Working little by little, in the evenings and early mornings, I managed to clear 60 acres of volunteer cedars which had moved into the eastern two thirds of Two Mile Ranch.
My estimates may be off. At first look, I predicted 300 trees. As I began to work with many of them, what looked like one tree was a cluster of two to four trees clumped together.
Some of the newer trees have 3 inch trucks. Others, more established and longer lived, has trunk diameters of 6, 8 and sometimes 10 inches. The mechanical way to do this is with a skid steer and a tree shear..imagine a hydraulic pruning scissors on the front of a small tractor. This shear snips the tree near the ground, leaving almost no above ground stump.
The interesting thing about cedars is, if you cut below the lowest growing green branch, the tree will not re sprout and grow.
As I walked the acres, looking at the general condition of the ground, I was struck by three things:
First, the soil is rocky in many places. It’ hard to imagine the early owners in the 1800′s and 1900′s being successful growing much on this soil. True, top soil has eroded, but this is not the same farm ground found 90 miles north of here or 90 miles east of here.
Third, there are some stands of native grasses, that given a good burn next year, combined with follow up burns every 3 – 5 years, make enrich the grasses and forbes I’ll plant next spring.
Conventional logic it to kill everything with glyphosate and start fresh. That would potentially complicate an attempt to have the poultry certified as organic, and, in the long run, doesn’t fit with the overall management plan here. Glyphosate may or may not be effective on sericea. Neither is burning alone.
But for this week, the trees are down. For that perspective, I offer this final image.