In an example of ‘it doesn’t hurt to ask’, I discovered that Lake Macquarie Landcare had recently purchased a ‘tree popper’.
I had been eying off different versions of these tools for a while so it was good to finally get to give one a go. For those who have not heard of these tools, they work by allowing the user to apply leverage to the base of woody stemmed weeds like privet, cassia and laurel camphor.
Here it is with some of the privet it took on:
It is definitely a tool worth having in bush regeneration even if it does not cover all situations. I’ll give a quick run down of what I thought were the pros and cons of this particular tool.
Firstly, its HEAVY. It is not something you can just throw in your backpack or over your shoulder on a whim. You are only going to take it when you know you are going to use it. On the flip side, it is solid. I’m over a hundred kilos and I felt no ‘give’ while using it.
It does require some space near the base to operate it effectively. It is not insignificant but I was always able to find a spot near the weed to use without squashing any plants I wanted to save.
There are different sizes. I believe this was the medium size. It’s ‘mouth’ would not open greater than around 4cm which was a limiting factor. I was working on privet and so I found I was only using it on a subset of what was there. For anything under 1cm, it was not worth putting in place. Those are easy enough to pull out by hand. However, anything I larger than that that I could get the mouth around, it was definitely worth using. The amount of force required by the user becomes trivial.
Unfortunately, it is expensive. I personally could not justify the cost for the small site I typically work on. It is great to know there is one available when required (thanks lakemac landcare!).
I recommend giving it a go if you do this type of weeding regularly. I believe these will become a must have tool for bush regeneration in the future.