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Brush Removal Services and Costs

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Shrubs and Cedar Trees!

My dogs keep running through the brush and bringing poison ivy into the house!

My dogs keep running through the brush and bringing poison ivy into the house!

About Landscaping Services

Living in the Texas Hill Country means dealing with periodic brush removal. During the drought of 2011 and the continuing drought of 2012, with many more droughts to come, we are experiencing just enough rain on a sporadic basis to keep the trash trees and brush alive. They are sucking up all the moisture in the land.

Landscaping businesses are thriving these days, as special equipment and labor must be used to get rid of nuisance trees and shrubs. Along with the cost of living going up and the aging population, landscapers are charging considerable fees to come and do what once was the local job for a neighborly teenager wanting to earn some spending money for the summer.

Teenagers unite - Form a landscaping or yard service, and you will make enough money to buy yourself a car!

Brush Removal

Removing brush appears to be in a special category that really commands high fees. Well, poison ivy is a considerable concern and most brush removers would rather not deal with this. These horrible weeds are the very reason for a call to schedule heavy-duty brush cutting!

Special brush cutting mowers are required to get rid of underbrush that has taken over the dry limestone hills of central Texas. These mowers are expensive and must have a lot of power, which translates to “expensive”. I assume that horses were required in the old days to remove trash trees. Some say a herd of goats is the way to go.

These expensive brush cutters do not work so well for tree trimming and stump removal. They are great for getting out the underbrush, so you can actually get to the tree that needs to be trimmed or cut down.

Tree Removal and Tree Trimming

Ouch! We recently asked for a bid to trim some trees and remove the ever present “Cedar” trees, which are not cedars, but are actually Juniper trees. There are millions and millions of these scrub trees in central Texas. So many, in fact, that the nearest town is called Cedar Park.

The Cedars burn very hot and go up in flames almost instantly during a drought. Compare it to a dried out Christmas tree. In January, the Cedars produce so much pollen that there is a specific allergen named after them. It's called Cedar Fever. It is the most devastating pollen around. When the Cedars are releasing their pollen, it looks like smoke is in the air.

Heads up, everyone who buys land in central Texas - get rid of the Cedar trees first! Just call someone with a skid, backhoe, or bobcat and mow those suckers down.

But back to the bid for tree trimming and Cedar removal. This little ranch is about two acres, and we have much less than an acre of overgrowth. Our first bid was nearly $10,000. They wanted to bring in a bulldozer, a back hoe and three or four guys to work for two weeks. Now there are companies that use a “skid” to do the work cheaper and faster.

The second bid was for two or three guys and a bobcat equipped with a brush cutter and bucket to move the brush to the fire pit. That bid was for $2800 but doesn't include much in the way of tree trimming. We may have to find some teenagers who can climb.

The brush, tree trimmings and stumps must all be burned. Much of that work is not included in the bids, as the landscapers want to avoid being responsible for controlled burns. The alternative is an expensive separate bid for hauling off the brush. Since we live under county rules and regulations, we opted to do the burns ourselves. This may take all Fall and Winter, and may even have to wait for those teenagers to get out of school for the Summer.

Landscape Before and After Photos

Before photo of bobcat work

Before photo of bobcat work

After photo of bobcat work

After photo of bobcat work

Yard Services, a Final Thought

Estimating normal yard services would be different from above. Industrious teenagers generally use the landowner's equipment and get rides from the landowner or their parents. They should not charge for these things if they do not provide them.

Consulting Craig's List may give you both a clue as to what to charge for occasional odd jobs in and around the home. Be prepared to pay at least the minimum wage and if you pay a worker more than $600 a year, you may have to issue a 1099 tax form, and they may have to pay taxes on their earnings.

There are a few tools I recommend keeping up with brush and tree removal when you can do it yourself:

  • a good large chain saw
  • shovel
  • rock breaker bar
  • small fire pit
  • hedge trimmers
  • and The Saker* Mini Chainsaw, 4 inch (10.16 centimeters) Portable Electric Cordless Handheld

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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© 2012 Lela


Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on December 14, 2012:

Sweet, greehaulingatx, I shall keep you in mind! I will need some more work done soon. Thanks!

Matthew from Austin, Texas on December 14, 2012:

Hello Austinstar, I enjoyed your article and was unaware of the price that companies charge for brush clearing. It does look like they did a heck of a job though. Burning the brush is definitely an option and something that I would do in your situation.

An alternative if burning is not possible, would be to hire a junk / brush removal company to remove the brush. The larger companies may charge similar outrageous quotes, but I along with several other competitors would haul off the brush for far less ($200 per 16 foot trailer with 4ft high walls). I take any brush I haul off over to a local Austin landscaping company for mulching.

IntegrityYes on September 27, 2012:

That is useful and I definitely voted up.

tipstoretireearly from New York on September 27, 2012:

Thanks for the formula to estimate the costs! Interesting and useful.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on September 27, 2012:

ha ha --ain't it just so? No wonder my head hurts sometimes~ My mom just told me I need to relax more--oh like THAT's gonna happen!

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 27, 2012:

Audrey, you are always thinking, that's what I love about you.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on September 27, 2012:

There you go, Lela--burn the wood for warmth and eat the berries--no he said that they are like a gourmet food--you probably could SELL them! I'm thinking about sending Bob out into the brush--we have them EVERYWHERE--trees, scrub pines like you say---literally covering Central Oregon. I figure we could make a mint~ ha ha May try it one of these days though in my spare time. Actually I tell ya what--I'll do my 24th hub for this month on it! I just took some pictures the other day of guess what---more junniper berries. Again, Bob shook his head....I actually thought they'd be cool for Christmas cards~

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 27, 2012:

Isn't that where Gin comes from? Juniper berries. I should be able to start a gin factory right in my back yard. Edible? I've never tried one. Maybe if the end of the world rolls around, I'll be able to survive on all these trees.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on September 27, 2012:

BJ is correct about that me thinks~ I remember working as a teen (actually started at 10) and that's how I got by--or could buy! Fascinating though on the estimating process--we had some trees up in Washington we had to have cut down as they were dead and we had a rather small backyard--they ended up giving us a super break though because Bob gave them the wood that was nice and dry~!

Funny about the junipers--we have junipers EVERYWHERE--during the wintertime it's like robin haven here---absolutely flocks of them everywhere. Bob still laughs at me for taking pictures of the berries---oh well~ They are beautiful and very edible too my son tells me (and very expensive in stores). I keep meaning to pick them rather than snap them~ I think he said to dry them too~

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 27, 2012:

And look at us, just sitting around hubbing and facebooking, etc.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 27, 2012:

Teenagers willing to work, Lela? Back in the day, Yes! Today - NOT. Too many online games to play instead.

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 27, 2012:

We are stripping and burning today! Three days labor and a bobcat for $2800. There are no teenagers around that I know of. None that are willing to work anyway.

Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on September 26, 2012:

I hope do find some enterprising teenager to help you, otherwise you have to start burning and stripping.

Good luck.

Lela (author) from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on September 26, 2012:

Thanks Carol! I wish we would have bought a townhouse and not had to worry about being overgrown with poison ivy and allergy producing juniper trees. But the benefits of living in the country are more gratifying now that we have retired. So that's a plus.

Thanks for visiting and voting up :-)

carol stanley from Arizona on September 26, 2012:

You got it...Work, why should kids work if parents give them everything. Fortunately we live in a townhouse and the front yard is cared for. No trees in Arizona where we live to worry about..Expensive!!!! Interesting hub and I am voting UP

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