Saplings vs tractors?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Mountaineer, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    I have about 500-600 young deciduous trees, 1-2.5 inches in diameter at the trunk base, growing up one side of the field. Digging is not really an option, way too many and not enough time right now.
    Next spring I hope to have the field tilled, subsoiled, and seeded. If I cut all of these saplings down to the ground with the chainsaw and burn the debris, will the "stumps" (stubs) be an issue for a tractor with those attachments???
    I was going out with the chainsaw tomorrow, then thought that it just may be a very bad plan for the tractor......
    Thanks for any ideas.
     
  2. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    I'd bushhog em down... preferably with a dullish blade... as close to the ground as possible... this way the "stumps" will have raggedy edges... Next year you wouldn't have too many problems with tires...

    Now if you chainsaw or chop em down, and have smooth edges, or worse, angled edges, or 'solid stump' edges, good chance of getting a tire puncture...

    no matter what, sounds like you've got your hands full...
     

  3. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Texican. I don't have a brushog but I'm searching for one.
    Could a tiller/subsoiler be used through the roots of the cut off stumps?
     
  4. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    That small around here if your not wanting any problems with roots,stobs,or more sprouts they pull them with either a Tractor or Pickup.

    big rockpile
     
  5. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What are you going to seed? I would not, for example, want to combine soybeans or cut alfalfa off of that field next year!

    --->Paul
     
  6. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    You would be surpised how Goats will ride them down.

    big rockpile
     
  7. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

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    less than 2 inches, goats will girdle them makes them easy to pull-if you have the time and can afford to wait another year. worked well for us some years back on the last place. Fence it, pasture meat goats in there over the winter, and sell off the goats in the fall (great if you have an ethnic market nearby). Cheap and easyway to get it done, may pay for it and put money in your pocket if you can wait on it. If it gets enough sun, you might be abe to put a green manure crop in there like cover to work on feeding the soil, bringing up minerals and increasing the nitrogen while you wait.

    If not, then I'd leave em whole, and then doze them out before the ground gets wet in the spring. Otherwise you'll just grow a bunch of new trees in that pasture.... thats what happened to us in one spot where I tried it without dozing. Probably only need a dozer for a day or two. can use some small strategic brushpiles for wildlife management,and/or burn pile em (if you can legally and based on your situation) and spread the ashes before you till em in.

    Depending on what wood they are, and where you are, if you can get a bunch of similar sized ones that are straight and fairly clean, there may be a market for them among craftspeople or tourists. (walking sticks, rustic furniture makers, woodworkers,firewood sales for campers, etc)
     
  8. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

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    sure if you have tractor enough. an 8N sure wont do it. 60 horse or bigger, and a moleboard plow will do it.
     
  9. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Icelandic sheep + saplings = no trees. But it took them four years to do it. AND we've got a certain amount of "damp" going on spring and fall, which appreciably speeded up the rotting process. However, having cleared a section this way I'd have to say patience is a major virtue. Our contribution has been taking the knocked over sticks (which is all that's left by the time they get done with them) out and burning them.

    The sheep benefit because the trees, with their deep root structures, pull up minerals into their leaves and bark they don't get from plain pasture, so the sheep are happy. I benefit because I don't have to clear. But I'll tell you... there's a reason places that have had sheep for centuries don't have trees. These things can demolish a tree in minutes. I've seen my big ram hook a horn into a tree to bring it down and the lambs swarm the crown like fluffy locusts. In seconds you've got nude tree!

    I agree with whoever said "dozer." You can do a ton of happy damage with a dozer for a day. If you want this to happen at speed a dozer and fire are the way to go.
     
  10. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    the way to pull them is with a few chains bacak your tractor up to the edge of the area say 10 fet or sapling heightfrom the first one . run a chain out into it looping around saplings asyou go. hook on other chains to the first at various places and do the same the trick is to slack the line so that you are only pulling one at a time. but several with each pull. if you loop at waist height our trcter will get better leverage on the bigger ones . there aretwo ways we loop them eiter just a turn or 2 around the trunk or around the trunk under the chain then U back over the chain and on to the next..you will find the last one a lot more hassel to undo but it holds a slippery trunk better. with practice and enough chains you will be able to pull12 to 30 saplings at a pull..
    Be sure to let the clutch out and have the tractor rolling before it starts to pull the saplings this is low gear work NOT clutch work
     
  11. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    I discovered by accident that if you wait for them to freeze up a bit, you can drive them down and they will snap off at the ground.

    The will not apply to the larger ones, but if you could cut the number you have to cut in half, not a bad deal.

    If that does not work, I vote hire a bulldozer. You will be surrpised how fast they will be down. Look around and see if there might be anything else you would want to have them do since they are there and most charge a minimum hourly rate. New pond? Future foundation? Road?

    If you start to cut them, buy a chain sharpener. You will pay for it in the first few days of work.
     
  12. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

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    I'd get a dozer in there. You try pulling them with that tractor, you're asking for trouble. Had a friend try to pull a tree with one and he flipped the tractor on himself. May he rest in peace. :nono:
     
  13. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    So because of one stupid move you never use the tractor agin? Naw ya just stay within the capabilities of the unit.

    Are you familer with your tractor? Do you have the ability to clutch if the front starts to climb? Will these SAPLINGS come outa the ground easily? Yes there are safety questions but heck runing a chainsaw at ground level isnt quite as safe as the libarey either.
     
  14. Tricky Grama

    Tricky Grama Well-Known Member

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    Can you borrow a DR mower? We got rid of about an ac of saplings-from 1/2" to 3" in diameter w/our DR mower. Some came back but just mowed 'em again.
     
  15. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    Been having the same ongoing problem with "Buck-thorn".
    A lot of them are in uneven ground that you can't get a tractor to.
    These I have cut at the ground,(by hand) then painted the stumps with "Round-up", full strength. Lots of work.( yeah, I know not organic!) But it works!

    In the open, use the tractor with brush hog, no problem with tires yet, but gotta tell ya, there is a whole lot of mayhem going on under that mower!
    When done, I use the round up in a hand sprayer on the stumps. This slows them down for a year or so, but you gotta keep after them.

    They seem to be sprouting from the roots, so next spring, gonna try pulling them out with the tractor. Hook the chain to the front bucket and back up.
    This way no flipping and can use the bucket for lifting as well as pulling.
     
  16. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The little stuff is a bigger pain in the bottom than the big stuff...I think. I'd rent a loader/dozer/skid steer to push them over if possible, but MorrisonCorner's suggestion sounds intriguing and natural, if time permits.
     
  17. LMonty

    LMonty Well-Known Member

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    Hey mountaineer- this was in another thread:

    Need Maple, Oak, Willow, or Hickory Poles

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I need wooden poles from 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter and as long as possible. With the bark undamaged.
    long poles could be cut in half to ship.
    Willow, Oak, Maple, or Hickory

    kybarrels@gmail.com
     
  18. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Your basic JD 544 with a root rake can cure the problem in a day or less, at a cost of about $60.00 per hour. No stumps left at all.
     
  19. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas! It is a tough one. The strip is 1600' long and about 20' wide swath. Fencing for goats/sheep isn't feasible at the moment.
    Yeah my tractor is 20hp and nobody likes to hire themselves out around here.

    The goal was to trade any hay for odd tractor jobs such as this around here but no takers...

    It is true about flipping the tractor. I'll try out very small, maybe just cut off the larger ones.

    The pasture is too soft for any larger machinery till late spring (when I have no time till it's wet again).
     
  20. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    A track hoe makes nice work of this but nothing leaves the feild as clean as pulling them