We live in the woods and it can be pretty dark. So about 7 years ago
we took out a bunch of hemlocks to the south of our home. Since then
we have also taken out a big Oak that was leaning over our house and a
few other trees. We have a lot more light now, which my wife loves,
but naturally, with the light, a lot of brambles grew up in the newly
brightened areas. We have a lot of wonderful ferns growing densely
around this area, but sadly that's not what moved in to the opened up
areas. I'm willing to mow and have a grassy knoll instead of a
brambly one, but that's not feasible until I can clear out the
brambles, large rocks, tree stumps and scattered logs that are
currently there . It would have been much easier to tackle this when
the trees were freshly cut and there were no brambles, but hindsight
is 20/20 and I'm stuck with the situation I have now. Young saplings
are now starting to grow up amidst the brambles.
I keep putting this task off because of time and expense and it keeps
getting worse. So I'm trying to figure out the best way to clean this
area up and make it into an area that we can enjoy. I'd say it's
about 1/3 acre of land that I want to pretty up. It's not just
brambles, but dotted with deciduous trees that I want to preserve.
I've considered clearing it slowly with a manual tool like a ditch-
bank blade. That appeals to me in concept, but my back's not great
and I would surely end up in traction before I even made a dent. Same
problem and more with any type of hand-held brush cutter resembling a
weed-whacker with a saw blade.
I've considered renting a walk-behind brush mower, but I think the
stumps/logs/large rocks would pose problems.
And anyway, those solutions would not leave me with smooth mowable
ground. I think I really need to clear out the stumps and the rest of
the detritus at the same time and end up with a mostly smooth surface
that I can then mow or otherwise keep in order so that it doesn't get
overgrown. Which moves me into the realm of more heavy machinery.
I need some advice on how to tackle this job - or if it's best to hire
it out, what kind of person should I be looking for? Whenever I've
searched for "landscaper" they seem to be nothing more than glorified
mowers and are not capable of doing any earth moving. I like the idea
of renting and using some heavy equipment, but I'm guessing that no
place would rent and deliver the necessary equipment that I would
likely need (whatever that might be) to a novice like me.
A brute force approach would probably be easiest, but I really want to
make sure that I don't injure any of the trees that we have
purposefully left - so some finesse will be required.
Please... how can I get this done? If I end up hiring someone, what
might I expect to pay? I live in Central NY, close to Ithaca.
Also, would there be a preferred time of year to tackle this job?