How to Clear a Pasture

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There are several methods for clearing trees and shrubs from land to create better pasture for livestock. Cleared land used as pasture will support more livestock than land with trees and shrubs. The process of clearing land, sometimes called grubbing the land, can be done with heavy equipment or with hand power tools depending on the amount of land to be cleared and the amount of time and effort the landowner wishes to dedicate to the project.

Things You'll Need

  • Bulldozer or front-end loader (optional)
  • Fertilizer
  • Goats (optional)
  • Mulcher (optional)
  • Grass seed

Clearing Pasture Land

  • Remove the trees and shrubs. This can be done with tracked or wheeled heavy equipment such as bulldozers or front-end loaders. These machines will uproot any plants in their path and push the resulting plants into a pile. This pile can then be burned, buried or allowed to decay naturally. Note that the heavy equipment used for clearing the land can also cause serious disruption to the topsoil of the pasture.

  • Remove trees and shrubs by hand. This allows the trees to be utilized for lumber or firewood but leaves stumps in the ground that will need to be removed later, or allowed to decompose. Removing trees individually requires less heavy equipment but is more labor intensive than grubbing the land with a bulldozer. However it is also better for the soil.

  • Use a mulcher that will chip vegetation and work it into the soil.

  • Raise some goats. According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, goats can be used to consume some shrubs. Goats will not be effective in areas with mature trees.

Creating the Pasture

  • Take and process soil samples to determine the need for any fertilizer requirements for the soil. Add any fertilizer needed before seeding the pasture. Select a pasture grass variety suitable for the area and climate. Spreading straw as a mulch over the fresh seeds will increase the germination rate and the strength of the stand of grass. Allow the grass to become established before allowing any animals to graze. Build any necessary fences or corrals to complete the pasture.

  • Leave some trees in the pasture. Depending on the species of livestock intended for the pasture, some trees may be beneficial in the pasture. Make sure the species of trees are not toxic.

  • Leave trees that are mature and will not be damaged by the livestock in the pasture. Leave trees randomly placed where they will provide shade in the summer and shelter from rain or snow during other seasons. In some cases a protective fence will be necessary around the tree. Place the fence about 2 to 3 feet away from the trunk.

References

  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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