RS 478 Lecture 17: Restoration Equipment

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Colorado State University
Rangeland Ecosystem Science
RS 478
Mark Paschke

RS 478: Lecture 17 Restoration Equipment Outline 1. Introduction 2. Vegetation Removal 3. Primary Tillage 4. Secondary Tillage 5. Site Considerations 6. Mulch 7. Seeding 1.Introduction • General Considerations: Cost, Availability, Feasibility, Operator error, Collateral Damage • Site Preparation Is essential to enhance initial plant establishment o The single most important consideration in grassland revegetation is often site preparation. • What is site preparation and why is it done? o May involve vegetation removal o Usually involves some mechanical working of the soil (tillage/cultivation). o Provides: favorable environment for seed germination and seedling growth, used for weed control, improves soil aeration, reduces compaction, increases infiltration, reduces runoff. 2. Vegetation Removal • Roller choppers: A cylindrical roller or drum, equipped with several full-length blades, is towed behind a crawler-type tractor or “cat.” o Crush and break up brush and slash o The drum is hollow and can be filled with water to increase its weight. o Can be used on trees up to 8 inches diameter • Rootplow: A heavy-duty, V-shaped, horizontal blade, 10- to 16-feet wide pulled by a large crawler tractor at a depth of 12 to 14 inches to sever tree roots. o Severs roots to prevent sprouting of most brush species o Not effective on those with shallow root systems. o Plant mortality is usually 85 to 99% o Care must be taken to determine where and how it should be used. • Hydro-axe (Hydro-mower): An articulated tractor with a mower/mulcher mounted on the front of the machine. Used to remove shrubs and trees and convert them to mulch. o Rubber flotation-type tires that cause little disturbance to the surface of the ground. • Chains: Modified anchor chain pulled behind two vehicles to rip out shrubs and trees. 3. Primary Tillage • Mechanical Tillage: There are two approaches to tillage: primary and secondary • Primary tillage (site preparation) is the Initial deep tillage to: o reduce compaction, improve water percolation, facilitate deeper root development • Offset disks: Two gangs of disks set at angles to each other o Used for primary seedbed preparation where small to medium amounts of debris and vegetation are present. (chop and turn under surface debris, breakup shallow compacted layers, till, uproot small woody plants) • Moldboard plows: designed to slice and invert a layer of soil, thus covering the sod and leaving a rough surface. o Used on clean-tilled land with high amounts of residue. o Ineffective in rocky soils. • Chisel plows: Curved shanks mounted on a frame with ridged or spring-loaded clamps. o Severs plant roots below the surface and fracture the subsoil for moisture retention. o Control weeds, break up compacted soils, increase water infiltration, leaves residue on the soil surface to reduce erosion. • Subsoilers: (rippers) Large, stout standards (shanks) pulled by a dozer or tractor. Penetrates deep into the soil and fracture compacted layers o Used on highly compacted disturbed soils or land with compacted layers o Variety of points are available to vary the amount of surface disturbance, soil shattering, and protection in rocky conditions. • Rotary tillers: (roto-tillers): Rotating, horizontal shaft with L-shaped tines penetrate into and stir the soil. Incorporate crop residue or soil amendments and pulverize the soil to a fine tilth and are good for: o Chopping residue or sod and incorporating it into the soil and incorporating fertilizer, mulches, manure, or other amendments into the soil. o Often used for secondary tillage • ALLU soil mixer: Modified bucket for mixing soil. Good for incorporating amendments on mine tailings 4. Secondary Tillage • Secondary tillage (seedbed preparation) Shallower working of the soil: o creates favorable seedbed • Disk Harrows: (tandem disks) Used for secondary tillage including weed control, incorporation of fertilizers and herbicides or pesticides, breaking up surface crusts and clods, and mixing and leveling the top few cm of soil. o Disk harrows are seedbed finishing implements. They are lighter duty than offset disks and generally use smaller blade diameters and narrower spacing between blades. They are designed for clean-tilled land. Heavy- duty models are available for restoration applications. • Seedbed finishers: Field cultivators, spring-tooth harrows, cultipackers, coil-tine harrows, spike-tooth harrows, chain-link harrows, and rolling baskets. o Used to prepare the soil for planting.
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