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wellington womble

Cutting a lot of rough grass

Things are growing and I really must buy some sort of mower. My knowledge of the infernal combustion engine is limited to putting petrol in them and cursing. Can anyone give me any useful advice?

There are two acres of very rough grass/nettles/brambles, which is rutted, bumpy and full of someone else junk. I do not need a lawnmowner. It is not a lawn! I can't get someone in, it's too full of bits and pieces and I can't get rid of the junk, as it's not mine.
Slim

Does anyone sell DR trimmers in the U.K.? That would be just the ticket

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zofwo-CXGWw

Edit: Ha! They have a chainsaw type blade for the thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwB_W4_venE
Mistress Rose

I haven't seen them Slim, but I haven't been looking particularly. An alternative might be a petrol driven brush cutter rather like a large strimmer. You can get various heads for them including 3 point and brush saw. There was an ideal head with chains on, but they have been banned by HSE unfortunately after a fatality that most in the trade think was caused by unsafe working, not the machine.

WW, you may find a garden machinery supplier or even agricultural supplier may be able to help you.

Whatever you use, you will have to be very careful about the junk about the place as you will damage any mower/head on it or damage the junk, or throw small pieces quite a way with the machine, so work on your own with nobody anywhere near you.
Ty Gwyn

Does anyone sell DR trimmers in the U.K.? That would be just the ticket

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zofwo-CXGWw

Edit: Ha! They have a chainsaw type blade for the thing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwB_W4_venE


Yes,i`ve seen similar advertised,have to remember where.
wellington womble

I'm looking for a ride on solution. Or it will take me the rest of my life....

The local agricultural place has mid deck ride in lawn mowers. For lawns. With stripes. They won't cut it (har har).

I'm thinking a tow behind solution will work best. I'm not sure quite behind what, though. I've finalled convinced the local place that I don't want stripes and they have found a compact iseki tractor and topper for six thousand, which seems expensive. I'm vaguely wondering if I'd do better with a quad or even one of the fairly-defunct vehicles hanging around the place. There is an old Disco out there which does go, if you jump it.

I just want to get on with cutting the weeds. I loathe buying vehicles. It does need to be drivable, though. There's no getting away from it.

(I have been out and picked most of the small bits. The big bits are mostly vehicles and things on pallets. They're in the way and they're a pain, but it won't be too hard to mow round providing you are not being paid by the hour. I am gradually getting sorting them out)
gregotyn

I understand the need for removal of the weeds, and I understand the need for a machine, but with 2 acres to do I would hit the spray button, however much I wouldn't like it, that would be my initial route. Alternative is to pay someone to come and do the job for you. I have at home a machine that I used for cutting overgrown grass which looks like the old 'atco' scythe; mine did all sorts with different attachments from ploughing and cultivating to cutting grass. Regrettably its engine is no more, but you could advertise for someone with such a machine in a paper shop or where-ever and see what happens-just an idea.
Chez

I would go for a couple of Alpacas, personally.
sean

Vote Goat!
NorthernMonkeyGirl

You can get height adjustable toppers that have their own petrol engine, tp be towed behind a vehicle. I'd be terrified of running over unseen junk and firing shrapnel in all directions. Also they catch fire. Um, so I hear.
sean

You can get height adjustable toppers that have their own petrol engine, tp be towed behind a vehicle. I'd be terrified of running over unseen junk and firing shrapnel in all directions. Also they catch fire. Um, so I hear.


So can we count on your vote for the Wellington Womble Should Buy a Goat Party on polling day?
Chez

I think it's a fantastic idea. You could get angoras. For the wool. Why haven't we thought of this before? NorthernMonkeyGirl

You can get height adjustable toppers that have their own petrol engine, tp be towed behind a vehicle. I'd be terrified of running over unseen junk and firing shrapnel in all directions. Also they catch fire. Um, so I hear.

So can we count on your vote for the Wellington Womble Should Buy a Goat Party on polling day?

Don't ask me, I'm still tracking down platypus eggs...
onemanband

Invite the local scouts to camp there - in return for a bit of work - maybe a small donation.
Mind, when we did such things, there wasn't H+S and what with chopping trees down being more fun than chopping brambles - we probably did more harm than good.
wellington womble

You can get height adjustable toppers that have their own petrol engine, tp be towed behind a vehicle. I'd be terrified of running over unseen junk and firing shrapnel in all directions. Also they catch fire. Um, so I hear.

They catch fire!? Oh bugger. I thought I'd finally found a solution. Im less concerned about stuff. Even I can't run over a dumper truck by mistake, and I've been picking up the small stuff. What's the best thing to tow them with, though?

I am NOT having a goat. Mohair makes me sneeze, and is horrible to knit with. Also, they escape (always) and eat your garden. And they smell. Alpacas, maybe. It would seem cheaper than selling a kidney to get the mower. And the fibre is nice to knit with. It will still need tidying up and all the edges and corners sorting out. I don't think you can just post them into the bramble patch and wait for them to eat their way out again. Same goes for scouts. Anyway, they'd all fight over the brush cutter.

I'm not sure how spraying would help. At the moment I have rough grass,nettles docks and brambles. If I sprayed I would just get brambles and nettles and other weeds back, unless I mowed it. So I'd still need a mower that could cope with tough stuff and the wobbly terrain. And I'd have to buy a sprayer to tow behind.

So what's the smallest, most reliable thing that can tow a topper? The kind that doesn't catch fire. Or involve selling a kidney.

I'd love to get someone in to do it. I really would. But they'll just do the middle and ignore all the fiddly bits. Or I'll get rid of (say) the dumper truck and won't be able to get anyone in to mow for a fortnight, and the brambles will explode and take over the vegetable patch. Again. I've only just finished evicting them from the greenhouse. Or it's raining so they won't come at all.
Hairyloon

There was an ideal head with chains on, but they have been banned by HSE unfortunately after a fatality that most in the trade think was caused by unsafe working, not the machine...
I don't see how they can dictate what a chap does or does not use on his own land, so they'll have banned the sale of them, but if you can find them there is nothing to stop you using them (and if you find them, grab one for me Wink ).
Mistress Rose

I suppose as an individual you could use one HL, but as we work as a company, we can't do it and have insurance. We still have one, but live in hopes the ban will be lifted because it is ideal for the sort of job WW wants.

WW, I would suggest that a heavy duty brush cutter would do the job in a reasonable time and it would also do the fiddly bits more easily. Otherwise I would suggest a flail mower rather than a topper. We use one in the woods for over head high bracken, rough grass and brambles. We tow ours behind a little tractor, but it should be possible to get quad bike operated ones I would think.
wellington womble

I think some bits need a flail mower for sure. A topper might do the 'grass' better. I suppose at least the advantage of spending a kidney on tow-behind implement means I can sell bits on when I don't need them.

Tractor it shall be then. I hate buying vehicles.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Try towing with the landy that's there? wellington womble

Yes, I'll give it a go. I'm not sure it'll get into the orchard, though. I couldn't pick any fruit last year, because we just couldn't get to it so I must do something.

Wish I could post pics. I only have iThings, though.
sean

You can email them to me or jamanda. I'll pm you my email address as the @downsizer one appears to be moribund. Tavascarow

Get down to your local garden machinery hire shop.
There are heavy duty mowers that will take on your rough ground & you can hire them by the day.
Goats will eat it but you need to fence it well first.
Mistress Rose

Could you not get the Landie in because it was too muddy and slippery WW? We find mud terrain tyres on the back wheels are a great advantage. We got through a horribly muddy field last weekend that completely stopped 2 Landies with road tyres, and their drivers weren't used to mud either, which didn't help. Tavascarow

You want one of these.
A fit person should be able to hammer an acre a day.

Two day hire fee will be a lot less than fencing two acres for goats many times over.
Has anyone mentioned pigs yet?
You can keep pigs behind a single strand of electric fence. Laughing Wink
Tavascarow

Much friendlier than a flail mower.
wellington womble

Yes, I do agree. You can go on holiday and leave a flail mower to fend for itself though. Also, it's unlikely I will have to extract an adoring child from the flail mowers house. I havent actually ruled out pigs, but I do need to check and repair the fences. At the moment, you can't see the fences.

I can definitely see the attraction in a two wheeled tractor. Sadly, I am no longer fit and I don't have full days. I have to do bits as and when the opportunity arises (it's one of the problems of parenthood, particularly single parenthood. I worked out I had way more free time when I worked full time plus!) same problem with hiring, unless a longer term option is available. Also, doesn't grass need mowing fairly regularly? I went into the orchard with a brush cutter a couple of times last year, but it wasn't regular enough and by August you couldn't get in there at all.

I don't think the landie will get between the trees in the orchard. The have a lot of low branches and are quite closely spaced. Although various it has got stuck in other places.

My master plan is to mow the 'grass' most weeks and also spend a couple of hours hammering the edges of the really overgrown bits (like the orchard) of it with the brush cutter, which will be added to next weeks mowing, evicting stuff as I go, thus gradually extending and improving the grass. Other than planting a potato patch, it's most of my plan for it for this year. I may get some pet sheep or alpacas, but I would need to sort out some fencing (at the very least of out of the kitchen garden) and controlling the grass is my first priority. I really hate how it's so hard to walk about on, even this time of year. It'll be practically impossible in a month.
sean

Now with added photographs:






Mistress Rose

If you have real problems with access to the orchard because of small gaps and low branches I think your only option is to use a petrol powered brush cutter. Our son once cut a couple of acres field using one, but he is very fast. You can get them for a not unreasonable price and with various attachments they are suitable for grass, weeds and bramble.

Sorry, but having seen the pictures, I think it is about the only way if money/time are major restraints.
wellington womble

Thanks Sean. Time is a bit of a restraint, money not so much (I was joking about the kidney, honest!) I'm happy to spend a bit on a compact and topper/flail if it gets the job done. I'm mostly grumbling about needing to buy a vehicle. I'm always afraid I'll get conned because I know nothing about them.

The first picture is the stuff that seems to have accumulated in all the edge and corners. It's fairly easy to deal with as I start to oik it out into the skip I have decided to hire as soon as you can get a lorry in. I can brush cut to start with and then mow after that. Simples.

The second picture shows the kind of grass I need to mow. This about half of it, and the following one shows some of the divots and ruts the mower will need to cope with. This is my priority, before it grows waist high again. You can see my chicken house and solar panels in approximately the middle of the place and my vegetable patch is mainly sandwiched in between those and the sheds etc behind. The orchard is behind those. Behind that and off to the right is the Graveyard of Abandoned Vehicles (as pictured by the dumper truck, but has a supporting cast of three trailers, a digger, a Discovery and two chicken houses. There are three caravans as well) and directly behind is the Gate Through Which I Do Not Go. That part is where the pigs would go. It's actually fenced off with pig netting, and has had pigs in in the past. The property ends at the conifers and the fallen tree at the back. The last picture shows the orchard. Honest, they are fruit trees, and they did fruit quite well last year. I just couldn't get near them. They are spaced wide enough to get a ride on between, but not the landie. I'll happily lop off a few low hanging branches to get a mower in long term.

It will be a lovely piece of land, once it's had a haircut and a bit of a tidy up (I forgot there are a million boiler-suit-blue oil drums as well. Very handy, but an absolute eyesore!)
Tavascarow

It might be cheaper to pay a man or woman with the right kit to do the work for you?
You have no worry about damaging equipment or buying a tool you wont need again.
vegplot

We cleared land look like that (no scrap though) with a simple Honda 4 stroke petrol strimmer using square section cord (cuts bramble better). We found it the best tool for the job. Jam Lady

Would WWOOFers or Help-X be an option to start the clean-up? wellington womble

I did think about it, but not I'm not really comfortable with someone else staying in the house. It's just me and my five year old, so I would feel vulnerable. I'd love to pay someone to do it, but I think they'd just do the middle and ignore all the difficult bits. Also, I like the flexibility of being able to do it when I have the opportunity with my own kit.

I'm quite sure I can do it myself with a suitable mower, that will mow the current grassy bit and the brambly bits once I have cut them back with the brush cutter. It's just finding a mower that's suitable that I'm struggling with. A smallish ride on that can cope with rough grass and lumpy land. Surely it can't be that hard to find?!
Nick

Our ride on was awful on anything that wasn't already a bowling green. Mid deck, grounded on everything. Suggest the kind of thing councils use for verges would be best. Jam Lady

I've had a couple of day tripping WWOOFers. They'd come like 2 days / week. One would bicycle here and I'd drive him and his bicycle home. Other would drive. Lunch provided, of course. Shared plants with them when I had extra of something they liked. So consider that as an option. Ty Gwyn

Do yourself a favour,get a contractor in with a proper tractor and flail/bushwacker,get the bulk done and you can play with the rest yourself,
It`ll be a lot cheaper in the long run,and you`ll have a base to work from.
wellington womble

Well, yes. Even if I could get someone in who's happy to do a proper job round all the fiddly bits, that still leaves me with nothing to keep on top of it with. I'd still need a mower that will cope the rough grass and the terrain, or it will just revert back and I'll be in the same position again in a month.

Our ride on was awful on anything that wasn't already a bowling green. Mid deck, grounded on everything. Suggest the kind of thing councils use for verges would be best.

That's what I figure. I just need to know what they're called so I can stop men in machine shops pointing out ladylike mid deck mowers that do stripes!!
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Take pics in to show them if they get patronising? Ty Gwyn

[quote="wellington womble:1460963"]Well, yes. Even if I could get someone in who's happy to do a proper job round all the fiddly bits, that still leaves me with nothing to keep on top of it with. I'd still need a mower that will cope the rough grass and the terrain, or it will just revert back and I'll be in the same position again in a month.

[quote]

Well you won`t know till you phone around a few contractors,after cutting the brambles and scrub,gather it up and burn it,then get the whole area spike harrowed and rolled,then you won`t have rough grass and terrain that a toy mower will struggle with.
Pilsbury

DS scyth party?
You provide the chickpeas...
wellington womble

I loathe chickpeas. I do have a spit roaster though....

I'm most concerned about being able to cut the grass there is at the moment. There is a good acre that is grass(ish) that needs cutting last week.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Hire someone to get in and get it done ASAP, then you can see what you're working with in terms of terrain and pick a suitable vehicle for yourself? Slim

Yes, with all due respect this thread is verging into piss or get off the pot territory. Laughing

Lots of options have been brought up, and those that won't work have been discussed. It doesn't seem like that leaves too many that will work, so the decision should be a bit easier now, yeah? Time to purchase or rent and get it done, or time to hire someone to get it done for now and go from there.
Hairyloon

I don't reckon it's a one size fits all job: you want a strimmer/brushcutter to deal with the fiddlier bits and some kind of mower for the bulk of it. You can picjk up a fairly decent strimmer for not a lot of money though.
I have been wondering if I should offer to come visit with my brushcutter, but it sounds like it is more urgent than I can find you a window for...
wellington womble

That's very kind of you. I've got a stihl brush cutter, and using it is working out ok for me. The issue is the mower, specifically what kind of mower do I need?

I think I'm going to take a risk and buy this, with a topper.

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/EXCELLENT-4WD-YANMAR-COMPACT-TRACTOR-WITH-592-HOURS-NO-EXTRA-VAT-/231891290046?nav=WATCHING_ACTIVE

I'm sure a topper will handle the grass, which is something. And if gradually brush cutting back and following on with the topper doesn't work I can get a flail mower for it. I can also get a roller, harrow, trailer and mole relatively cheaply. I should be able to get the whole package for around 5k, which is about what I have budgeted. The rotavator is a bonus, because I want to extend the vegetable beds which it should make quick work of. I can sell on the flail, mole, roller and rotavator when I've got it under control.

I've just got my fingers crossed its not a heap of scrap and I can figure out how to drive it!

I have spent the last two days hauling stuff into a big pile to assess what size skip I will need. I'll get on the phone when the weather breaks tomorrow. I'm also taking the oldest of the caravans to a breakers tomorrow. That should improve the view a bit!

How on earth does one get rid of tyres and gas canisters? Does anyone want a lot of roofing slates and a gazillion scattered bricks? And old swing? About twenty metres of armoured cable that's been outside for three years? 50 or so empty wine bottles that have also been living al fresco? And I haven't even looked in the garages yet or the dumpy bags....
Hairyloon

The issue is the mower, specifically what kind of mower do I need?
That is something I cannot help you with, sorry.

Quote:
I think I'm going to take a risk and buy this, with a topper.

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/EXCELLENT-4WD-YANMAR-COMPACT-TRACTOR-WITH-592-HOURS-NO-EXTRA-VAT-/231891290046?nav=WATCHING_ACTIVE

I've just got my fingers crossed its not a heap of scrap and I can figure out how to drive it!


I would be wondering why the seller only has a rating of 6... But he appears to be some kind of dealer so that should give you some statutory rights.

Quote:
How on earth does one get rid of tyres and gas canisters?


Gas canisters should go back to the gas depot. Tyres are a bit of a problem... stack 'em up and grow spuds in them? Confused
Quote:
Does anyone want a lot of roofing slates and a gazillion scattered bricks?

Yes, but not enough to come down and get them: my car isn't big enough. Sad
Quote:
About twenty metres of armoured cable that's been outside for three years?

It's armoured, so it shouldn't much matter that it's been outside. The ends may have got corroded, but the bulk of it should be fine.
Quote:
And I haven't even looked in the garages yet or the dumpy bags....

Sounds like you've been having loads of fun. Wink
Pilsbury

For the bricks ans slates try a local reclamation hard, they might be interested enough to come and collect them Mistress Rose

The armoured cable might be saleable for the copper. Ask the local scrap merchant if they are interested.

The little tractor looks good if in good condition. We have a little one, but a different make and it does mowing, forwarding, log splitting, and fence post ramming. They can be very useful, but you do tend to suffer from Black and Decker syndrome with all the attachments.
wellington womble

I am Immune to Black and Decker syndrome following long exposure to someone else's. I will not forget the irritation of having to move endless crap off my chopping boards and falling over it in the hall (it wasn't like we didn't have a four car garage with no cars in) Anyway, the garages here are still full of someone else's bits.

It's bad enough with a five year old who's doing 'going green' at school. This largely consists of taking recycling out of the box and painting it. Thus preventing it from being recycled and leaving it cluttering up the house!
NorthernMonkeyGirl

You could advertise tiles, bricks, tyres on freegle for someone to collect? They do have uses. Someone might be bilding an earthship. Or retaining wall.
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