Clearing brush, leveling land


Old 06-20-06, 10:42 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1
Clearing brush, leveling land

I just bought a house in North Carolina last fall, and during this spring I've been underway with trying to beat the backyard into submission. Unfortunately, the backyard is winning.

Directly behind our house is a major bypass, with sound wall. There's about 20 feet of bramble, presumably as access owned by the state or county, then trees. There's a row of trees, then a drainage creek, then my property begins. On my side of the creek there are several large old trees, including some maples, then tons of weeds, brambles, thorns, and viney something or other stuff. There's about 20 to 30 feet worth of what I'd loosely term "brush" that I've been trying to clear. After that, there's about another 10 to 15 feet of just dirt, where the roots from the maples and the heavy shade prevents anything but small weeds from growing, then my lawn begins.

If that description isn't that helpful, I can take pictures later.

What I'm trying to do is clear the brush back to my actual property line, in order to fence in my yard. I've clear about a fourth of the area, but it still looks horrible. Here's what I've done:

First, I killed as much as I could with various chemicals, including vinegar solutions. Secondly, I went in with the the blade attachment of the weed wacker and knocked down as much as I could. Finally, I used a garden rake to drag as much as I could and mulched it and chipped the limbs and branches that were buried back there to use as a cover over the dirt on the edge of the lawn.

Now what I have is about 3/4 of the stretch with dead and dying weeds and brambles, and a quarter as lumpy rooty dirt with bare stalks of weeds sticking up. I can't till it under with my rototiller attachment, because the ground is too hard and there are too many roots.

My instict is to rent a Bobcat or something similiar and just go hog wild back there, but I'm pretty sure I'd damage all the trees.

These are my questions:
Is there a better way to clear heavy brush like that?
Is there a good way to get rid of the remnants of the weeds besides burning it all (Inside city limits here)?
Should I try to level the ground down, or just bring in fill dirt and mound it up smooth?
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Old 06-20-06, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,834
I once moved into an older home with overgrown property. I used the blade attachment on the weedeater to cut through brush and vines. I also used loppers to trim branches and bow saw to cut small understory trees that did not stand a chance. It was slow going. In the meantime, I kept previous areas cleared mowed with weedeater and an old lawnmower. I had truckloads of brush hauled off because burning was not allowed. When I left the property, the wooded area was like a park.

If there is space to accommodate a bush hog, it would make for faster work. These can be rented or you can hire someone to do it for you. Nonselective herbicide is helpful for eliminating weeds. Brush killer can be painted on fresh cuts of small trees and bushes to prevent sprouting from roots.

#1. Bush hog if there is room for doing so. Otherwise, cutting out undesirable growth to ground by hand and painting with brush killer and using non-selective herbicide will keep return of growth at bay. Keeping any new growth cut to ground to prevent photosynthesis will eventually help eliminate undergrowth.

#2. If burning is not allowed, keeping new growth cut & use of herbicides is usually effective.

#3. Proceed with caution when filling in around trees, as this can result in death of tree. If much filling is required, area around tree can be walled off with stones or brick or other material to create a well to protect trees. Keep soil off bark and exposed roots. Otherwise, unlevel soil can be filled in and leveled if necessary.

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