozer . . . nothing flash, just say a couple of lengths of bore casing or whatever mounted on the blade or rippers and an off the shelf poly tank and gasoline driven pump.

    I used to plumb the nozzles onto high pressure poly pipe fastened to brackets welded to the bore casing. It wasn't pretty but it worked.

    The other option of course is a couple of workings with a decent disc-plough after rain or a horizontal cutter bar . . . both effective but expensive.

    Then again you could put the money into fencing and flog it hard with goats for a few years.

    There is no easy fix.

    Cheers.
     
  16. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    There is definitely no easy fix and I think I could spend a fortune out there. Lol. I got a guy coming to spray next week. Only good thing about Honey Locust is they are very easy to kill. I will try to post a few pics in the morning.
     
  17. D6c10K

    D6c10K Senior Member

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    I'd be curious to know what mix ratio of Grazon Next that you find effective on larger trees. Do you have good success with it on other, harder to kill, species like osage orange & red cedar? Cedar won't regrow if cut or pushed out but osage orange will regrow from stumps. Dozing small trees isn't real practical here as you tear up the ground badly and it can be difficult to get seeding restarted in our clay soils.
     
  18. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    I agree it is harder to kill the larger locust with next. Just mix it per the label and make sure you get the leaves sprayed good. Banvil will kill locust too. I haven't found anything for osage orange or ceder. I have been pulling the osage that I can roots and all. Like you said cedar doesn't come back. I agree that it is a slow go dozing the smaller trees and rough on the ground put what are you going to do. I try to pull trees with the skid steer when I can. I've actually cleared as much or more with it as I have the dozer. I plan on overseeding Bermuda next year and hoping for the best.
    This was a great cattle pasture 15 years ago, it's really a shame the owner let it go.
     
  19. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    land clearing.jpg dozer.jpg
    Maybe these pics will show up. One is of a spot we have been working on and the other is of the dozer and rake we are using.
     
  20. JS300

    JS300 Senior Member

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    locust.jpg
    This is a pic of a locust I pulled with the Skid Steer. The puller works good because you can shake the dirt of the stump back into the hole you just made and the piles burn down to nothing.