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Clearing overgrown Brazilian pepper trees.

 
David Dakota
Posts: 19
Location: Currently eastern coast of Florida/zone 10a
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What are my options here? I am attempting to establish a suburban forest garden on a half acre that appears to be completely overgrown with Brazilian pepper trees. They're a highly invasive species and it's difficult to get rid of. On top of this the trunks and branches tend to become very intertwined, making it an extremely slow and difficult process to hack your way through.

Wondering if any one has any ideas on an easy cheap and fast way to get rid of them. I know this property has some potential but I'm a one man operation with a family here. I also work full time and don't have the time or large budget to work with. I was thinking of getting a couple of piggies and possibly a goat to tear it up out there but not too sure since I'm only on a half acre. Plus being in FL (zone 10a) I have some apprehensions about what kind of nasty things the pigs might come down with. Of course the thought of fresh bacon might be enough to tip the scale though
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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When you say, difficult to get rid of, do you you mean difficult to cut down, or difficult to keep from coming back?

Goats are a possibility, if they will eat the stuff, especially if they like the bark. Not sure about pigs.

Goats are pretty good escape artists, so keep that in mind.

Regarding clearing whatever brush, it is hard to beat someone from a part of the world where they use machetes. You won't believe how fast they can clear it.

 
K Nelfson
Posts: 129
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Half an acre of anything is manageable. Especially if it's your own land and you value it. Example: our 4 acres of prairie restoration had thistles this year and I removed all of them by hand in just a few hours. Just think of it as entertainment or an alternative to going to the gym. Include your kids and spouse. I've started asking/making my kids do a chore every day, something outside, if possible. Really improves attitudes, including mine. Granted, there's only so much a 5-yo can do. How many kids do you have? How old are they?

If the trees are tall, see if you can get someone to cut off the highest parts and lower them to the ground, then cut them up yourself. A chainsaw would be fun but a bow saw is SO cheap and even a small child can help on the other side. Once the trees are below 2m or so, you can do the rest. You can dig stumps if you want. It's work but it's so much more productive than running on a treadmill at the gym. Or you can get someone to grind them out. Negotiate a price to do all of them. Should be quite a bit cheaper than 1x because so much of the cost is the transportation and setup.


 
David Dakota
Posts: 19
Location: Currently eastern coast of Florida/zone 10a
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@ Fred: I appreciate the info.
When you say, difficult to get rid of, do you you mean difficult to cut down, or difficult to keep from coming back?

To this I say both. They are a multi-trunked species. The trunks of fully grown trees are between 4"-8" in diameter. The branches however are the issue. They tangle amongst themselves and nearby trees making a very dense web of branches. Another problem is that the roots must be destroyed to prevent the tree from regrowing.
Regarding clearing whatever brush, it is hard to beat someone from a part of the world where they use machetes. You won't believe how fast they can clear it.

The branches are cut easily with a machete if they are still green and fresh, however when the tree has gone through it's life cycle, (they seem to be an edge species.) the dry branches are very tough and a machete just seems to bounce off.
Goats are a possibility, if they will eat the stuff, especially if they like the bark. Not sure about pigs.

True, however I'm not sure if they would be edible since these trees are poisonous and in the same family as poison oak, ivy and sumac. I don't think I'm even allowed to burn the dead trees because I've heard the smoke is a toxic irritant.

@ K: That's definitely a good point. I guess that's one way to turn a problem into a solution

Here is a video I sent in to Paul and the rest of the admin. at Permies. This will give you an idea of what I'm trying to deal with.
 
Roses are red. Violets are blue. Some poems rhyme. But this is a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
http://richsoil.com/cards


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