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Brush Hogging

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  • Brush Hogging

    Anyone have any suggestions for brush hogging overgrown fields? As in, how to make it become grass turnout? I'm assuming that 90% of the growth is not edible, so if I want to put horses on the property, what comes after the brush hog? Is it safe to put them out on the cut brush? Should I let it decompose first or something? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

  • #2
    It depends on how overgrown it is and what it was overgrown with.

    Once you brush hog, I'd look to see if there are any stobs that were left by cutting the brush. These stobs can cause a SEVERE injury.

    If the area is mainly weeds, not so much brush, you could use it sooner than later. Spraying with a broadleaf weed herbicide will get rid of the competition of resources for the grasses and allow them to grow quicker.

    If you are patient and diligent, you can mow regularly and many weeds with go away and more grasses will grow. This takes a long time though.


    • #3
      If you're just hogging down overgrown grass and weeds, throw the horses out after a day or two. They'll be interested in the new stuff closer to the ground and won't worry about the dry crap that you just cut. Then just brushhog more frequently to get it back to a managable pasture like jawa mentioned above.
      "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."


      • #4
        Just make sure it's bush hogged so that it is no shorter than about 6" tall. If it's any shorter, the roots of the grasses (good grasses) won't be cool enough to grow properly and can cause some issues.

        I would first assess my pasture and figure out what all is there (if you can ) There may be some good grass under there.

        Do you know the last time the pasture area has been Limed?

        The two lines of offense (or defense) for a good pasture is proper mowing/bush-hogging and Liming the pasture. After that you can tackle any other issues
        If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
        DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
        Originally posted by talkofthetown
        As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


        • Original Poster

          The pasture hasn't been touched in about 2 years. I'm told it used to be mostly grass, with some weeds of course. When should I lime it? If I mow it this weekend can I put the horses on it next week and save the liming for later? I feel like maybe the lime won't get down to the soil if its on top of all my clippings.
          What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm


          • #6
            I finish mowed our 7 acre jump field for three seasons bi-weekly and it has gotten rid of the goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace and other inedibles. I was able to hay the field this year for over 200 bales.
            We also have been able to obtain a paper recycle byproduct around here called SPF(short paper fibre) which has the lime equivalency of 1/5 actual lime but costs $2 a ton.
            Hydrophile has it right..


            • #7
              Originally posted by Anteup View Post
              Anyone have any suggestions for brush hogging overgrown fields? As in, how to make it become grass turnout? I'm assuming that 90% of the growth is not edible, so if I want to put horses on the property, what comes after the brush hog? Is it safe to put them out on the cut brush? Should I let it decompose first or something? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
              There some omissions that are important.

              Where are you? Are you in a northern climate? In the middle of a draught?

              How much pasture?

              Do you plan to purchase the tractor, bush hog, sprayer....or do you have a neighbor that will do the work?

              What kind of brush? Pine is one thing, easy to get rid of with a bush hog.

              Sweet gum black gun, scrub oak much harder.

              Copel (Tree of Heaven), locust, wild prune......very very difficult.

              Like everything else on a farm, there are several ways to deal with it.

              as for bush hogging stobbing your horses' feet, it is possible but not likely. That type of injury is usually associated with trails cut and maintained with a bush axe. Workers when they get tired and hot instead of swinging the axe horizontally, swing down at a 45 degree cut which leaves a very sharp point. Even so in 71 years I have had it in my barn only one time and for many years we had 5 full time field hunters that went twice a week.

              In contrast, we had many gravels, stone bruises, etc.

              If you have a lot of small trees, I would be more concerned about stobs striking the fetlocks.

              Bush hogs do not leave a sharp stob but rather a blunt rough cut which is more likely to bruise than pierce.

              So what I would suggest rather than cutting at a 6" height is that you bush hog as close to the ground as you can.

              But only for the first time. After that, raise the cut level to 6".

              One trip over cutting close will do little harm to your grass providing you are not in the middle of a drought.

              If it is dry, I would wait until you get a really good rain and then as soon as the grass and the top of the ground is dry enough that the tractor will not be dangerous, cut it close.

              But do not cut it short the second time or thereafter.

              If the trees are the hard to get rid of stuff, like sweet gum, locust, copel, etc., you can mow it every week and they will come back. For those you must spray.

              A flip of a coin as to whether you spray before or after you mow. If you mow first, you will have to wait until they get enough leaf on them for the spray to work...12 to 24" probably.

              If you spray first, you will have to wait a couple of weeks or maybe a third week for the spray to work.

              Crossbow is a good one that will kill brush but not grass.

              I would be inclined to spray first unless they are tall enough to interfere with the booms on the sprayer.

              That should be "wild plum".

              And if you are in the middle of a drought you might possibly be in the middle of a draught.
              Last edited by cssutton; Jul. 26, 2012, 03:05 PM.


              • #8
                In most places, 2 years of overgrowth isn't that bad. Multiflora roses and the like will leave stubble, and I recommend not getting lawn-darted into it.

                Personally, I'd brush hog the heck out of it to start. Go one direction, then come back a week or two later and go the other. That's because the tractor tires tend to knock some weeds down so they don't get mowed, and you want to buzz up the cuttings nice and fine.

                Walk around after the first mowing and take a look. If it doesn't seem too bad, go ahead and put horses on it. Just realize having them out there picking at the grass trying to grow is going to make it a bit harder for forage to establish.

                People here apply lime in the late winter. Talk to your local extension agent or feed mill for info on who does it and when.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by WildBlue View Post
                  People here apply lime in the late winter. Talk to your local extension agent or feed mill for info on who does it and when.
                  There is a great company in our area called "Gourmet Grazing," and, among other things, their primary service is pasture restoration. This is what they recommended to me. I already figured on mowing and liming anyways, but this is their exact "in the meantime" prescription:

                  1. Mowing is very important. If you're grazing horses, they won't eat tall grass. Mowing cuts the seed heads off the weeds. Height of 4" minimum, to keep ground and grass roots shaded from the heat. I prefer 6-8" tall.

                  2. If you know the pastures have not had lime applied in the last 1-2 years, I'm certain they will need lime. That's the nature of the soil in this area. It can be applied anytime. I'd suggest 1-2 tons per acre, applied via spreader truck. Charge for lime in our area is $45 per ton + labor. Lime is the king of all nutrients. It kicks all the other essential minerals into action. Note: one ton of bagged lime is 50 bags. About three times more expensive than bulk lime. Also a back killer to open and spread enough bags to do any good.

                  3. Next best time to spray weeds will be this fall.

                  Items 1 & 2, plus not overgrazing your pastures, should be first on your list.
                  If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                  DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                  Originally posted by talkofthetown
                  As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Anteup View Post
                    When should I lime it?
                    Before you treat the soil with anything have it tested so you know what the soil actually needs.


                    • Original Poster

                      This is a great start thanks everyone!
                      What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm


                      • #12
                        Liming is generally done in October/November(in Texas) after haying/mowing season. Soil testing is important, should be done annually--at the same time every year--late fall or early spring.

                        Where are you located?
                        You have people giving you helpful advice but is limited because your location is unknown!
                        What is done in the south when you are in a drought is different than what is done in a normal rainfall year. And the north is different than the south.

                        Please read the threads and answer the pertinenent questions. instead of skipping over them and answering with a nondescript "thank you".


                        • #13
                          My fields had not been used in 5-6 years and I have mine (almost) under control from brush hogging and weed spraying (I use Crossbow which is ok to graze on). Had my horses out there within a few week and I continue to work around them to clear some of the harder areas. If you keep mowing the grass will come!
                          I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                          • #14
                            And, be aware of your turtles, if you have them, and bush-hog during the heat of the afternoon.
                            You do need to mow, though, to keep weeds at bay.


                            • #15
                              I just mentioned this in another thread, but have you considered goats?

                              In many cases, they're cheaper than mechanical weeding, spraying, or prescribed fire. It can work pretty darn well, too.

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