If you’ve seen any of our literature about the DR Field and Brush Mower, you may have read about how great the DR is for creating “European woodlots.” We started using this term many years ago when we first began offering the Field and Brush Mower, and we’re still using it today. However, through the years we’ve had more than a few folks give us a call or send us a letter asking, “What is a European woodlot?” It’s a good question, and here’s our answer, along with some tips for creating your own European woodlot. A European woodlot is any forested area, regardless of size, that is free of immature undergrowth like weeds, vines, briars, small saplings and the like.
The dominant species that thrive in European woodlots are mature trees that have naturally taken over and shaded any undergrowth. These areas are healthy and clean, as the selected trees are free to grow without competing with other plant species. Also, with less underbrush, it’s easier to see the trees and move through the forest. Such woodlots are common in Europe, where many forests have, through the centuries, been stripped of undergrowth because citizens are allowed to remove dead and dying trees for firewood and building purposes.
The first step toward creating your own European woodlot is to clear away any unwanted growth that currently thrives within your wooded area. This can be done in the fall, after the leaves have fallen, or in the spring, before new growth begins. In either instance, brush mowing allows you to selectively mow around those smaller trees you want to save…while spotting and avoiding obstacles like rocks, hummocks, and stumps. With the DR Field and Brush Mower you can easily chop up weeds and brush, which can be left on the ground in any season. The cut material will decompose and provide the trees in your woodlot with important nutrients.
Brush mowing will eliminate the woody plants that compete with trees for water and sunlight. Eventually, the floor of your woodlot will produce a lush, low-lying ground cover that can be maintained by mowing just a few times a year or left to fill in around the trees.
Finally, depending on how “clean” you want your woodlot to be, it may be necessary to remove fallen trees and branches that can’t be cut with your DR. On the other hand, some folks prefer a more “wild” woodlot that is easy to walk through, but that has sufficient cover for birds and wildlife.
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