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Spring clean up when you can't burn

Posted by susanswoods Z6 VA (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 8, 10 at 11:27

I have a wildflower meadow that is about 1000 sq. ft. I nearly killed myself this weekend cutting back the dried stems from last year. They grow abou 5 ft. tall and are tough and woody. The string trimmer didn't even dent them. I ended up using a dethatching rake to drag through the mess. I need some sort of cutter but am intimidated by the thought of a scythe. What do people use to cut stuff like this?

I know the preferred method is to burn it off but my neighbors and the town fire department would have a conniption fit if I tried it in my back yard.

I am looking at this tool from Lehman's. Has anyone used something like this?


Here is a link that might be useful: My natives blog

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Spring clean up when you can't burn

I do trail maintenance for the National Forest Service and we use a DR string trimmer to maintain the trails. It's much more powerful than a hand held string trimmer and will cut through brush up to 1" diameter. If purchasing a machine is not in your budget, it can be rented at your local hardware store.

Here is a link that might be useful: DR string trimmer

RE: Spring clean up when you can't burn

I probably have about 1000 square feet of native perennials, mostly strong, tall prairie plants, spread over several beds. I am in an older suburb and burning is out of the question. In the spring, it's relatively easy to break down the stems close to ground level and either carry or rake them off the beds. Grab a handful of stalks close to ground level and bend them--do not pull, because some shallower-rooted plants will come right out of the ground.

I pile last year's growth and fallen leaves onto a tarp, drag it away, and then compost all of it. I work on a small area at a time. I can't say that the entire job is enjoyable, but I do enjoy uncovering the new growth, reconnecting with the plants, weeding, and moving things around in the different beds.

I should mention that I'm close to 60. I do exercises to strengthen my back muscles, especially this time of the year!

I finished the whole job yesterday, and now I am really enjoying the gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: follow me on twitter

RE: Spring clean up when you can't burn

hi there
if you would consider an motor powered tool there is this kind of tough hedge trimmer on a stick, product number FH-KM 135. It is designed to clear undergrowth and dense weed so it should be fine for prairie clearing. I have seen municipal gardeners using it on plantings of sub shrubs (Hypericum calycinum). OK, it is really a Rolls Royce, but it should be a great tool. When I trained as a landscape contractor we had some Stihl chain saw and things and they are awsome.
Well, depends upon the size of your patch.

cheers, Lin

Here is a link that might be useful: really neat power tool

RE: Spring clean up when you can't burn

Susanswoods; the ag tool for this is a tractor and a brush-hog. That'll do the trick. If someone nearby you doesn't have one (most farmers will), it can be rented but a little costly...renting one for the day in my area will cost about $150 delivered, but it's worth it. 1000 square feet would take maybe 10 minutes to cut.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Musings

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