This brushy area has been cleared before, so I don't have to deal with big saplings, thorny bushes, vines, or other nasty stuff. The ferns all pull out easily but I find that I need to wear gloves. Those ferns can cut your hands. The brushy stuff is mainly Mexican elderberry, a noxious weed that I'm gradually ridding from the property. The stuff readily spreads, is tough to kill, grows back rapidly, and resprouts from any cutting you cast aside. Only the goat will eat it, and even then, not much at a time.I can't use the debris as bio-fill without seeing hundreds of new plants sprouting. As a result I have to either chip it then hot compost the chippings, or take it to the dump for green waste disposal. Today I ran all the debris through the chipper directly until a pit, adding horse manure in layers as the pit filled. Adding water then capping it with dirt, the pile should heat up pretty hot. I'll finish filling the pit two weeks from now with a three foot deep manure/grass clippings cap which should also get pretty hot, thus killing any sprouting elderberry. All that bio-fill should rot just nicely, filling the pit to the surrounding ground level. I have plenty of pits to fill in around here because the farm is on an old lava flow that's only partly degraded.
So after a morning's effort, most of the brush overgrowth is gone. Chips are scattered about, but I'll leave them where they lay. This time around I plan to kill off as much of the Mexican elderberry as I can. I've successfully eliminated it in other places by applying a herbicide to the cut stems then a few weeks later having the goat graze down any small sprouts. If I bring the goat back to graze 3-4 times when the shoots are small, it seems to kill much of it off. That elderberry doesn't like being grazed down repeatedly. After Bucky has done his thing, I'll kill any stubborn resprouts with a herbicide. I'm not a big user of herbicide, but at times it has its place.
Tools of the trade today:
...a small chainsaw for anything thicker than 1/2"
...a hand sickle for the small stuff
...a chipper for shred everything up
...gloves to protect my hands
...safety goggles to protect my glasses
Last task to be done: apply the herbicide. I cut or yanked out all the small stuff by hand. What I couldn't yank out easily I cut with the chainsaw. I then used a small paintbrush to apply roundup to the cut stump. Covered the stump over with a plastic bag and secured it with a rubberband. Since its been drizzling almost every night, this will keep the herbicide from washing away.