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How to clear spot for food plot?
I'm starting the process of planning where to put food plots on my land. I'm thinking about adding 3 plots on the 80 acres. I would like them all to be 1 acre in size. The property is relitively flat and was logged 13 years ago so I have a lot of young aspen to remove. I'm trying to figure out the best way to create the plots. A-chainsaw and skidster B-hire a dozer for $125 per hour or C-rent a forestry mulcher to break the trees down to chips for $100 per hour of run time.
My concern about option A is that it will take a lot of time and I will have big piles of brush, option B will create big piles of brush and the topsoil might be removed, option C will level the trees but I will still have the root system in the ground.
I know that the aspen roots might regenerate new growth but deer like them. I'm wondering if I could no-till seed over the area and have a mix of both regrouth and whatever I seed.
Here is a picture of the area so you can see what I'm dealing with.
I would avoid the dozer at all cost. On trees that size and that thick, you will end up dozing more dirt into piles than you will trees.
I had a guy with a bucket caterpillar with teeth on the scoop. He was able to get trees similar to yours and leave the topsoil pretty much in place. Just kind of popped them out. Maybe you can find someone to do that. I did end up with some brush piles but had them situated to act like funnels so they would work to my advantage.
Option C is by far the best option. There are some really good videos about using a forestry mulcher for food plot creation. Long winding food plots give you a ton of options for stand locations. Keep access and exit routes to stands in mind along the plot if you plant to hunt them. Pay attention to the sun and plan accordingly. You can spray new growth from the root systems to terminate them. You can also make them a little wider than your anticipated plots and let that new growth shoot up on the edges giving you the best of both worlds. Good luck!
You could reseed certain grass crops and get growth between the sprouts initially. But, within no time the leaf residue will kill it out. Plus you’d be limited to seed types. Plus, to get the soil right, you’d just intensify the stump sprouting as you’d be feeding those aspen roots too.
I’ve been around dirt work, land clearing, and forestry/logging for a longtime. Your best bet is pay a dozer to push those suckers into a pile, adding a tire or two every level, put 5 gallons of diesel on it, and burn them once the leaves come out.
I know that sounds rudimentary. But, that is your quickest way to get food plots up. And, if your time is worth anything, by far the cheapest.
Mark everything out before hand with some flagging, hire a guy and roll with it. A good dozer guy will save the top soil and redistribute. Or, you could do so with your skid steer. After the clearing and grading is done.
Remember, Lyme, Lyme, Lyme, then nutrients Disc it in good. Plant and continue to doctor the soil for the next couple years. Every time you disk, add what the report says you need. it’ll get better. Quickly.
I hope you got some farming equipment.
Forestry mulchers are a huge cost. They work great. But, the chips will make your ground more acidic more then likely.
A dozer has cutting edges. And, if you don’t remove the top soil, you are going to be growing a lot more then what you plant. There are thousands of fibrous roots in there waiting on release.
I’m not discounting anyone else’s opinion. But, if the soil isn’t saturated with water, meaning lowland soil types, a dozer will get it ready quicker. You want those stumps out for sure.
You should plan on taking 2 years. One will be to get the trees out, two will be to spray the aspen that will come up by the tens of thousands.
If you go the skid loader route, look into a stump bucket. One of the best attachments I own.
Lots of good ideas presented, if those are the biggest trees in the area a big track skidloader with a stump bucket,tree puller and grapple should work. A dozer with a root rake would also do a good job. Trees mulcher will work but it’s a longer process to the end goal. Really try to be with the operator of whatever you choose it helps a lot to get things done the way you want.
I didn’t know they made such a thing for skid steers.
WV.....I probably use my stump bucket more than any other attachment. It does an awesome job of being able to grub out stumps and roots. I’ve removed some pretty big trees and stumps with mine. 3’ diameter and probably even bigger, I’d guess.
Wrong on the fire.
With a skid steer and heavy duty grapple bucket you can grub all the trees and carry them to pike them. Very quick and and you put them where you want while disturbing the soil the least possible
I do it all the time and own all the equipment mentioned and the grapple bucket is the best option.
You don't want a dozer(made that mistake).SS with a FECON type head was my choice. I worked with tractors+manual labor for ten years before a smartened up and hired the skid steer.He did more in four days than we had in ten years. We maintain with tractors.
Does anyone know if fire inhibits new aspen growth? I cleared about 3/4 acre was all poplar/aspen. I'm in the "on a budget" category and did most of it with a weed eater and blade and finished with a chain saw. But even when I still had them standing I burnt it a couple times. I have had almost zero new growth, and the trees I cut down this spring were all rotten up the center. Some had even like a half inch hollow running up the center of the tree. Since I just zipped off the trees at ground level I didn't pull roots. But it seems like they are rotting pretty quickly in just a year or two. With no equipment used at all I suspect in two years if I wanted I could run a disc through there with no problems, and the small stumps would just turn over. I assumed those stumps would be problematic for years and I could just no till, but it seems they are done in short order.
This plot was just cleared on my new property. It looked like yours before we started. Used a small track hoe with grapple bucket for most of it, and a Kubota tractor with a landscape rake to clean it up. Just planted it yesterday with iron clay peas. Judge for yourself. I still have most all my topsoil.