Recommendations on brushcutters

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Chickieeeee, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. Chickieeeee

    Chickieeeee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Hi,

    We are looking at clearing our 2.5 acres of land of the brush that has been steadily growing and growing and growing.

    It is mostly French broom, tall grass and hemlock. So, none of it is really thick. Just alot of it and too much for a trimmer. So, does anyone have any experience with a brand that they recommend.

    I have looking into the Echo brushcutter. It is $600 and not really legal in CA, where we live. So, that is an obstacle. Seriously $600 though?

    We have other Echo brand things, and are extremely happy with them, but I am not sure that I can dish out that money unless it is my only option.

    Opinions? Comments?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    And the reason this cannot be cut with a lawnmower is?
     

  3. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    Messages:
    15,606
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    If you're set on a brushcutter, my suggestion would be either a Jonsered or a Stihl....both companies make a full line of brushcutters. Make sure you get one with a straight-shaft (not a J-shaft). The saw on my Jonsered brushcutter has a carbide-tipped blade...never has to be sharpened. It works great.
     
  4. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,487
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Why not hire someone with a tractor and bush-hog------would not cost that much and there would not be any up-keep. Just a thought!! Randy

     
  5. Chickieeeee

    Chickieeeee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Ah, a very good question!

    It is on a hill! The fire department says it must be cut though. And they are very vigilant about us doing it.
     
  6. Gideon

    Gideon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    460
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Fence it and add a couple of goats. If it is ariable why not make it a garden or orchard.
     
  7. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Earth
    Hmmmm...

    Hill...
    California....

    ??????


    GRAPES!!!
     
  8. kmaproperties

    kmaproperties Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    222
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Location:
    ohio
    I agree with cabin, I have a stihl with a saw blade and it will cut 1 inch trees and anything alse in its way.
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Check with your string cutter dealer to see if you can simply buy a different head to hold a brushcutter. For example on my Stihl 083 (I think) I have the option of a string head, two types of hard blades, a saw blade and a head with three plastic swing-out teeth. All have their good and bad points.

    As you note, a string cutter doesn't work very well on anything but grasses. The fixed blades often have problems with either getting caught up in or not cutting grasses very well. You basically have to used them as a motorized scythe. Being fixed, if you hit something with the blade (even if it cuts through it) it is working on the corners of the drive shaft on the top and bottom. Replacements shafts are rather expensive. The white swing out teeth are a rather poor compromise between string and a fixed blade.

    For a while there was a TV commercial for replacement wires for a string trimmer. I saw some in use, and they work fairly well, but are expensive. TV ad says you only have to pay S&H on replacements, but what they don't say is it is based on a package on 12. Say it is $4.95 for 12. It then is $9.90 for 24, $14.85 for 36, etc.

    Two and a half acres is a lot to do by hand regardless of the method. Would something like a DRI mower be an option? Expensive, but they do have a reputation as a very good machine.

    Goats or hair sheep might be options also.
     
  10. Tiffin

    Tiffin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    403
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Central New York
    I know where you coming from Chickieee. We are looking to get a brushcutter for areas on our farm that a tractor and rotary cutter will not go, but the prices. There are Snapper, D&R, Swisher, Husqvarna, Echo, Toro, Scag; probably more. All pricey. I'm looking for a used one. Someone mentioned goats; not that easy; we have them. We tried moving them to different areas to use as weeders with no luck. They don't want to go very far from their shelter. Then they certainly won't stay unless someone stays with them. You would have to move shelter and fencing; lots of work and then get other food and water. Anyway, good luck. Let us know what you find.
     
  11. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,693
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    $600? I'll sell you my entire set of Stihl units for half that, plus all the accessories! That's way over the top.

    Straight shaft units are quite a bit sturdier than curved shaft units. And a steel brush blade cuts brush very well when attached to any machine.

    Being cheap, I buy at yardsales, or dumpster dive. Many a dead trimmer starts right up when you clean the carburetor.

    You might want to look at the expand-it Homelite line usually carried by Home Depot and the like. Generic engine (California certified), with a whole bunch of interchangable lower units. Mini tiller, chain saw pruning bar, brush cutter, blower, etc. Friend has one, and I've got to admit, it's darn handy and works quite well. Heck of a lot cheaper than $600, and cheaper than buying all those things individually.
     
  12. Old John

    Old John Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,892
    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Hi Y'all,
    In '03 we moved out here, 13 acres & a pond, all grown up in everything,
    Mostly it was M-F Rose, Multi-Flora Rose, grown about 20 feet up in the trees.
    I tried for awhile, using a Brush cutter.........Nah. No luck. It just sorta bounced off of those roses. Waste of effort!
    I tried with a chain-saw, I really did. M-F roses ate my arms up. I HATE Multi-Flora rose.

    So we invested in a DR Brushmower. It was right around $2500.
    BIG investment. We got the 15 hp pro Model, with a 26 inch blade,
    1/4 inch thick. Sharpened on both sides, so all you do is flip it over.
    It Sure Ain't a Lawnmower. Weighs about 350#'s. About anyone can run it.
    But, It takes a big man to hoss-it around. I LOVE it.

    It will push over saplings or Sumac bushes, up to about 2 1/2 inches thick.
    And, it CHOPS them up.
    We have about 2 or 3 rough acres in the bottom along the road, that I keep cut.
    We have a rather steep hillside that had big Sycamores overshadowing the pine trees. So I cleaned out the Sycamores with a chainsaw & mulched the whole thing 5 inches deep with ground up brush piles. I'd Rented a commercial chipper. That did a fine job too.

    Now the brush, from Sycamore sprouts, blackberries & wild cherry sprouts have covered that hill. I go down, cutting them. Turn around. And I go back up, cutting them. Cleans it all up.

    Boy, with that DR, I can........"Git 'Er Done".
    In two years, I've only put about 65 or 70 hours on it. Long hard hours.
    But to me, It was worth every penny. No telling how long I would have
    been working to clean up my place without the DR. I'm now 66 yrs old.
    Prob'ly could not have got it done otherwise.
    You spend the money or you spend the Sweat & Time.
    All in what you want to spend.
    Take care.
     
  13. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    SC and soon to be NC
    I have been reading this post with interest as we have 15 acres that still need clearing of brush and vines in NC.
    The chainsaw worked okay but it would take me YEARS.

    Our little Poulan weedeater with blade attachment is sounding a little sick from trying to cut through this stuff...

    I was wondering if anyone had a DR type brushcutter and was it worth the $$$....
     
  14. Randy Rooster

    Randy Rooster Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Another option is to rent one of the dr type mower cutters. That is what I did- the local rental place carries a brand called the Bily Goat" which they claim is tougher than the dr mower. I got it over a weekend for about $75- worked it and myself to death, but the work I got done on hillsides and between trees I would have never been able to do with my full sized brush hog or by hand. Well worth the investment Of $75 and once it was cut I am now able to mow it with an old beater lawn mower a couple of times a year before the new growth hardens up. Much cheaper than buying and I didnt have baby the equiptment as I used it.
     
  15. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    I would keep an eye out for a used DR Mower (or similar). We bought one and it is great for spots I can't get into with the tractor and 5 foot brushhog. Given the daily rental of these mowers you can recoup the cost (compared to rentals) fairly quickly).

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  16. Chickieeeee

    Chickieeeee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Question for anyone that has experience with these DR Mowers: Can you used these on a hill? A steep hill? Our hill is rather steep and you cannot just walk up and down it easily. Would you have to hold onto it for dear life to not let it run away from you? I should say that this area of the land we are cutting is only about 1 acre and the rest is a gentle rolling hill.

    Thanks!
     
  17. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    The above on goats runs contrary to about everything I have seen and heard about them. Problem isn't normally how to get them to eat, but how to stop them from eating everything in sight. I suspect their problem is they had welfare goats which we kept fed until they had no need to go out and forage on their own. May have also been a milk goat breed. I suspect there would be entirely different results with meat goats, say the Boar breed.

    Once you had it trimmed down a buck and three does may be adequate, providing you with kids from time to time. If there are Spanish or Carribbean ethnic folks in your area there would be a ready market for the kids.

    But then you are in CA. What makes sense (and is legal) elsewhere in the U.S. often isn't in CA.
     
  18. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Some of our hills run to a 24% grade. I use our DR Mower without any problem going up, down or across. I'm a fairly big guy. I will admit that I do feel it at the end of the day and do try to take a break every hour or so for a few minutes.

    Mike
     
  19. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    western PA
    Well, I won't be much help, because at first glance, I thought you were asking for Recommendations on Bruschetta :rolleyes:


    We have always hired someone to cut our properties

    Often we trade for another service or garden produce or what have you

    There's always someone nearby willing to do it
     
  20. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,693
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    The DR trimmer and others like it are great at clearing heavy brush. But once you've done that, do you need to keep it around? Ah, that's a different question! Many times once it's cleared a regular mower will keep it cleared. So now you've got a DR that you never use. Often, renting one is more financially effective.

    They work well on hills, but they have weight, just like a lawnmower. They feel and pull you around very much like a large wheeled lawnmower would. You can use that thought as a rough guide for deciding if you'd use on on your hills or not. Many times, going across the hill is easier and safer with a push type mower.

    As for goats, the theory is they will eat anything. And some do. But many are darn picky, as many "hay wanted for picky goats" adds reflect. Scrub goats are far more likely to eat trash and brush than pedigree breeds.