Whether you live in the country or city, keeping areas around your home clear of undergrowth is a necessity. Areas with vines, brush and debris are frequented by snakes, bees, wasps and poisonous spiders that can injure or kill people and their pets. If you live in the country, overgrown areas can be a greater health hazard because it gives wild pigs, foxes and coyotes hiding places. There are many ways people clear undergrowth, but the simplest methods are usually the most efficient.
Bring in the goats. If you don't own goats, check around for someone who might loan you theirs. It's not a myth: Goats eat everything, and they prefer brush and undergrowth to grass. Their favourite food is small pine trees. They will clean a small area of undergrowth in a few days, and a large area within a few weeks without anyone lifting a weed eater or axe. Put an electric fence around the area you want the goats to clear, and let them roam. Supply the goats with plenty of water.
Wait for winter before clearing bad undergrowth areas if possible. Many snakes hibernate when it's cold, so it's safer. Even in winter, wear thick leather gloves and snake boots. Snakes still bite in the winter, especially if you are in a temperate area that doesn't stay constantly under -1.11 degrees C.
Rent a tractor with a bush hog attachment. A bush hog is like a giant lawnmower, but it cuts through everything---even small trees. Mow down as much of the undergrowth as possible.
Get a backhoe if the underbrush is in a large area because it is the safest method for clearing large areas. Push down small trees, and use the bucket with the teeth to pull everything out of the way. Dig a large hole where it won't cause any problems, and put the wood, leaves, rocks and other underbrush into the hole. Cover it with dirt, and let it compost in the hole.
Use the weed eater to clear near trees, rocks and holes. Use a chainsaw for removing larger tree limbs in your way. Put on safety glasses before using the chainsaw, and watch out for knots in the trees where you cut; knots can make the chainsaw jerk unsafely.
Put on the boots and leather gloves, and clear out the debris cut by the bush hog. Use a rake for pulling out as much debris as possible before walking into the area. The noise from the bush hog should scare animals, but not all animals move away. Remove all cut up trees, vines and sticks, and dispose of them. If you have a compost heap, add leaves and sticks to it. Do not add vines to the compost heap. They will root, and you'll be back to square 1. Bag or burn vines for disposal.
Spray weed killer at the bottom of vining plants. Honeysuckle, trumpet vine, wisteria, kudzu and poison ivy are almost impossible to kill without weed killer.
Things you need
- Bush hog
- Heavy leather gloves
- Snake boots or heavy leather boots
- Weed eater
- Weed killer
- Heavy rakes
- Safety glasses