Priorities: Remove Dense Brush – Treat for Prevention
Challenges: Tight Corridors – Trip Hazards – Pollution
Solutions: Safety Focus – Teamwork Between Operators and Ground Crew
Supervisory staff at a Central Texas farm supply company had big plans for a 4-acre swath of undeveloped land at its corporate headquarters. But the parcel would need a lot of work first.
The land was choked with invasives like ligustrum (L. lucidum), Chinaberry (Melia azedarach), and Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera). Vines climbed into taller trees in thick curtains. And the site’s close proximity to a major highway, a set of railroad tracks, and a retention lake had led to persistent unsanctioned camping and trash problems.
Plans existed for the site to become a “retreat,” where the company’s corporate staff could take relaxing work breaks in the form of meditation, yoga, and outdoor lunches.
The scope of work included removing and herbiciding invasives, then mowing the remaining brush and limbing trees up to eight feet high to clear the understory.
Maas Verde first assessed objective hazards. Trash, both visible and hidden among the thick brush, was an injury and/or disease risk. Narrow corridors meant operators couldn’t drive machines through some areas — and that in others, they would have to work closely alongside the ground crew. Chainsaw operators needed to remain cognizant of trip hazards in between cuts. And a barbed wire fence cut through the middle of the work area.
Key equipment included two skid steers, one mounted with a grapple bucket and one with a forestry mower. The ground crew used chainsaws and backpack sprayers.
The crew cleared the land to spec safely and methodically. Once the ground crew swept an area, the machine with the grapple bucket removed piles of downed brush. The forestry mower then removed remaining vegetation and mulched the area.
Andy Maas, who managed the project for Maas Verde, explained the team’s approach.
“Cutting the unwanted brush and treating those cuts was the main priority. We also thinned a lot of the vines,” Maas said. “This site was so overgrown, and some of the work areas were very challenging. To finish the job without any safety issues was our goal, and we accomplished that.”
Maas Verde hauled off remaining material that couldn’t be mulched, concluding all scopes of work.