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Smooth out bumpy pasture  RSS feed

 
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I have a tree farm.  The aisles between the trees are lumpy from the activities of pocket gophers, leaving their mounds everywhere, and from their tunnels collapsing.  Due to the narrowness of the aisles, ploughing and re-seeding is impractical.

What implements are there to flatten the bumps? 

This *isn't* like ruts.  A bump or a dip is typically 12 inches to 4 feet across and 1 to 4 inches tall or deep.


I have a  section of 16 inch I beam that I've tried dragging.  If I use this dry, it just bounces around.  If I wait until after a rain, I end up with a mess of mixed mud and grass.

I tried using a blade, but  when the tractors front wheels hit a bump, the blade bears down more heavily. 
 
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Is there a particular reason you want to smooth it?  Dips help capture run-off during rains.  Smoothing could cause the field to become drier.

 
gardener
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My community uses "harrows" for smoothing pastures. The other day, I saw a "dethatcher" for a riding lawn mower which was essentially a harrows.
 
pollinator
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I plow the soil with a turning plow , then drag a heavy log sideways over the loose soil. I am doing vast areas so this works well, but I would have thought the heavy I-Beam would have worked, unless its sharp corners are catching on the sod and making it jump around.  The smooth rounded profile of the log makes the soil slide under the log and compacts it. For me it squishes the rocks into the soil so I do not have to pick as many rocks. Maybe it would work for you because it would smooth out the bumps without catching on the sod and bouncing around??? All you would be out is a length of cable and a tree to cut down.

I am doing a big field here, but for you, you would just drag a narrow log down the row of trees.





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Sherwood Botsford
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Is there a particular reason you want to smooth it?  Dips help capture run-off during rains.  Smoothing could cause the field to become drier.



To mow it now is to rattle your teeth out.  Clients risk rolling an ankle. 
 
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If you don't have friends with horses, invite an equestrian club to visit. A parade is planned to involve the horses going between the rows several times. If a game can be made of it, all the better!
Just a thought.
 
pollinator
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couple options, either use a harley rake or just put a bunch of wood chips down and then smooth them with a longer post, like Travis. They will tend to fill in nicely.

I've noticed my field is getting less bouncy the more chips I apply
 
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Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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In the horse drawn days, they'd plough the paddock then run what was called a 'slide' over it - it looks like a small timber barge, the operator stands on it and the horse/s pull it to slightly flatten the soil and break up clods. The front leading edge was slightly curved to reduce friction and stop it getting caught. (My Grandfather used this device regularly.)

The tree method mentioned above would work in a similar fashion, perhaps not as tidy as a slide though - unless it was made to roll like an axle - spikes in each end, etc.
 
garden master
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F Agricola wrote:In the horse drawn days, they'd plough the paddock then run what was called a 'slide' over it - it looks like a small timber barge, the operator stands on it and the horse/s pull it to slightly flatten the soil and break up clods. The front leading edge was slightly curved to reduce friction and stop it getting caught. (My Grandfather used this device regularly.)


I'm a recycle type, I have dragged a pallet the same way, just lift the front edge a bit so it doesn't catch too much dirt. I have tied them to a VW bug to smooth a driveway, and dragged them by hand to knock down some ankle turning messes left by utility workers. Smaller chunks of wood, or the really small pallets work well for path smoothing, and are light enough to drag easily by hand.
 
pioneer
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Sherwood Botsford wrote:To mow it now is to rattle your teeth out.


Are any alternatives to mechanical mowing feasible for you? My first thought was Old English Southdown Sheep.
http://www.earthsongorchard.com/orchardsheep.html


 
Sherwood Botsford
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Eat Alberta Lamb.  10,000 coyotes can't be wrong.

I would have to fence the tree farm off from the rest of the land; I don't know sheep at all, and am concerned they would eat my seedlings, step on my seedlings, leave sheep crap where my customers would step in it.

OTOH it would give something for my dog to do.
 
Greg Harness
pioneer
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Sherwood Botsford wrote:I would have to fence the tree farm off from the rest of the land; I don't know sheep at all, and am concerned they would eat my seedlings, step on my seedlings, leave sheep crap where my customers would step in it.


The land would definitely need a fence to keep sheep limited to where you want them. They will indeed eat your seedlings. The first time I put in raspberries (many, many moons ago) I thought the plants were thorny enough to deter my sheep. Boy was I wrong.
 
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards
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