Modern Land Clearing
Forestry Mulching – Selectively reducing trees, shrubs, and vines to small pieces of mulch where they stand. Forestry Mulching is a new alternative to traditional land clearing when complete removal is not necessary. Some of the benefits of Forestry Mulching include:
- Layer of mulch suppresses weeds and stabilizes soil from erosion
- Less expensive than traditional land clearing and doesn’t damage the roots of keeper trees
- Instant results and typically burnable in four months
The applications for Forestry Mulching are far and wide. A few of the most common include:
- Underbrush removal
- Billboard visibility
- Wildfire fuel mitigation
- Timber stand improvement
- Hunting land improvement
- Site prep
- Utility clearing
- Wetland mowing
- Brush Clearing
- Pasture clearing
- Forest to Field
- Right of way clearing
- Geo boring access
- Post-logging cleanup
- Fire lanes and trails
Even if the site preparation requires stump and root removal, forestry mulching prior to excavation can save the landowner money by reducing the burden of loading and hauling debris.
When boundary lines are critical, GPS receivers allow us to precisely position our machine. Data recorders tell the customer exactly where we’ve been. Our telemetry hardware allows for real-time monitoring of machine position and prescriptive mapping.
Some refer to Forestry Mulching as Gyro-Trac or Bull of the Woods work.
Land Clearing Project in Niceville
Land clearing project in Freeport Florida
Like most things forestry, forestry mulching technology, especially the good stuff, originates from Canada. Pipelines and other utility access projects required tremendous effort for land clearing contractors to clear due to Canada’s fertile forests. Denis Cimaf was born from those conditions and the patented technology quickly rose to the top with comparatively high production rates. Carbide mulching heads became popular during the real estate boom for their ability to clear brush from residential lots for a quick and inexpensive improvement. Now, Cimaf and Gyrotrac heads have made their way down to the US and are displacing old carbide technology. Land clearing contractors can run the carbide heads at a lower hourly rate but they are disproportionately slower cutting. Comparing the costs to clear by the acre or total cost quickly shows that sharp mulcher teeth are the customer’s favorite.
HOW IT WORKS
Where the Steel meets the Wood
By integrating the chainsaw, the stump grinder and the wood chipper all into one piece of equipment, production costs and manpower are significantly reduced thus making the forestry mulching equipment very practical tools for clearing brush, bushes, vines and even trees.
Every minute, the drum of the forestry mulching head rotates 2500 times. Each tooth is capable of cutting a 3-inch wide chip of wood. When time is money, it’s hard to beat that rate of productivity. Brush, bushes, and vines can be cleared from up in the limbs of keeper trees and stumps can be ground flush to make follow-on mowing a breeze.
In areas with dense vegetation, we’ve seen layers of mulch two feet deep left behind. That will suppress weeds for years to come if left undisturbed. When turning a forest into pasture, we’ve seen good results with burning the debris after it has been given a few months of dry weather. The fire burns slow and safe since all of the fuel is at ground level.
WHAT’S IT COST?
The Bottom Line
The cost to forestry mulch an acre of land is a great metric to decide if the processes fit a particular project. Just like vegetation from one site to another will vary wildly, so does the cost to clear an acre of land. One thing to keep in mind: time is money. Fuel, machine wear, labor, and maintenance are the primary costs of running forestry mulching equipment, just like any other land clearing operation. Some of the additional expenses unique to forestry mulching are the mulcher teeth which are often times a few thousand dollars a set.
Site conditions that influence the cost to clear a given acre of land includes:
- Tree diameter and height
- Tree species (hardwood vs softwoods)
- Brush density
- Slope / Grade
- Muddy ground conditions
- Rocks / Steel / Concrete / Trash
- Nearby Houses / Power Lines / Fences
All of the above add to the cost of clearing land. If a landowner is looking to reduce costs, they can remove old fences and trash from a site prior to our arrival. We sharpen the teeth just about every day and anything that can be done to increase their life will reduce the financial burden on the customer.
Additionally, the desired after conditions of forestry mulching influence the cost.
- Mulching debris size
- Stump height
- Quantity of keeper trees
The end use of the land is valuable information. If the customer is prepping pine rows for a pine straw operation, we can leave a coarse finish to maintain a quick and economical pace. However, if the intent of the mulching is to beautify a residential lot to make it more appealing to a potential customer, it’s worth the time necessary to make a pretty finish.
Want an estimate? Don’t hesitate to call, we’re happy to help. We can give you a rough ballpark over the phone and follow up with a site visit to firm up a quote. We’ve quoted many happy customers by the hour, day and week but most commonly by the acre. Firm fixed price is a nice way to know what your costs will be on the front end. Either way, it’s your choice, we aim to please.
It’s Cleared, Now What?
Once land has been forestry mulched, the land maintainer has a few options. Depending on the amount of vegetation before forestry mulching and how much of the trees and brush have been mulched, there will be a layer of wood chips on the ground ranging from sparse to more than a foot deep.
The chips can be left in place to rot, pushed into piles for excavation or burned (once dry). If the mulch is deep enough, weed and stump sprout suppression can be nearly 100% effective. In sparse areas, seeds will sprout with newly available light and nutrients.
New growth can be bush hogged, sprayed with herbicide or burned. Either way, mother nature will find a way to grow again and the property will need to be maintained to prevent reversion back to overgrown woods and brush.