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A Fence Line Revealed

Recently (Sept 17 & 18) we did fence line around back half of 10 acres. The owner, like a lot of owners, asked how wide is the equipment? It is 6 foot. Perfect, he says. He wants it cleared 6 foot wide. It has been 12 years since he was able to wiggle his way through brush and trees along the fence. Some land has been in the family for 3-5 generations, anywhere from 10-15 years to 50 to 75 years. They all want the fence cleared to build or repair their fence. Only 6-8 feet is necessary. They want to be frugal as their ancestors…of course it was prairie back then…not necessarily what is there today. This is when reality hits the pavement…hard.

Sir…there is a canopy of very large post oak that has fallen on your fence…just beyond it there is a very large eastern red cedar that fell and its canopy is parallel to the fence…the yaupons are 12 feet tall with horizontal 15 foot limbs. Within the yaupons are small trees growing randomly. The spaghetti I had for dinner last night was less tangled! Sure the equipment is 6 foot wide but that super large tree is within that area.

Here is a tree that fell--Spaghetti!

Okay, we go around it. We go around all obstacles in order to find a way to mulch it without damaging adjacent trees that are to stay. Debris is mulched up and you can drive your tractor around the perimeter of your property again. The trees that stay look great…an arborist culled out not-so-great trees. But there are other results too.

Opening up the fenceline

There is a good firebreak around this newly selectively cleared fence line. The dead fall, brush and small trees are mulched leaving good space for firefighters to work and save your structures. More animals and birds will feed on seeds and such with next spring growth. By clearing out beneath the canopy of large trees next to the fence they are protected from wildfire going and coming while not competing for water and nutrients from brush and small trees. Yes, this helps during a drought, and mulch does for them what it does in your landscape…retards erosion…conserves water…protects soil from sun…promotes seed germination of wild flowers and native grasses…composts down into useful nutrients. And, yes we can do a couple more days for trails and such and spread other days over years to eventually get it manageable .

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You and your crew did a wonderful job clearing and mulching at my place near McDade last winter.  The woods were very overgrown after decades of neglect.  In three days work, you and your crew removed a huge amount of brush and ‘fire ladders’, making a vast improvement for wildlife and fire safety.  You listened to my requests but made numerous suggestions how to improve the plans that I had made, with the result of more benefits for wildlife and more beauty to appreciate.  I was astonished how you guys could work fast and accomplish a lot with the big forestry mower, yet leave unscathed even small bushes we wanted to save.  You taught me a lot about taking care of the place and the new pathways and pocket meadows have been a joy for me and my family.  I’m looking forward to having you do more this year.  Let me mention that all our interactions were very professional, your team came when you said they would, and I can’t think of anything to complain about.  I recommended you to my neighbors and I’m happy to answer any questions about your work. Best regards, Dave Naumann Mc Dade, TX and Hoboken, NJ

Dave NaumannLand Steward
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I am writing on behalf of Carl Brockman, who performed land clearing for Black-capped Vireo habitat restoration for Travis County in February 2004. Mr. Brockman proved to be very professional and demonstrated a great deal of expertise, care and concern during all phases of the project. His understanding of native vegetation and our ultimate goal was paramount in allowing him to often work unsupervised. I strongly recommend his services for habitat restoration or manipulation. If you require any further information. please call me.

Paul FushilleTravis County TNR
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