Much of the land we acquired had been overgrown in certain areas with brush. While there was ample open pasture and a water source for cattle we wanted to begin clearing areas that would make it much more useable and pleasing to the eye. Here I'll talk about some of the equipment that made this much easier and some tips I found during this process.
I began using a echo brush trimmer with a brush trimmer blade. This worked well for smaller vegetation that had accumulated in lesser amounts around trees and fence lines. This worked well at first for the smaller items but with larger brush I needed more power.....this always makes the wife happy :).
To begin clearing around a large oak tree in the middle of a valley I acquired a 20" echo chain saw and a Troybuilt 21cc trimmer with the brush and pole saw attachments. I quickly used up the brush trimmer blade and ordered two new replacement blades that were more like saw blades. Those things cut through 2"-3" saplings like butter. The chainsaw made even quicker work of the bigger brush and trees. Now most people think of a pole saw to be used for cutting limbs and higher branches. This is typical and I use it quite a bit for this purpose. However, what I really like about it is the ability to cut smaller trees that are two big for the brush cutter. This is especially great when you run into a den of copperheads. More to come on that.
As clearing progressed and the grass and brush piles began to grow taller, I realized I would need something to cut the grass and push the brush piles to a suitable burn spot. With this we purchased a used Kubota L3800 HST tractor. This is hands down one of the best purchases we made. I borrowed a brush hog to cut the grass in the valley and all around the property. I also borrowed a box blade to rework the drive way and make it easier to get in and out. But most all I use the tractor and it's FEL to push brush piles into areas to burn before they get too big. Makes for a much more efficient clearing process.
Important things to remember about clearing brush:
Safety: Always use your equipment as intended and make sure to use the proper safety equipment as well. Using equipment improperly or for unintended tasks can lead to serious injury or death.
Speed: Take your time, take your time, take your time. When you get in a hurry this is when accidents happen.
This is also important when working in areas that may be inhabited by snakes. As I would clear and get deeper into the brush I would always watch where I placed my feet and where I reached. I would take a couple steps then wait to see if there was movement nearby. I killed approximately 5 copperheads before I got to the base of a large overgrown Oak tree. This is where I found the nest teaming with snakes. I counted over five more. This required eradication. In order to fix this issue, I filled an emply mineral bucket to the top with dirt. Proceeded to the den (which was a hole in the ground close to the base of the tree), mixed a bit of gasoline and Styrofoam in a bucket, poured the mixture down the hole and carefully lit it with a long piece of brush. Once the fire burned out, I killed the last straggler on the outside of the hole and backfilled it with the dirt. Fortunately, I have not seen any other snakes lingering around that tree.