Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thinning Stands with the Brown Tree Cutter

I recently visited Jerry Clark on his farm in Winston County. Mr. Clark is a retired extension agent, and also the father of Kerry Clark, the Fire Management Officer on the Bankhead National Forest. Mr. Clark was using the Brown Tree Cutter to thin some overstocked loblolly pine stands on his property. This machine is manufactured in Oxford, Alabama, and it is designed to be mounted on a standard 3-point tractor hitch. It cuts through three-inch diameter pines with ease, and can cut up to eight-inch diameter trees. The operation of the cutter requires a great deal of skill and attention on the part of the operator. The cutter is pushed into the trees by operating the tractor in reverse. This is a fatiguing position for the tractor operator. The cut trees fall on the cutter, and the shear volume of material makes it difficult to see the cutting head. A "forestry package" for the tractor, which includes shields for the windows, underside, hood, and roof, is absolutely essential to avoid damage. The results are very positive; a thinned stand that will result in a healthier forest and better wildlife habitat.

1 comment:

Cheryl Smith said...

I agree that cutting in reverse is very tiring. I had a small patch of trees I had to clear, and it took me several days to do it. I'm also glad is going to make a difference for the habitat.