Grubbing mesquites

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RunninB

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Hey everyone.
I have a question for those who clear land or have learned by trial and error when it comes to "grubbing" mesquites.
I have an EQUIP contract with the nrcs. I have two pastures (20ac and 45ac)that I will be working on over the next couple of years. Both of them have a considerable amount of mesquites with an average size of 2"-5" in diameter along with agarita, persimmon and your typical Texas hillcountry brush. The requirements of the nrcs are that I grub them to be able to get below the bud line. I have been weighing the options on how to go about doing this. So far my choices are a Bobcat T300 (cab and air) which I was told it had a 3000lb lift capacity with a stump bucket that I can borrow from a friend, a D5 with a 6 way blade and rippers or some even recommended an excavator. All of these would be something I would rent for a week at a time. The dozer and the excavator would have a 40 hr limit on them while the rental place told me the skid steer has unlimited hours. Difference in price is about $1000 for the week between the dozer and Bobcat. I know that you do get beat up on these machines but I will be sharing the workload with my son. What do you guys think would be the best course of action on this when it comes to price vs efficiency vs learning curve while doing it properly. I have run skidteers but not a dozer. That's why I put learning curve in there.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 
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RunninB

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Thanks for the advice. It is something I have thought of but is really not an option for me right now. Honestly this is a trade I really want to learn. Call me crazy but I have about 9 years before I retire from the Fire Dept and really would like to do this kind of work when I am done there. There is sufficient funds built in to give me the time to learn. I don't want to be someone who pays someone for something that while there may be a significant learning curve I can do myself. It's just not in my DNA.
 

Brute 23

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Can you post a pic? How tall are the biggest ones? Is there a lot of rock and slope?

Sorry for all the questions but I would need more info.

Initailly I'm not real fond of those options. I'm not big on churning up the ground unless you have to. That kind of knocks out a dozer or trackhoe.

I've had skid steers with shears pluck mesquite and huisatche for me. It was reasonable and covered a lot of ground.

After that I would think about mulching it and spraying after that.

I have had dozers just come in and blade out the big stuff. I shredded it off smooth and went to spraying. That was reasonable.

All of this is a waste of time and money if you do not budget to spray those pastures... every... single... year... for... the... rest... of... your... life.
 

lovehammer

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I'm surprised you have mesquites and not cedars in Fredricksburg.

If the mesquites are only 5" in diameter max, I would use a skidsteer and a shear. Like Brute said, pluck the ones you can so the taproot doesn't stay in the ground. I rented a skidsteer and did a bunch of land myself. I later found a guy hiring himself out with a helper for basically what I paid for the rental. He cost $10 more an hour than I paid for the rental. He could cover ground a heckuva lot faster than I could and ended up being much cheaper.

I did rent a dozer for larger hackberry (2-3 ft diameter) and other junk trees that some fool let grow in a fence line. The weed seed bank in the soil was disturbed and I got a great crop of wooly croton and sand burs where the dozer tore up the ground.
 
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RunninB

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Brute - In the first area I'm working on there is almost Zero rock and the soil is 2-4 ft deep and no slope. I was told by the NRCS that since I am re-seeding the pasture I need to grub them out. The mesquites probably avg 6-10 ft tall. I will be leaving a very select few with large single trunks for shade. Most of the old oaks in that pasture are trashed from oak wilt. Sad! These areas I'm working on were done about 25 years ago by my uncle who kept up with it but the guy that leased from my parents after that didn't keep up with it and it has gotten bad again. I have control of it now and want to clean it up and bring the grass back to where it was. About half of it has a pretty good stand of Klein the rest was hit pretty hard by the drought. And yes I don't live there but every time I'm there I set aside time to spray mesquites in the hay field. Feels like it's never ending.

Lovehammer - We do have some cedar but not in the area I'm working on right now. It was all dozed years ago and put in Klein. I would say that most of the mesquites are in the 3"ish size. Some bigger, some smaller. I'm going to pluck what I can, I just need advise on the best way to do that.

For those who say I should just hire it out.....I get that. At one time I'm sure a lot of you have been where I'm at. Sure I could put some money aside and pay someone to do it but for me, this land has been I'm my family for 135 years and this is something that I, for my own personal reasons, have to do. For me it's about investing myself in the land. Not just the money. Anyone can do that. Hope y'all understand where I'm coming from and can respect that.

Oh....I've tried and can never seem to get pics to post.
 

bird dog

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Well I understand completely since I'm in the same boat of doing things myself where possible, so lets move on from that.
I also agree with some of the others in the thinking that grubbing is not the way to go but if you are working on an equip program, you probably don't have a choice. One thing they do quite a bit around my area is to aerial spray the pasture to get a kill on most of the mesquites, wait about a year and then bulldoze the dead trees. This is a lot less damaging to the soil and the grass will start its comeback among the skeletons when the shade is gone. To make it really worth it, you need to come in a couple months after the aerial spray and get the ones that were missed or not completely dead. This would not help if you are trying to keep some of the bigger trees.
I have seen grubbing work really well and I have seen it only make things worse. Soil conditions matter a lot. Some soil just does not grub very well.
 

Brute 23

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All I can suggest is what I would personally do and that would be get the skid steer with a shear and grab on to them. If the soil cooperates you should be able to pull the majority root and all. See where that gets you. If there is larger stuff you can come back with a dozer but I would use the skid steer first and see how that goes.

If you clear this off and do not spray every square inch, every single year your will look up and it will be worse than it is now in 2 years. Agitating this soil is going to stir up years and years of mesquite seed. I think they say a mesquite seed can lay dormant for 15 years.

Plus side is, Klein is an awesome grass and you will stir up that seed bed also. I had a field covered in brush. We bladed it with a dozer, I shredded it off smooth, lightly disked it to smooth it off, and started spraying it every year. Two years later it looked as good as my klein grass hay field beside it. There was tons of Klein seen in the ground and it went crazy once I got the brush off.
 

alpine740

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I've been spraying mesquite with remedy & diesel. Wait a year and push them over by hand. Kills them all the way down to the roots.
 

sstterry

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I am not familiar with Mesquite and their root system. I can tell you that with cedars, it is better to use a crawler-loader. Raise it high and push them over then take the bucket and place it under the root ball and just lift them out. This may not work with Mesquite.
 

greybeard

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All of this is a waste of time and money if you do not budget to spray those pastures... every... single... year... for... the... rest... of... your... life.

In the same boat here, but different species. Sometimes I think the only bright spot is that I don't have too many more years left to live...
 

NolanCountyAG

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Rent an excavator with a grubbing blade. Heck you could have the whole thing done in a weeks time. Don't listen to people on shearing them. NRCS finds out you're doing that and not getting the root ball you ain't getting paid.

What kind of seed mix are you going back with?
 

Brute 23

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NolanCountyAG":3gd6oujw said:
Rent an excavator with a grubbing blade. Heck you could have the whole thing done in a weeks time. Don't listen to people on shearing them. NRCS finds out you're doing that and not getting the root ball you ain't getting paid.

What kind of seed mix are you going back with?

We are not saying to shear the bush off. You use the shear to hang the bush and pluck it, root and all. I had it done and then disked the cleared area after. In black soil I had around 1 stump left per 5 ac that he had to shear because it was too big to pull.

https://youtu.be/o_PTSq6Y-7I
Using the trackhoe. Just be ready for the price tag that will go along with it.

Remember when you rent equipment you are responsible for repairs. If you bust a hydraulic line on the end of the arm diving it in to brush it will be at your expense.
 

NolanCountyAG

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Brute 23":1uqp5pa8 said:
NolanCountyAG":1uqp5pa8 said:
Rent an excavator with a grubbing blade. Heck you could have the whole thing done in a weeks time. Don't listen to people on shearing them. NRCS finds out you're doing that and not getting the root ball you ain't getting paid.

What kind of seed mix are you going back with?

We are not saying to shear the bush off. You use the shear to hang the bush and pluck it, root and all. I had it done and then disked the cleared area after. In black soil I had around 1 stump left per 5 ac that he had to shear because it was too big to pull.

https://youtu.be/o_PTSq6Y-7I
Using the trackhoe. Just be ready for the price tag that will go along with it.

Remember when you rent equipment you are responsible for repairs. If you bust a hydraulic line on the end of the arm diving it in to brush it will be at your expense.

We don't rent equipment very often but the place we do covers the repairs.
 

Kingfisher

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Since you say you want to get in the " dirt business" buy a used skid steer or dozer. From what I know about Fredricksburg I would think you could find more bobcat work than dozer work.
 

Brute 23

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I'm a big fan of trackhoes. They are very versatile with a good operator as long as you have the work to justify the cost.

You can get some smaller dozers for reasonable. It doesn't take a monster to push mesquite. Plus a good 6 or 7 ways is pretty handy for roads, tanks, etc.
 

Silver

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A little 200 like in the video you should be able to pick up for $25-30K. Use it for awhile and get rid of it or keep it if it suits you. Far handier than a dozer so much of the time.
 

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