Watershed diagram with run off across brush clearing

Damage of Regular Brush Clearing

Neighbors made available to me an opportunity resource by clear-cutting brush between our homes.  It was a nuisance to them, bamboo, young poplar, scrub pines, and ivy.  Within this still stands large oak, hickory, and birch.  This hill, as outlined by the image in red, is about a 30-degree slope heavily eroded.

How Managing Brush The Wrong Way Impacts Soil Health and Causes Erosion

They didn't understand how the young brush held back the hill, minimizing damage as these trees repaired surface soil.  It's understandable but worse; their contractor didn't know any better either, doing only half a job.  

All the brush and bamboo were cut off at the ground, then thrown in the woods.

I say “Opportunity resource” because it allowed me to do multiple things.  (1) To prepare a demonstration area for hill remediation and erosion control, (2) Provide a clearing for several small ponds to catch drain runoff, and (3) Bamboo stalks to propagate in the nursery.  

To learn details on how to do this, get on the waiting list for the next “Erosion Control Methods” class — simply contact us.  Meanwhile, I'll cover some highlights below.

What A Permaculture Design Consultant Knows About Ecology That Your Landscaper Does Not

Here's what's essential for the Permaculture Designer …

  1. The contractor missed out on the most profitable part of the job.  Clearing brush is just a fraction of the overall job.  When I asked my neighbor if she preferred wild flowers or grass on the hill, she smiled and said both.  Even she knew the job wasn't done.  This job could have been sold as a beautiful meadow at a premium.
  2. Commercial methods of running in heavy equipment make a mess.  I heard the brush cutters and chainsaws earlier today but was working with a client, so I didn't get to see what was happening.  It cost them fuel and equipment yet still looks like garbage.  And it will look worse later if not properly remediated.
  3. Left behind a lot of valuable resources.  Erosion control could have been as easy as geotextile with on contour faggots.  Best of all, most of the materials they would need came down with the cut.  With a billhook, I processed all the brush in under 45 minutes; tomorrow, I'll bundle and lay in shallow swales before seeding.
  4. No erosion management was provided.  A simple upsell of erosion control plus overseeding would maintain the hill's integrity to reduce runoff and look great.  Any novice could look at this hill to see past erosion problems.  This particular neighbor pays yearly to have the area above it seeded and to clear this patch every two years.  It's bad management, and now they know better.

You can see how the whole job was designed in a project plan (Plan# LB19) I'm putting together around this project.  Details are unavailable now, but stay tuned for a complete treatment.  

Plus, I'll outline inputs and outputs to show you how plentiful this particular means of processing can be.  Frankly, I'm already happy with the 19 bamboo segments and 15 live pegs, and now that hill is cleared for your benefit.