Tom's Blog

Friday, July 10, 2015

Efficient removal of dense brush patches by volunteers

There is a lot of invasive brush removed in our area by volunteers. For scattered shrubs, hand loppers often work best, often as a two-person job, one on the loppers, the other on the spray bottle (containing 20% Garlon 4 in bark oil).

But many woody species are clonal and form dense patches. For this sort of work, nothing beats a Stihl brush cutter fitted with a saw-tooth blade. A single person operating the Stihl can remove a dense clone very quickly, with the rest of the volunteers operating the spray bottles.

In May we used this approach for a large, dense hazel clone at Black Earth Rettenmund Prairie. As the first photo shows, the clone was about 12 feet in diameter, and the stems were very close together. During the 15 minutes that Willis was cutting the clone, the volunteers were removing the cut stems to a nearby brush pile. As soon as the area was clear, they started treating the cut stems. Lots of stoop labor here, but the whole job took three people about 45 minutes. Because a sharp saw blade was used, the cut stems were very clean and even, making treatment very easy.
Treating cut stems of hazel with herbicide
The second photo shows this same site two months later. It is already filling in with native vegetation, mostly milkweed.

The site where the hazel clone had been, two months later (Amanda Budyak photo)


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