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Is there another way to rescue some prime earth?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 4
Location: Georgia
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chicken woodworking
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I have recently been able to convince my wife that our purely ornamental yard would look much better if the plants served more purpose.  That being said, I am currently developing a plan to tackle this area and I've acquired 20-25 yds of arborist's mulch and quite a bit of composted horse manure from a nearby stable. What I need some advice with, is the back 3/4 acre of our 1.5 acre homestead.  This back half has pretty much been left to its own devises for the better part of the past 10 years.  About 1/3 of this area is shaded by a really nice old oak, a few scrub pecan and pear trees, and lots of Catalpa trees.  Another 1/3 is overrun with blackberry brambles and honeysuckle, and the other 1/3 is mostly briars, wild'ish roses, and a variety of common weeds, grasses, and/or overgrowth.  The big question I have in mind, barring goats ( the area is not fenced, although fence to a goat is more suggestion), is there really a good way other than sweat equity in just chopping my way into this area to take it back from the wild?  In anyone's experience, are their other methods that are better than others? I've even considered having the local FD do a control burn for training.
 
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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You can use tethers for goats, yes they have to be fairly stout so the goat won't chew through it quickly but if they have lots of tasty browse around, they are far less likely to think about chewing the tether rope.
The trick is to move them to a spot in the morning and then put them back in the one high fenced area that also has their house inside, with some fresh hay to eat, straw for bedding and good supply of fresh water, they will be contented goats.

Doing a controlled burn (as you mentioned) is another way, but you aren't going to get the good manure, trampling, etc. that you get with animals. You will end up with a bit of bio char though and that isn't a bad thing, the quantity would not be great though.

Catalpa trees are or can be a money maker, the catalpa worm is a highly sought after bait for many fishermen. Collect them into paper sacks and 50 go for around 4 dollars here. (catfish can not pass up a hook baited with a catalpa worm nor can bream, black bass or perch.

If the "scrub" pecan doesn't produce good quality nuts, it does have pecan wood, highly prized by furniture makers all over.

Remember that the wild plants you have mentioned do have value if for no other reason than being a source of mycorrhizal fungi both in and wrapped tightly around their root systems.

You don't have to limit yourself to goats, donkey's and hogs are also great animals for clearing land of excess vegetation. (our donkey eats most of the day, while she likes to graze on grasses, she also loves to prune trees and the end shoots of brambles, blackberries, wild grape vines are all eaten with great relish, like they were beluga caviar on brioche. 

These are just the things that popped into my head as I read your post.

Redhawk
 
Christopher Owensby
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Location: Georgia
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Thank you very much for your reply! You've given me at least a few points to ponder.

I hadn't thought about having donkeys before. With the way my property sits, with about 700 ft of road frontage on a well travelled state highway, I will have to resort to fencing this area in before I  even begin to think about larger lumbering animals. Although, I have seen lots of free donkeys advertised around here so that could offset the cost of the fence.

I have fished with catalpa worms before, but had never thought about selling them. I do know the trees are very hard to kill, much like the Mimosa.  I guess any seed pod bearing tree will proliferate at its own will. The "scrub" pecans are from squirrel planted  nuts from both papershell and Stuarts i have elsewhere on the property. They are not lumber trees yet, but will be eventually.

My chickens have done a really good job clearing up weeds and grasses in areas around our house, and it might be possible to get them in the back area to clear some of the lower stuff.

Bryant RedHawk wrote:

You don't have to limit yourself to goats, donkey's and hogs are also great animals for clearing land of excess vegetation. (our donkey eats most of the day, while she likes to graze on grasses, she also loves to prune trees and the end shoots of brambles, blackberries, wild grape vines are all eaten with great relish, like they were beluga caviar on brioche. 

These are just the things that popped into my head as I read your post.

Redhawk

 
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Location: Eastern TN
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I vote for pigs and a portable electric fence! Pigs respect an electric fence!

https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/plow-with-pigs

Pigs not only get rid of the top growth but they will actually 'plow' the undergrowth and fertilize at the same time.

Then bring in the chickens...

 
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