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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 09:38:33 -0800 (PST)
To: Michael Potts <>
From: Caroline Schooley <>
Subject: Re: Gorse, of course

> It was Helene. She invited the guy that owns it to come show his wares.
>The machine is rentable. $20,000 for an initial run, might be able to do 10
>acres in that time. Additional acreage at about $10k per day. The machine
>is too heavy to run on pavement, so it requires a special flatbed to move,
>adding to the price (maybe $5,000 to get it here, $500 for every move
>across pavement.) It's so heavy that it compacts the soil BIGTIME so using
>it on Jughandle is out of the question.
> That's about when I decided to forget the Bandon machine.

Oh well. A heavy tractor can do it. Clint Freeman's machine isn't big
enough, which is why he failed on Anna Wong's gorse & had such a hard time
on David Wong's. When Stuart did ours (which was taller) he had an ancient
monster John Deere. He could cut it easily, plow almost 2' deep, & follow
it with a cultivator that loosened & lifted the roots. Then (in 1 day)
Stuart & our family (3 kids) formed a chain, walked the 2 acres with
pitchforks, piled the roots & burned them (the roots, not the kids).
>>If those methods include herbicide spraying, it's essential that
>>plant death be followed by cutting and removal to eliminate the fire
> I'm with Patty on this one. Spraying -- unless it's hand spot spraying
>by qualified and well-trained personnel -- is out of the question anywhere
>within five miles to my northwest. Many of us in downtown Caspar are not in
>immanent danger from gorse, and aren't prepared to sacrifice our lungs.

OK. Personally, I question its effectiveness on mature plants. If you get
a dead crown with root sprouts, you're worse off by far.

>a subsidy from the County, but I frankly can't imagine why -- again, as an
>unafflicted property owner, I wouldn't be eager to see sparse county funds
>spent this way.

According to Lori Herbert, the county has specific weed control $$$ available.

> The guy from Bodega that Parks invited up had a system that I think
>will solve the biggest parts of the problem: a two man crew, one with a
>chain saw -- he used a chainsaw on a pole to get at the real nasty plants,
>but I've tackled the biggest and I know that an axe and a chain saw can cut
>the biggest plants we have. Within minutes -- like 5 minutes -- of cutting
>the main stem at ground level, the root is painted CAREFULLY with undiluted
>glyphosate -- I refuse to use the Most Reviled Corporation on the Planet's
>tradename for the chemical -- with special attention to the cambium. Two
>guys can do an acre a day of BIG gorse. Followup ground assays showed that
>nearly undetectable levels of glyphosate remained a year after.

I listened to him caerfully & I agree; although we tried this ourselves,
we didn't paint that quickly. We intend to copy when we next cut cig
unpullable plants.

> I agree with you, Caroline: the gorse needs to be burned right then and
>there, or at the very latest left to dry and then burned well before the
>next fire season. When I saw the fresh gorse growing out of an old pile, my
>heart sank. Imagine tackling a mess like THAT!

The Parks' lack of understanding of that is shown by the pile at the end of
Caspar Point Road.

> Burning accelerates the germination of the gorse seed. So burn it where
>this might help exhaust the seed bank, and make this a 10 year project
>instead of a 35 year one.

Our 2-acre approach was to plow the sprouts bienally (till the horses
started grazing them). In our "front yard" we use a gorse puller every
spring. The hedgerows between properties are a sticky problem (pun
intended), particularly since most of us don't know where the property
lines are exactly.

> Followup is CRUCIAL, and there are several levels. On marginal land,
>where new gorse plants are just getting established, hand pulling is the
>only way to go; everything else disturbs the ground too much. A crew of six
>people can cover an acre an hour; we did it last February. On fairly
>heavily infested land, weed wrenches and pullers work great; a crew of six
>can do an acre in three hours. The key to the followup is that it needs to
>be done annually, or better yet SEMI-ANNUALLY everywhere the gorse is being
>treated. The good news is that after the first push, it's not as hard year
>after year.

Agreed. Perhaps the community should buy a few gorse pullers to loan out;
they really do work well.
>control gorse takes lots of hard physical labor -- much more than Caspar
>can marshal. We need help.

Amen. When we started on this, I was 40; now I'm 67 & I prefer a keyboard
to a pitchfork.

> Gene Parsons and Steve Heckeroth envision a "Gorse Getter" They
>guessed $25,000 for the
>machine, which seems a lot to me.

And would take time to build, which we don't have. Re $$$ - have you
priced trucks lately?

Let's get poetic:

..."So I charm'd their ears
That calf-like they my lowing followed through
Tooth'd Briars, sharp Furzes, picking Goss and Thorns.

Shakespeare, Tempest, Act 4, scene 1


Caroline Schooley

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