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Tree clearing technique?

Discussion in 'Forestry Operations' started by D6c10K, Sep 28, 2021.

  1. Coaldust

    Coaldust Senior Member

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    Mulchers are amazing. That’s awesome.
     
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  2. D6c10K

    D6c10K Senior Member

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    Looks nice. All that mulch would be good cover until the grass gets going. Unless you're removing stumps I'd have a lot of regrowth from osage and locust.
     
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  3. treemuncher

    treemuncher Senior Member

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    Spot spray with proper herbicides to kill off stumps once the sprouts come up. Crossbow will kill woody species without killing grasses. Win-win.
     
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  4. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    I like to paint it on some stuff that's imbedded in other woody plants that I want to keep.
     
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  5. .RC.

    .RC. Senior Member

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    Push them all over with the blade. Then a stickrake to rake them up.
     
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  6. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

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    Depending on the rain fall in your area use treemunchers method but with a slight difference. Get the mulcher to rough cut an area then throw seed onto it , then get the mulcher to do the finish cut. That way the seed is mixed into the mulch and a little top soil. With a few days of steady rain you'll be grazing stock in about 3 months. The other benefits, no erosion and another layer of good soil. The stumps stay and won't rot down and are not any problem in pastoral areas, cultivated areas different story.
    The above method I used when I was in business doing this type of work and never had an unhappy customer :D
     
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  7. Queenslander

    Queenslander Senior Member

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    Iam with .RC.
    There would be countless thousands of acres around the world that have been developed with 10K D6s.
    Would be good to see some photos of the timber you are dealing with.
     
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  8. treemuncher

    treemuncher Senior Member

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    I encourage my customers to just throw seed down right on top of the mulch and let it percolate down. Seems to work just fine. Also, native grasses come up easily as well. I always try to leave any grass root base intact and it will recover within days of the next rain. Most important thing is to keep the work area bush hogged about 3x year to kill off stump sprouts and large weeds. This will cause the grasses to re-establish and thicken up. Our weather is naturally wet here so trees and grasses grow fast.
     
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  9. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    It all gets down to overall costs, fire is the cheapest, mulching is the highest price, especially when you figure in chemical costs over the next few years, done it about ever way clearing can be done. The only place we mulch or grind anything anymore is where burning is banned, otherwise we burn everything. If you have anyone nearby with a feller buncher, its not been mentioned yet, but you can clear cut everything, then shove it all into piles [with your D6 if you have a brush rake on it] and burn the bulk of the woody material and not have to deal with the stumps, then chemicals can take care of regrowth later on, still much cheaper than mulching everything. We've done this a few times on smaller parcels where we were close to rock and the owner didn't want things grubbed and didn't want to deal with the mulch. That way you have instant grass. We've even done this method, then stump ground the stumps level or slightly below the ground [maybe 6 inches] then the owner came back and filled the larger stump holes in with dirt to level everything off so he had a nice level grassed area. Not something I'd recommend unless you have a lot of time on your hands and nothing better to do, but thought I'd mention it just the same. As they say some retired guys like this method, it gives them something to do and basically gets them out of the wife's way for a while and out of the house.

    We've also ground off the tree's and instead of mulching them up, we've shoved them into piles and just burned the tops to save a huge amount of the costs of mulching everything, that way the stumps are ground level, but it still requires chemicals to keep the regrowth at bay, [many don't like to have to spray their pastures or non farming ground] but we've done this before too. This method works best for brush type stuff, like chemically killed off willows. Then shove the brush into piles and burn them up.

    I don't know if you have any willow trees anywhere in this mix, but if you do, those we chemically kill before we do anything, by grinding or mulching, every single piece will regrow with a willow once it rains and will for years afterwards. I'd doubt you have willows to deal with unless you near a creek or stream, southern Iowa isn't really plentiful with them like most of the rest of Iowa, but thought I should mention it just the same.
     
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  10. D6c10K

    D6c10K Senior Member

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    To avoid regrowth, my brother has gone to killing osage with Remedy before pulling them out with an excavator. You mix it with diesel fuel and spray the bark around the base of the tree.
    Works pretty well if you don't have hundreds to do. I may use it on large honeylocust that can't easily be reached on ditch banks.
     
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  11. treemuncher

    treemuncher Senior Member

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    Agreed if the stumps have to be dealt with for row cropping, then yes, Slash & Burn is generally the cheapest method. Especially if it is a do-it-yourself job with lots of available time and very little funding available. Turning logged off terrain into pasture will likely be cheapest if mulched, provided you are using suitably sized mulching equipment. If a logger clear cuts and chips the tops/slash, then mulching is much faster and cheaper than stump removal. Mulchers rated for 16", 20" or larger are productive and efficient machines. Anything less is too small to be cost competitive unless it's in extreme conditions.

    Lots of variables on any job. Size, species, density, terrain and finish quality. If mulching was not competitively priced to Slash & Burn, I would have been out of business well over 20 years ago and still doing it with a hoe, a match and a fan. Lots of times, I can mulch it faster and cheaper than Slash & Burn. Time is money. That's why I sub for a lot of other contractors. Every method has its place but not every dog is ready for a new trick.

    When I did S&B with a dozer, the pin on brush rake sped up my clearing time and kept fires cleaner. Still the same basic method - clean out the small stuff first so that the big stuff does not get hung up and you have an open path to push within. With a hoe, a demolition rake & thumb beats a bucket and burn in a pit to keep the job cleaner. A fan will provide more needed oxygen and get the job burned down much faster. Cribbing up a fire pile about 6-10 feet tall at the base prior to lighting off will produce a naturally aspirated inferno with the cleanest and hottest burn properties. Those burn insanely fast and hot.
     
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  12. Evening Digger

    Evening Digger Well-Known Member

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    Hey Treemuncher, what exactly do you mean by "cribbing up?"
     
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  13. treemuncher

    treemuncher Senior Member

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    Cribbing as in shoring and stabilization structure. I build it out of logs that I will burn anyways and with logs as large a diameter as possible. I run a PC200 with a clearing rake and matching hydraulic thumb so I can reach about 25'+ high to stack my piles if I do S&B.

    Build a structure that looks like this, but shorter, with logs to an elevation of 5'-10' at the top row. What matters is that you have room for air flow into the base of the pile. Ignore the dimensions of cut timbers as shown in the definition drawing. Just build it out of scrap logs as long and wide as you have the materials for and 5'-10' tall.
    cribbing.jpg
    • You can build a crib over a dug pit with air inlets dug out at the 4 sides for best air flow. A dug pit will also retain your ashes for easy clean up.
    • Load your brush pile on top of the cribbing structure as high as you can reach it. Preferably set the dryest material towards the bottom or middle.
    • I prefer a small diesel Molotov cocktail as a starter if the material is good and dry. Heave it in midway and the diesel will leak down through the pile and things will start quickly. A pump up sprayer with diesel is also a great starter, especially mixed into the airstream of a leaf blower. Oxygen is the most important ingredient to get it going good and nothing beats fast air flow over a trickle of diesel for cost effectiveness.
    • Cool, dense air will be entrained through the slats of the crib and feed up into the brush pile laid above the cribbing. Rising heat will create a vacuum below and feed the oxygen faster and burn the material faster as well as cleaner. Once things start burning down enough to refuel, grab a wad and place it on top of the burning pile. Keep the burn refueled at the top of the structure and the cribbing will last quite a while as cool air feeds into the bottom and 100'+ flames incinerate everything above.
    When I tried this method, the fire was so hot and so extreme that I had to keep the excavator door closed due to the radiant heat. My material had 1-2 days drying time after it hit the ground. Once my cocktail started, 15 seconds later and there was no chance to put it out unless I had a fire hose. As fast as I could grab, track and stuff a wad on top of the pile, it was burning full bore as soon as I could repeat the process. I burned the majority of 2+ acres of heavy scrap wood, tops and some mulching chips from 2 PM-7PM that day. NOT the type of fire you want in a residential setting!
     
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  14. skyking1

    skyking1 Senior Member

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    When I burned piles on the freeway job, I found out what was the weakest link. Some think it is the radiant heat on your face, the backs of your hands on the sticks. No. It is your nipples. That was what made me turn away first :D
    I had a really rattly loose 225, the dozer guy built the piles ahead of me with an 8K with a brush rake. It was on the highway 3 widening out towards Poulsbo.
     
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  15. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    Thank you for a great explanation.
    I'm in Vermont.
    I'd bet we log more hours of rain than anywhere else on the planet.
    Weather Channel predicts a sunny day today today. Mrs. B just returned from Rutland, it rained part way.
    Trash wood won't willingly burn.
    I brought a couple loads of pine home, cut & split it fine. Gotta wait for dry weather to break up a boulder.

    In the old days I used tires. At least three tires stacked, first was filled with gasoline, second with diesel, third with old engine oil. Build the pile on them.
     
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  16. treemuncher

    treemuncher Senior Member

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    Willie,
    That made me laugh! I grew up in MA and spent plenty of time in VT. New England does not know what a heavy rain is except when a hurricane rolls through. You ain't seen rain till you move to the South! Winter months can be 30 days of rain without sun. About 50" per year is normal for me here. I had 8.8" hit in one day last month and nearly 95% of that hit within a 6 hour window. That turned into 14"-20" for those poor people down in Waverly. It's not the PNW, but it's wet and always humid.

    Here's how to build a good fire starter/burner unit. I only like to burn on rainy days for safety reasons and this will get ANYTHING combustible to burn, even in the pouring rain. It's basically an oil furnace burner unit stepped up in size. Atomize the fuel and provide lots and lots of oxygen :
    • Get some 1/2" or 3/4" black iron pipe lengths. Longer is better as this will be shoved into the burn pile.
    • Get some steel ag spray tips or pressure washer tips with a wide fan spray pattern (25 to 40 degrees) and related fittings to thread the spray tips to the end of the black pipe.
    • 12 volt fuel pump rated at 50 psi or higher, 1 gpm or higher and a 12 volt battery
    • hose clamps, misc fittings and enough fuel hose to keep a distance - maybe 20 feet or more
    One end of the black pipe will be the fuel inlet. Plumb accordingly to your fuel hose size and connect fuel hose to inlet end. Other end of pipe is your sprayer tip that should produce a misting fan spray of diesel when under pressure. Leave a good length of hose to get from the inlet of the black pipe to your fuel reservoir - I use a plastic 5 gallon oil pail. Pipe in the fuel pump on top of the pail with the outlet going to the inlet of the spray wand. Don't forget a cheap filter (G-2 inline) before the inlet of the pump. My system will run close to 30 minutes with a 5 gallon pail of diesel.

    You can pre-soak a rag with diesel, tie it to the tip of the wand, light it and then shove it into the heart of the pile. Kick on the fuel pump and get the party started. Now, using a backpack leaf blower, or my choice, the almighty T-VAC that has been converted to a pto blower for my tractor for the best possible blow job, and blow lots of air to that flame. tvac.jpg
    Direct that airflow to the flame and get your weenies ready for crispification. Sometimes I use a trench or a metal culvert to direct my airflow to the base of the fire pile. The beauty of the wand is that you can move the fuel/flame about to get the fire burning best where you can get the air to the fuel. Once the fire is rocking, keep the air flow going and you can withdraw your wand. It won't matter how wet it is, things will be burning along nicely once initiated properly and fed lots of air.
     
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  17. Willie B

    Willie B Senior Member

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    Last effort to burn on "The Land" was a number of BIG dead pines gathered up, lots of brush from other projects, some old lumber piled too long. As luck would have it, we need to schedule ahead of time for a fire permit, it rained. Ten gallons of diesel, a leaf blower, nothing worked.

    A more recent effort here at home, Andy, (an extra son) had hauled several loads of pine 4' chunks to "the land". I went down, got two loads, about 6 yards each. I cut them 24" & split them fine. Yes, it burned well, I destroyed a monster rock I hadn't been able to lift.
    A second 12 foot long boulder I wasn't able to fully expose. My goal is to break it enough to be below grade, or enough to move. First fire weakened it with some breakage. I got the backhoe home today, next opportunity I'll clean out, work from the other side. I've got a cord of split pine left to fuel. You planted a seed of thought, I have a barrel of old engine oil for free fuel to supplement. I think I'll use compressed air to make a sprayer.
     
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  18. DMiller

    DMiller Senior Member

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    Honey Locust will need the Remedy and or Tordon to shut the root structure down or will have MILLIONS of saplings next spring. Renters home spun concoction is mix pint pint pint of 2-4-D, Crossbow and Tordon in recommended water base, spray ALL green and in growing phase vegetation, make certain ALL leaves are treated, root structure will succumb. Commercially is called Pasture Clear.
     
  19. Evening Digger

    Evening Digger Well-Known Member

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    All good ideas and thanks.

    Here's what's worked well for me. I'll dig a trench maybe 8-10 feet wide, about 8' deep, and usually 25-30 feet long or so. At one end I'll slope the end at about a 45 degree angle. I put the fan on this sloped end so that it's pointing down into the trench. Start fire in trench and turn on fan once it's beginning to burn.

    This gets really hot inside the trench. The bigger the fan you have the faster it will burn. I've used a 4' shop fan with good results. My current fan is something left over from smoke evacuation on a restaurant. It's fairly big but not like treemuncher's beast.
     
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  20. bam1968

    bam1968 Senior Member

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    If there are just a handful of large trees then I try to make my piles as close to them as possible. That usually cuts down on the mess quite a bit.
     
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