Juniper trees, also known as Mountain Cedar, have steadily encroached on the rangeland of the southwest over the past few hundred years and are in danger of taking over. The more of these trees you have, the less grass, since the trees suck up all the precious little rainfall we get.
Farmers and ranchers hate these trees with a passion. There's even an organized group of people against cedars. Pioneer Woman's husband wrote a post recently explaining why and, more importantly, how he gets rid of the cedars on his land, and that was the inspiration I needed to get the tree population here under control.
Not that the herd isn't doing its share to help...
...but I'd need a couple hundred donkeys to make a dent in this forest,
and as much fun as that would be, no way could I scoop that much poop.
According to PW's husband, "As long as you cut them below the very bottom branch, the tree should not grow back. This is really easy to do with just a good pair of tree trimmers/pruners when the trees are small. However, as they get larger I like to use a good hand saw. It doesn’t take long to cut through a tree and it’s actually pretty good exercise."
He made it sound so easy.
Anyway, I took his advice and armed myself with a set of super-duper ratchet-drive titanium tree pruners and a hand saw and have begun to remove the little trees. Maybe by the time I'm done with those, I will have won the lottery and can afford to hire a lumberjack or twelve to come in and thin out the big ones.
Now that I've got the hang of the ratchet-drive pruners, it's not too difficult. Actually, it's kind of fun. On Sunday, I cut down all the little trees on four acres. I lost count at 30, but I'm guessing there are probably 15 little trees per acre, which means only 1,140 more to go! Whoo-hoo! Almost done!