Clearing land without making a dust bowl

By Andru McCracken


When Chris Diamond asked Joseph Nusse to clear his Fifth Avenue commercial property, the initial idea was to use an excavator to level it and haul the organic matter out.

“We would have been left with a dust bowl,” said Nusse. “Even if you planted it and watered for full summer it would have just been a dust bowl.”

No burn
Dale Mintz runs the grinder over branches stumps and fair sized logs without trouble, leaving a nice smooth lot, that hasn’t been stripped of all top soil. /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

Instead Nusse convinced Diamond to grind the branches in place.

Nusse said it reduces the ground disturbance and prevents invasive weed from taking over.

“You don’t have to mow it for like five, six years afterwards,” he said.

Nusse said it is far better than burning the material onsite.

No burn
A local contractor said mulching branches on site leads to less dust and hassle when removing trees from town lots. / ANDRU MCCRACKEN

“With the hassle and the cost of burning, this is without question the most economic option,” he said. “When you’re living in a sandy valley, it makes absolutely no sense to burn off your top soil and organics.”

Nusse said blading the lot to create burn piles removes the precious little topsoil already there, while the chipped wood helps retain moisture

Nusse hired the grinder from GD Contracting.

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