Desposing of invasive plant material.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I have always piled my privet up in large piles and set it on fire during the winter, but if this dry weather continues I may not be able to burn any time soon. I have thought about buying one of those wood chippers but they are sort of expensive for something that may not work well. I hate to leave all of it just laying on the ground (in the woods) because it creates a haven for snakes and invasive vines, and privet decays slowly. Do any of you guys use chippers? If so, how well do they work?

This message was edited Aug 12, 2006 11:31 PM

Peoria, IL

I do use a chipper but primarily for large woody stems and branches - and the christmas tree.

For herbacious type plants I compost them. Sometimes I will run them over the mower to mulch 'em before I put them on the compost pile... but only if its alot of large stuff. Most times I dump weeds on the pile and then bury them with other compostables.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

My main problem is the woody plant material. I think I may look into getting a chipper a little more. The one I looked at before was at Sears, it was around $700.

Peoria, IL

I got mine used at a garage sale. We gave it a good once over - cleaned it up, oil change, air filter, sharpening, etc. I paid around $150 for it. I did notice the same one was over $700 new.

You might want to check the classifieds for a used one. If you are good with small engines, there is not alot that can go wrong with them that would be difficult to fix.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

How often does the blade need sharpening/changing?

Peoria, IL

I only use it a couple times per year. I am sure how much you use it will determine how often you need to have it sharpened. I think most people just replace the auger rather than have it sharpened? Because we bought ours used, we took it apart and just spot ground a few dings and dents....

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I just invested in a Flowtron leaf shredder. I want to start composting this year & want to "encourage" the leaves to breakdown, especially the oak leaves. I had previously rented a seriously large shredder to take care of the major property clearing in the spring. The leaf shredder was a pain to put together, but we tested it out & it's loads of fun, & you can adjust how fine or coarse you want things shredded. When shopping online, I noticed a couple of electric chippers that are a lot less than $700.00, but I know a lot of people don't like the electric tools. For something like a mower, I see their point, but for a chipper or shredder that you're not going to use every day, it makes more sense.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Re: Sears Craftsman Chipper Shredder 8.5 Horsepower Model #247.775880 purchased 03/03 cost $580.00 It handles dry woody material fairly well. I would rate it a B+. Wear eye protection, heavy gloves and ear protection. It can grab a branch unexpectedly and twist it violently enough to cause a sprained wrist. As I am a small statured female with limited upper body strength you brawny guys out there might not experience this. For soft material or damp material I would rate it a B-. I have tons of oak leaves and the process is slow if you want to avoid the machine clogging. Damp material obviously clogs more often. Nice finished product though. What has been a real neat discovery is the Craftsman Model No. 358.797310 gas powered blower/vac. (cost/purchase date forgotten). This thing is a real gem. Use it as a vac to pull tough oak leaves out from under shrubs, piled up in corners or in other tight spaces, flower beds, anywhere you dont want them. It will even pull leaves from shrubs with thorns. It chops the leaves into 1/2" pieces. I turn around and empty the bag as needed under the Rhodies or wherever for the most beautiful oak leaf mulch ever. It is heavy, noisy and stinky and I love it.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

Thanks Snapple, I will look into it. I'm not really concerned about leaves, it's mostly shrubery stems and branches.

Citra, FL(Zone 9a)

A chipper is one of the big tools I'm looking at eventually owning. I hate burning so much potential mulch, as well as adding to the pollution, even if I do like the burning itself. Renting occasionally doesn't seem like a viable option, since there is a 65 mile gap between the rental company and my house, though I could be wrong.

Keep us posted as to what you come up with, won't you, escambiaguy? Too bad you didn't live closer. Ideally, I think neighborhoods should have such contraptions in cooperative ownership. Everyone around me could use it at one time or another in a year.

The info about the blower/vac, snapple45, may be something I can use, though I am so completely, below the basement, DOWN on Sears. This, after buying a houseful and shedful of Kenmore and Craftsman appliances and tools.

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

4paws, care to share what burned you from Sears?

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I haven't got one yet. I usually do all of my invasive brush clearing during the winter so I don't have to worry about snakes and poison ivy. I have always burned by brush piles but it seems like every time I go out there and light it up the wind starts blowing. That's all I need is my name in the paper for starting a wildfire. lol

Citra, FL(Zone 9a)

Snapple, you've got a dmail.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I got my new DR chipper yesterday! I chipped up lots of Chinese Privet today. Mine is supposed to be able to chip up to 4.5 inches, but I think I will keep it under 3inches to make the knife last longer. The speed of it depends on the softness of the wood. I chipped up some slender red maples that were bent from the hurricane and they went through like a hot knife through butter. Harder woods like oak will still chip fine but have a little more vibration and noise. The guy at DR said the knife will need sharpening after about 20 hours of use and can be sharpened about 5 times before replacement. I don't know of I should use the mulch from the privet because I'm sure it has plenty of seeds in it that I don't want to scatter, but I did use some of the red maple mulch around my young trees.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

that sounds like more fun than christmas shopping!!!

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

Since I have all of this extra mulch now, I had the idea of mounding it on top of the privet stumps to try to stop resprouting. I wonder of it would work? I know the ideal way would be to apply herbicide to them, but I'm using a chainsaw and it would take forever if I constantly had to stop and paint every one.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

my impression form what i've been reading in another thread/forum is that the herbicide wouldn't get sucked down much this time of year anyway. I would think to stop them sprouting right up thru you want a good deeep pile of mulch on them, more than a foot at least, and even a barrier under it to make it harder for the sprouts to get up to the light. My neighbor trimmed his privet hedge way down every couple of years and it would come right back. Then again, if any seeds there, they'd just be in the same place where you know you have them. I don't know that you have to worry much about seeds in that tho. If the old privet is in a place that would make a good mulch/compost place for at least a year, I'd try it.

This message was edited Dec 15, 2006 5:15 PM

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Christmas chopping is WAAAY better than Christmas shopping. Unless the compost remains for a good long time, the privet will come right back, just like acid indigestion from Aunt Betty's fruit cake that keeps on coming back. We took out thirty feet on a piece of commercial property. If I could have I would have used a backhoe. We eventually used Ground Clear two years in a row. That worked. It now has some Viburnums growing nicely. Obviously Ground Clear is not an option for every situation. The privet came out because it required constant pruning and because it trapped every piece of windblown debris. The viburnums offer much more color and are a lot easier to maintain.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I thought I would post some photos of before and after. For anyone who doubts the invasiveness of Ligustrum, look at these.

Thumbnail by escambiaguy
Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

another

Thumbnail by escambiaguy
Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

one more

Thumbnail by escambiaguy
Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

here is another area that I have cleared the privet from

Thumbnail by escambiaguy
Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I removed the privet from this area too, but as you can see I have plenty more to go in the background.

Thumbnail by escambiaguy
West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Amazing. And shocking, truly. I have to weed it occasionally here in suburbia, and there's a few dozen in our tiny adjacent 'woods', but that's something else.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

Yeah, some spots are so thick you have to get on your hands and knees to be able to get through it. Most people would have either left it alone or bull dozed the whole place, but I have uncovered so many little hollies and other natives from that mess. I should have noted that the tall evergreen shrubs you see in the first after photo is native Wax myrtle I choose to keep.



This message was edited Dec 16, 2006 8:20 PM

Holland, OH(Zone 5b)

Holy Cow! That's something else altogether. We weren't dealing with anything that out of control. Zone 8b must really give that stuff a boost. Zone 5 not so much.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

I don't think Ligustrum sinense would be hardy in the midwest. What you probably have is Ligustrum japonicum which is not as aggressive.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Or Ligustrum amurense, Ligustrum obtusifolium, Ligustrum x ibolium, Ligustrum vulgare, or (the dreaded yellow) Ligustrum x vicaryi, all of which are hardy midwestern miscreants.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I've helped my sister in Florida(Escambia County, I believe) try to clear her yard. Brambles, bamboo vine(nothing like bamboo, strangely). Possibly a big mistake that they let the builder leave'natural' stuff in her suburban yard. It's a whole different ballgame trying to clear/keep clear there than in the midatlantic, I guess with longer growing season, lots of rain, sandy soil. Must see to believe.

Atmore, AL(Zone 8b)

This website sounds promising, but I'd have to see it to believe it. http://ipm.ifas.ufl.edu/natural-areas/weeds/terrestrial/chinese-privet-biocontrol.htm

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I read about a solution to the "problem" of having piles of slow-to-compost woody waste.

Call it "hugelculture" onstead. (Google Search gives many links).

If you pile wood in one place, ideally in a trench below grade, and spread leaves, grass and soil on top, the wood will act as a water reservoir while it deocmposes slowly.

Think of it as lasagna composting on top of a woodpile, or a raised bed built on top of a a wooden foundation.

(Hopefully, weed seeds buried deeply enough will never be a problem.)

Corey

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