We are beginning to work on the back 2.5 acres of our land. Itis untouched except for some minimal logging (so no trees over about 9" diameter) and full of thorny vines, briars, oaks, maples, youpons, and other scrub brush, etc. We recently discovered 3 30' tall wild persimmon trees back there as well as a small 4' one. We would like to encourage them to grow more without destroying the healthy natural ecosystem around them. I am assuming that trimming the less desirable trees back so that the small persimmon gets more light would be helpful. We are getting dairy goats and pigs next year, so will begin to clear the land that way and use it as browsing pasture. How do we go about clearing around them so they are easily harvested and the small ones can grow better without just destroying all the growth around them?
Brush hooks work well but take a lot of energy and sometimes strength to be effective.
What I would do would be to get a roll or two of surveyor's tape and go through and mark trees that I want to remove first and maybe questionable trees would have a different color of tape tied to them.
Once I had my tapes in place on all the trees, I would step back and visualize those trees gone and how much sunlight would be added to those trees you are wanting to give more sun to.
Persimmon trees do very well as long as they can have at least 8 hours of sun per day in the summertime. More is better when it comes to sun and persimmons.
If you plant on using goats and hogs to do some of the clearing, you will need to fence off the persimmon trees to protect them from the animals.
If you plan on using this area as silvopasture, the way you indicate, you will need to have those trees permanently protected from the animals.
Hogs will rub the bark off just about any tree they decide to use as a scratching post, they will actually girdle the tree from their scratching activities and the trees die from that.
Goats will browse all branches they can reach (they love persimmon leaves and twigs) they will even stand up on their hind legs to do this, all branches that are within their reach will be chewed off.
If you have a heavy duty, high horse power (6.5 or larger) lawn mower with a heavy gauge blade, you can use that as a "mini bush hog" to take down the smaller stuff and the vines, briars, etc.
I have an area that I am currently working on for a new silvopasture, most of the trees in that area are hickory and average about 4" diameter.
My chain saw gets a good workout every time I go into this area, trees come down and are stacked for a fence line on the edge of my property.
We have another area that will be getting a hog and goat treatment to clear the many poison ivy vines in that one.
Once that stuff is under control, I'll go in with the chainsaw to remove selected trees to let enough light in that I can grow grasses and grains.
Marking so you can let your eyes tell you if you have done enough selecting is always a great idea when you are creating silvo pastures.