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Mechanical site preparation works toward removing unwanted vegetation or breaking down logging slash and debris. These techniques are accomplished by using heavy tractors and bulldozers to pile, rake, shear or disk the woody debris and vegetation. By moving the material, or incorporating it into the soil, foresters are able to prepare a clean planting bed, reduce standing competition, and maintain soil productivity.

Just like many herbicides that can be used in chemical applications, there are many mechanical techniques available, ranging from simply knocking over stand vegetation to pushing the debris into organized piles or windrows.

Keep in mind

  • mechanical site preparationMechanical preparation is often used in conjunction with fire, burning the debris once it has been piled together.

  • Mechanical operations are more common than aerial spraying and may be part of the logging contract.

  • Care should be taken to only apply the most intensive mechanical applications on sites where the slopes are not severe nor where the soils are easily erodible.

  • Chances of erosion are increased with mechanical site preparation, because soil is dislodged.

  • Use of best management practices and streamside management zones is essential when applying mechanical site preparation methods.

  • Working with a professional forester will help in deciding how intense the operation should be and the best mechanical application to use.

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