I Hate Green Briars!

baymule

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Our 8 acres is overrun with green briars. We have been cutting, digging and burning them. When we pull in the driveway, the pasture on the right has a ten foot strip of grass, the rest is woods, standing dead trees and green briars. The green briars form a wall of impenetrable thorny vines up to the tree tops. There are dead standing trees that are held up by the swarm of green briars. This is the pasture where I keep the sheep and it has their night pen and shelter in it. It is about an acre. When we put the sheep in there, we couldn't even see from one side to the other. There were trails around the outside, but since we weren't interested in cutting ourselves to ribbons on the briars, we just let them be.

This is a winter picture that lets you see just how thick the vines are! Notice the dead standing tree?

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Same picture, last week. The gray area at the bottom is newly exposed dirt where the vines weren't so thick and the sheep ate them. If you notice, the vines are stripped at the bottom. Go Sheep!

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The sheep have done a fantastic job of clearing out underbrush and green briars. As far up as they can reach, the sheep have eaten holes in the solid green briars. They don't eat the hard, thorny vines, but they strip the leaves and tender shoots. I even snack on the tender shoots, they taste like asparagus. For the first time, we can SEE! I have been walking on the sheep trails, bending down branches for the sheep while they swarm like eating machines. I showed our grand daughter how to do this and she has had a blast with the sheep.

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We started pulling the green briar vines down. We hack them off at soil level with machetes, then pull the vines down out of the trees. We drag them to the ever growing 10' strip of "pasture" and the sheep happily munch on the green briars.

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We pushed over some dead standing trees, chained on to them and dragged them out with Marigold. It also helped drag out some of the vines.

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Last week, we cut, hacked, dragged, and loaded up FIVE pick up loads of green briar vines. We used a long pole thrust through the snarl to fold them over, then I climbed on the pile and stomped it. yes, green briar thorns did stab me through blue jeans. We folded and stomped until they were in a wad of ugly thorns, then stuck the pole through and dragged them up in the truck. We burned a huge pile of them.

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Yesterday, we machete chopped more vines. The sheep enjoyed our efforts immensely. We pulled vines down from the tree tops in long strands. We worked at it for several hours until were dripping wet with sweat, hot, and tired. We quit for the day and went in to cool off. This morning we attacked vines again. The sheep helped. It goes like this; Chop vines off at the ground, pull. Find a vine that is not chopped, slash it with machete, pull with both hands, lean weight into it. Find another vine, sheep is standing on machete handle, eating vines. Push sheep out of way, pick up machete, slash vine. Drop machete, pull. Leaves rain down, sheep scramble to be the first to eat them. Pull. Pull hard, heeerrrreeee they come! Vines fall to ground, sheep run to them, get tangled while I am trying to pull them to the pile.

We made a truck load and dumped it at the burn pile. It was starting to sprinkle ahead of the rain predicted for today, so we went in.
 

baymule

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wow and I complain about poison ivy vines.
We have those too! I break out horrible from them, I have to be super careful. My husband's arms look like hamburger meat, he is all scratched and torn from the briars-even through his long sleeved denim shirt.
 

seedcorn

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Very impressed. If it wasn't for cheap sheep feed, I'd introduce them to Crossbow, when dried, light a match.
 

baymule

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@Smart Red in many places we have done just that-dug them up. I have burned piles of the bulbous roots. In the forested areas, it is almost impossible to dig up the roots, there are hundreds, if not thousands. The good part is that as they sprout back up, the sheep will nip them off, thus preventing them from growing back and taking over the world again.

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@ninnymary thank you for the lovely compliment.

@seedcorn if you mean poison the vines in place, then burn them in place, that sure wouldn't work. That would burn down the whole place! They are growing in forest. If you mean poison, let them die, then drag them out to burn them, I don't see the advantage to that either. They would still be thorny devils to deal with, plus I don't like to use poison.
 

seedcorn

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Knew you didn't like chems. Thought you said all the trees killed by vines? No matter, still impressive.
 

baymule

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Knew you didn't like chems. Thought you said all the trees killed by vines? No matter, still impressive.
Not all the trees, there are some very large cedars and pines, wild persimmons, elm, mayhaw, hickory, hackberry and oaks. There are dead trees from the 2011 drought (not just here, but all over east Texas) but they were so wrapped up in vines they didn't fall down.

For the record, the land we had in Livingston had Chinese Tallow trees on it. They are a horrible invasive and are considered weeds. If cut, they resprout and they sprout along their roots too. They make ka-jillions of seed and spread like a wildfire. I must confess......I cut them down and painted the stumps with Remedy, a tree poison. The stumps died, but sprouts came up from the roots away from the stumps. :he
 

thistlebloom

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You guys have done impressive work. I applaud your tenaciousness and energy!
That's tough work and sounds painful too. My arms cringed when I thought of all those thorny vines you're dealing with. :eek:
 

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