Local Projects

Landowners Answer To Brush

By Bill Bruffett-District Technician

Cutting brush and small trees and then applying an herbicide to that stump has long been an accepted method of clearing pastures of problem species. While very labor intensive, this cut stump treatment method almost guarantees that the target tree will be killed with very few resprouts. One Douglas County landowner has taken this basic method and put wheels under it.

When Billy Everett purchased his farm in the mid-90s it was very similar to many Douglas County acres, neglected and overgrown with 4 to 6 foot tall hickory, oak, and persimmon sprouts. While brush hogging would temporarily improve the looks of the property, within a year or two the root systems would send up a new crop of brush and the cycle would continue. Searching for a more efficient method to reclaim pastures, Billy heard of an approach that had been used in Shannon County which involved scraping the bark on saplings and then immediately pulling an implement called a Rotowiper over them. A Rotowiper is a small trailer, upon which rides a roller that is covered with a carpet like material. A 12 volt pump sprays herbicide onto the roller which then rolls the herbicide onto targeted weeds that are protruding higher then desirable species.

In a rather unconventional move Billy attached a Rotowiper behind his brushhog and filled the sprayer tank with a cut-stump mixture of Remedy and used cooking oil. With these implements in tow he is able to cut the tops off of brush and then apply the herbicide to the freshly exposed stumps. Billy estimates conservatively that he is able to achieve a 60% to 70% control on normally hard to kill brush species with little damage to clover or grass.

With the cost of a new 10’ Rotowiper in the $3500 dollar range and used ones from $2000 to $2500, this idea may not be for everyone, but landowners with enough brush might consider something similar on their property.