There are many things to love about living in the great state of Oregon—the beautiful coast, year-round mountain sports, excellent hiking, and the best beer in the country—but it’s probably no surprise to learn that at Mr. Tree, one of our favorites is just how green everything is. The lush forests of the Pacific Northwest are a national treasure.
The downside, however, is that sometimes plants grow and thrive where we don’t want them, and our yards and lots can quickly become overgrown. Here are some helpful tips to make Oregon brush clearing much easier than you think.
The Benefits of Brush Clearing
It can be tempting to shrug your shoulders and ask, “Why bother? It’s just going to grow back.” This is especially true if you’re a homeowner with a plot of land that most people won’t see, such as a fenced-in backyard. However, having a clear yard doesn’t just look good, it has tangible benefits:
- Overgrown, unkempt land can actually reduce its property value.
- Thick brush can be a fire hazard, especially in a state like Oregon, which is known for its dry summers.
- Invasive plants, if unchecked, can spread to neighboring areas.
- Overgrowth can provide an inviting home and habitat for ticks, snakes, and other pests that most of us would rather not have near our houses.
All of this means that effective brush clearing is a no-brainer—especially if you’re looking to sell your land or need a clear lot for developing.
What Tools Do You Need for Brush Clearing?
If you’ve neglected to cut your lawn for a couple of months, a trusty lawnmower will probably do the trick just fine. For more serious growth, however, you may need to look into using more specialized hardware. The good news is that, for the most part, these tools can be rented at local specialty stores like Home Depot, so there’s no need to drop thousands of dollars on a tool you won’t use regularly.
While there are specialized tools that can fit certain tasks, like stump grinders if you have to deal with tree stumps or a string trimmer for tight spots along rocks and trees, the most common brush-clearing tool you should look at is a brush cutter, and they come in multiple sizes.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a tool with a name like this may just be the best all-around tool for dealing with thick brush and overgrowth. Brush cutters are highly maneuverable but also very powerful and can slice through small saplings while making short work of weeds and grass. Brush cutters can either be walked or towed, depending on the size of the lot that needs clearing. Renting a brush cutter is a great first step to clearing your lot.
Should You Use Herbicides While Clearing Brush?
After you’ve taken a brush cutter over your property once, twice, or even more times, that doesn’t guarantee your work is finished. Many of the most notorious plant pests, like the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) or Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolius) can sprout from their roots—as can many of the most stubborn weeds—so even if you’ve removed everything above the ground, the invaders might return.
You should use different herbicides depending on whether you’re primarily concerned with eradicating shrubs or destroying weeds. For woody plants like shrubs, you’ll want to use herbicides containing fluazifop, glyphosate, or triclopyr. Follow manufacturer instructions and apply the solution to leaves or cut stems. This is most effective in late summer or early fall, when a shrub’s leaves are fully open. Keep in mind that it may take some time to see the results you’re hoping for, as it takes a while for the herbicide to make it down into the roots, and you shouldn’t cut the shrubs until they’re dead.
For grassy weeds, you should spray the land with a nonselective herbicide. While this is obviously much easier and quicker than individually applying herbicide to a shrub, keep in mind that a nonselective herbicide is exactly what it says it is and will kill any plants it touches, even ones you wish to keep. Protect these plants by covering them with cardboard, fabric, or newspaper before spraying.
Remember to always apply herbicide on a dry day with as little wind as possible, and wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts, gloves, a head covering, and safety goggles. Prevent children or animals from going near the area where you will be using herbicide.
Alternatively, if you wish to avoid chemical solutions entirely, a slower alternative is to cover the area with a thick layer of mulch (2 to 4 inches) to prevent any sunlight from getting to the invader’s root system. In this case, we recommend using inorganic mulch, such as gravel or landscape fabric—after all, you’re trying to kill the plants beneath the mulch, not nourish them!
Where Should You Take the Brush?
The shrubs you’ve cut have to go somewhere. What you do with the remnants of your now-clear land largely depends on where in Oregon you live. For instance, residents in Portland can put most small yard debris in their green composting roll carts, while larger yard debris should be disposed of at the Metro Central facility. Look up your local town listings to see what you should plan to do with your cleared brush. You also always have the option of placing the debris in your personal compost pile.
Of course, all of this can be a lot of exhausting work and a real hassle, especially if you’re not comfortable with operating the heavy machinery or herbicides in question. If you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your Oregon brush-clearing job is being done by a team of trained professionals, you should talk to Mr. Tree.
We’ve been a trusted name in commercial, residential, and industrial tree and brush services in Oregon since 2000, and our trained arborists will make your brush clearing easy and affordable. For a quote or to learn more about the services we can offer, contact Mr. Tree today.