Proper vegetation management is essential for creating safe and healthy living environments. Homes in particular need of vegetation control solutions are those located in wildland-urban-interface (WUI) areas, which are a zone of transition between wildland and human development. Without control, invasive plant species can choke out beneficial plants. Dense vegetation also provides an ideal habitat for dangerous pests such as Lyme-disease carrying ticks.
Herbicides are widely used as relatively simple way to control or eliminate excessive vegetation and other unwanted growth. While effective, the use of chemical agents often results in a host of unintended and harmful effects that last far beyond a growing season. Herbicides also tend to be harder to control, particularly in windy conditions. All too often, subsequent chemical drift and overspray ends up harming areas other than the intended treatment area. Chemicals also leave a tangle of dead brush which makes property maintenance difficult and creates a serious fire risk because the dry brush is low to the ground and makes the perfect kindle.
Mechanical Brush Control As a Safer Alternative
Gerry Hawkes is a forester with Forest Savers LLC in Woodstock, Vermont who has devoted considerable time to finding a safe and effective alternative to chemical herbicide use. In pursuit of mechanical brush control methods, he found that the right equipment was hard to find, cost prohibitive, difficult to transport, and hard to maneuver through the WUI rural properties in which he needed to work. Hawkes devised a solution by adapting smaller equipment to meet his needs. One such adaptation has involved the Fecon Bull Hog BH074 Mulcher, which has enabled him to efficiently clear invasive species, eradicate tick infestations, and remove thick brush while greatly reducing herbicide usage.
Hawkes needed equipment that was small enough to get into back yards and WUI areas, yet still powerful enough to be productive and efficient for larger acreages. Following experimentation and the rework of several tractors, Hawkes found his solution with a 60 HP, L6060 Kubota tractor fitted with the Fecon Bull Hog Mulcher.
While the tractor was not originally set up for forestry work, Hawkes modified the belly pan and added brush screening, a safety canopy, and a bi-directional clearing rake for uprooting invasive vegetation. Hawkes selected the Fecon Bull Hog HDT Rotor due to its well-reinforced design and ability to grind and shred heavy brush, small stumps, and roots, even on rough and rocky ground.
The Fecon BH074 mulcher is usually paired with a higher horsepower tractor, however the versatile design of the attachment made it highly adaptable to meet the job requirements. According to Hawkes, even Fecon was surprised by the results:
“Fecon said that the minimum size tractor to run that on is 80 horse and we’re running it on 60 horse…when they delivered it they were amazed what we could do with 60 HP.”
The BH074 Bull Hog attachment features aggressive material in feed and anti-wrapping characteristics making it well-suited for quickly shredding wood and brush. Used in conjunction with the bi-directional uprooting and debris rake, uprooting and shredding brush can be done quickly and efficiently.
Mechanical clearing offers all the benefits of removing invasive species, ticks, and other pests without the damaging effects of chemical herbicides. The results are far more aesthetically pleasing as well.
Fecon has an extensive line of equipment and accessories to make mechanical clearing an efficient and effective option available for a wide range of needs. Contact us to discuss your needs!