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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a real mess around my place - honeysuckle and fallen trees. The trees are mainly due to the Emerald Ash Borer destruction. I'm trying to figure out what I can do with equipment that I either own or that my 3520 can power. Or, should I just hire someone with a Fecon Head (aka Forestry Mulcher) on a skid steer to make short work of it.

I'd be interested to hear from you guys with flail mowers to see what kind of stuff you have or can cut with your mowers? I've done some reading on the subject here and on that other tractor forum, but I really haven't seen anyone that's dealt with the kind of stuff I have here. Just to give you an idea, here's a couple of pictures....

20190111_100720_resized.jpg

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The honeysuckle ranges anywhere from pencil thick to several inches. I'd be interested in being able to mow down anything up to about 2" - 2.5" with the flail. Is that doable?

I don't mind going slow, as long as it would cut it. And, I have no illusions that the flail mower would cut/grind up the fallen tree in the second picture. I have a chipper for stuff like that. And I have a tree puller to pull out the bigger honeysuckle. I'm looking at clearing about 2.5 acres initially.

I had a forestry mulcher guy out here yesterday. He's thinking that what I want done right now (but still more in the future) would be a two day project. We're looking at roughly $2100 per day for an operator and the equipment - $4200 plus sales tax total. Or, I found an operable Deere 25-A flail mower for $900 at a dealer in NW OH.

Appreciate any input. :good2:
 
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I dunno. Woodmax says their flail mowers can chomp on stiff up to 1" diameter. Land Pride says 1.5" for their's.

I'd look and see if any local skidsteer rental places have a forestry mulcher available. Those things will eat a 10" tree. Rental would still be a lot cheaper than what they are talking about charging you. I can rent a skidsteer for $600/week in my area.
 

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At work I ran a boom arm mower with both a flail and rotary cutter. My opinion, being brief, is a flail is more for grass where a rotary cutter is more for brush.

Your pic - I would choose the rotary mower (bush hog).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I dunno. Woodmax says their flail mowers can chomp on stiff up to 1" diameter. Land Pride says 1.5" for their's.

I'd look and see if any local skidsteer rental places have a forestry mulcher available. Those things will eat a 10" tree. Rental would still be a lot cheaper than what they are talking about charging you. I can rent a skidsteer for $600/week in my area.
I've checked on the rental. Of course, none of the "usual rental places" (Home Depot, local tool rentals, etc.) have the forestry mulcher head. I did find the Cat dealer up north of me does rent what I need, but it ain't cheap either. You need the super high flow hydraulic machine, not just a standard skidsteer. Also, the ones that they rent with the mulcher also have a reinforced cage to protect you from falling trees. The whole shootin' match is about $900 per day (or about $5,000 for a week), plus liability insurance and a few other odds and ends. Plus, a $175 each way delivery fee. Since I've never operated one of these before, I'm sure there's a learning curve on it. Of course, I have watched a bunch of YouBoob videos, so I guess that makes me an expert. :laugh:
 

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At work I ran a boom arm mower with both a flail and rotary cutter. My opinion, being brief, is a flail is more for grass where a rotary cutter is more for brush.

Your pic - I would choose the rotary mower (bush hog).
The Township (and the County too) has a flail on a hydraulic arm that they use for trimming back the honeysuckle along roads. It's got big teeth/blades on it and really does a job cutting that stuff up. Unfortunately, even though I'm a high-powered local elected official, the Township Road Superintendent won't let me borrow it for a few days to use around my place. :laugh:

I've thought about a bush hog too, but they also have stated limitations on what they'll cut. Also, the flails tend to throw less stuff out of them, so I'm trying limit the projectile factor.
 

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I've got a Woodmax flail mower, and it does good up to around 1-1.5". I hit a 2-2.5" tree once by accident (it was laid flat on the ground but my tire made it stand up). It stopped the mower. I had to cut it out of the mower by hand. On the smaller brush it does a reasonably good job mulching it if you do an extra pass or two. AFAIK for your size tractor there isn't a mower that can handle 2"+ diameter trees. So I'd probably consider using a chainsaw for the bigger stuff, and a flail or rotary cutter for the <= 1". If it's too intermixed to allow for that, then I think a skidsteer with that mulching head is required.


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I have a JD 390 behind a ~50 HP tractor,,

If I hit something bigger than one inch,, the flail tries to shake my eye teeth out!! :flag_of_truce:

I have a 12 HP Gravely with a 30" single blade rotary mower,, it has a slip clutch,,
I will cut 1 1/2" green stuff with that,, but not dead, dry stuff,, and not locust,,, :nunu:

So, my JD 390 seldom hits anything other than grass,,,

I would push that honeysuckle out with my loader bucket,, one or two plants at a time.
 

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At work I ran a boom arm mower with both a flail and rotary cutter. My opinion, being brief, is a flail is more for grass where a rotary cutter is more for brush.

Your pic - I would choose the rotary mower (bush hog).
Personally, I would choose neither. I would go for a pulverizer. While you couldn't really run one on a CUT very well, a skidsteer would work very well. they have huge initial cost so it's best to rent a skidsteer with one attached.
 

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Personally, I would choose neither. I would go for a pulverizer. While you couldn't really run one on a CUT very well, a skidsteer would work very well. they have huge initial cost so it's best to rent a skidsteer with one attached.
Don't know what your referring to as a pulverizer. The only pulverizer I know of is used on soil.
 
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Don't know what your referring to as a pulverizer. The only pulverizer I know of is used on soil.
My bad. I meant mulcher...



 

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I have a JD 390 behind a ~50 HP tractor,,

If I hit something bigger than one inch,, the flail tries to shake my eye teeth out!! :flag_of_truce:

I have a 12 HP Gravely with a 30" single blade rotary mower,, it has a slip clutch,,
I will cut 1 1/2" green stuff with that,, but not dead, dry stuff,, and not locust,,, :nunu:

So, my JD 390 seldom hits anything other than grass,,,

I would push that honeysuckle out with my loader bucket,, one or two plants at a time.
I don't know how deep the roots are on that honeysuckle but my loader bucket with the Piranha tooth bar pushed over some very thick brush. It actually pushed them out of the ground roots and all. The root balls were probably around 1.5 to 2' diameter. Most of it looked like what you have there.
 

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Hire it done!

Some of the lower part of my property was covered in Buckthorn! That stuff had a good hold on about 2 acres of our property. About a year ago I hired a company that came in with a forestry head on their skidsteer. I think it was a great decision and I will not hesitate doing it again if I need to.

By the way I have a Frontier RC 2048 and I have been using that to keep down new growth along with Triclopyr and diesel. I contemplated doing it myself but then reality hit my wife and she said "it's going to take you a long time, hire it done." I didn't want to upset her plus I'm a good listener, sometimes.
 

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I don't know how deep the roots are on that honeysuckle but my loader bucket with the Piranha tooth bar pushed over some very thick brush. It actually pushed them out of the ground roots and all. The root balls were probably around 1.5 to 2' diameter. Most of it looked like what you have there.
I did something similar when I was clearing sections of my property. It was all stuff like multiiflora rose and 5’-6’ tall saplings that were 1.5”-2” in diameter. Set my loader bucket with tooth bar level at about 2” below grade went. It would take the stuff down by the roots. I had my bush hog running on the back. As I pushed them over I then ran over them with the bush hog.

Worked very well - only had to take a few more passes over everything with the bush hog.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have a JD 390 behind a ~50 HP tractor,,

If I hit something bigger than one inch,, the flail tries to shake my eye teeth out!! :flag_of_truce:

I have a 12 HP Gravely with a 30" single blade rotary mower,, it has a slip clutch,,
I will cut 1 1/2" green stuff with that,, but not dead, dry stuff,, and not locust,,, :nunu:


So, my JD 390 seldom hits anything other than grass,,,

I would push that honeysuckle out with my loader bucket,, one or two plants at a time.
THIS is really good info, CAD! (Also appreciate your comments, Jamone! :good2:) I've been looking around for used 390's and 25-A's as they would probably be a bit heavier than some of the imported units. I saw a picture of your other tractor and the flail on another site and your tractor is a beast compared to my 3520!

I also have a 10 HP Gravely with the 30" brush hog on it. It does a surprisingly great job on stuff (as you know) but is a little small to tackle all of what I have - although I have considered using it.... kind of the "one bite at a time" approach. :laugh: Before we started losing all of the trees to the ash borer, the Gravely was my main land maintenance tool around here.
 
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Hire it done!

Some of the lower part of my property was covered in Buckthorn! That stuff had a good hold on about 2 acres of our property. About a year ago I hired a company that came in with a forestry head on their skidsteer. I think it was a great decision and I will not hesitate doing it again if I need to.

By the way I have a Frontier RC 2048 and I have been using that to keep down new growth along with Triclopyr and diesel. I contemplated doing it myself but then reality hit my wife and she said "it's going to take you a long time, hire it done." I didn't want to upset her plus I'm a good listener, sometimes.
I remember that thread project! And the before and after pics. Glad to hear you say that it was a good decision.


I don't know how deep the roots are on that honeysuckle but my loader bucket with the Piranha tooth bar pushed over some very thick brush. It actually pushed them out of the ground roots and all. The root balls were probably around 1.5 to 2' diameter. Most of it looked like what you have there.
I did something similar when I was clearing sections of my property. It was all stuff like multiiflora rose and 5’-6’ tall saplings that were 1.5”-2” in diameter. Set my loader bucket with tooth bar level at about 2” below grade went. It would take the stuff down by the roots. I had my bush hog running on the back. As I pushed them over I then ran over them with the bush hog.

Worked very well - only had to take a few more passes over everything with the bush hog.
I have a Piranha toothbar. This was the main reason that I bought it was to rip the stuff out. But the problem becomes "what to do with it once you rip it out?" So I started changing my approach to cutting the honeysuckle, chipping it and then pulling out the roots with my tree puller and piling the root balls until I have enough to warrant renting a dump trailer and taking them to the County "yard waste recycling area". I can dump them at no charge there. But this approach is also slooooow going, although it is enjoyable. But, once the ash trees started falling, it was pretty evident that I was going to need to do something else in an effort to get the woods to look decent again.

I'm curious, Stan - how did the bush hog do with the root balls? Did you do this with your 2520? I've considered getting a bush hog, but thought that the flail might be a little more maneuverable in tight quarters.

The final decision will probably be to just hire it done and be done with the big part. As I mentioned in the original post, I had a guy come out Monday to look things over. I had actually called him 1/4/19. At the time, he was in the cab of his machine clearing some property and asked me to text him my contact info - which I immediately did. Didn't hear from him so texted again on 1/26/19 saying "don't forget me", so he texted back and we set up Monday's visit. When he left, he asked me to email him and then he would return the email with a firm estimate. Haven't heard anything back, although it's only been 48 hours.

I know another guy that tells me that he "has access" to both a Forestry Mower (with a blade - basically a super duty bush hog on the front of a skid steer) and a Forestry Mulcher. He's a nice guy but pretty scatterbrained and poor follow-up so I was hoping to find someone who does this full time. I might end up having to call this guy though and see what we can work out.

THANKS to everyone for their input so far! :good2:
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
The email from the Forestry guy just rolled in a few minutes ago. $2100 per day for the mulcher and also a second skidsteer with a grapple (to move the stuff too big to mulch) on-site. If I have them do two days in a row, I can deduct $300 from the $4200 total since it saves them a trip charge.

Orono - do you remember (and mind sharing) about what you paid? I think this is about the going rate around here.


EDIT - Here are a couple more pics of roughly the same part of the woods as before, but taken from my upstairs window looking out on it. You can see the bigger trees laying around...

20190130_105812_resized_1.jpg

20190130_105824_resized_1.jpg
 

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The brush hog did fine with the smaller root balls. Anything that I thought was too big to rip out and/or brush hog I simply cut down with the chainsaw level with the ground. Yes - it was behind my 2520 - a 4’ brush hog which I kept when I upgraded from my 2210.

I did most of my projects like this in the winter - gave me something to do - had quite a few winters in a row then with little or no snow.

When done I would keep mowing it with the brush hog about once a month. With a little extra saw trimming here and there after a couple years I can now mow it all with my belly mower set at the high position.
 

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I would be looking at this project a little different knowing what a dozer can do with a good brush clearing blade to rip up the roots and all and burn it in a big burn pile. Then use the dozer to Blue Top Grade the place and seed the freshly cleared dirt. Your talking some big costs and still have a mess on the ground? Not sure how many acres your dealing with but a good operator knowing how to use his equipment can turn out better then learning what can be done renting stuff. I know been there done that. I have a guy who brings his 4/way blade dozer to my place off and on and I just watch him work. He can do 3 times what I can do with one and then I play in the dirt later.

Look at these picture of what a Dozer can do. They should run around $180-250.00 a hour with a operator. They can do a ton of work in 8 hours. https://www.google.com/search?q=land+clearing+with+a+dozer&tbm=isch&source=hp&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjM0uK_jJbgAhW5HjQIHb-1C50QsAR6BAgDEAE&biw=1114&bih=602
 

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After all said and done I think I had ~2 acres done in a day with 1 machine, operator and an arborist. The cost was about $3000 if I remember correctly. The forestry head (mulcher) was a beast. It mulched up everything from saplings to trees in excess of 12" in diameter.

My only regret was that I had it done in the winter because snow on the ground hid or covered up a few of the stumps. A few of them are still a bit higher than I would like but very manageable. If there wasn't any snow, I'm pretty sure the operator would have run the mulching head right along the ground all the time.
 

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I've got a woods 18' batwing and a JD MX 5 rotary mowers that I use around the edges of my fields to keep vegetation back. I,ve taken 2-3" trees with them with out any issues. When I come up to something large,I raise the mower and slowly lower it over the small tree and go on my way.
 
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