Rangeland Restoration: Mesquite Removal

While mesquite removal continues in the river bed in an effort to restore the area to open grasslands, mesquite removal began on the upper benches around the main complex of buildings at the Painted Pony Resort.  Because of deep taproots, mesquite is difficult to remove and experiments using the tractor required a second treatment with herbicide to completely kill the plant.  The Galion Grader, on the other hand, weighs 35,000 lbs and easily pulls the mesquite, taproot and all, out of the ground.  So after some modification to protect the hydraulic hoses, the machine was used to grub mesquite off the benches above the river bed.  Between 30 and 40 acres of mesquite were removed with the grader by the owner of the estate over a day of work.  The front tines were lowered and used to grab each plant and as the machine was moved forward the big diesel engine would provide enough power to pop most intermediate sized mesquites out of the ground.  So piles of uprooted mesquite dot the landscape at the moment but the material is being redistributed along the contours of the land to create additional topsoil barriers.  This spreads out the plant material allowing more rapid decomposition the creation of micro-habitat for the catchment of wind and rain blown seed and soil which will in turn provide new grass the opportunity to grow and spread over time.  With the establishment of new grass the tumble weed problem will slowly resolve itself since perennial grass cover will out compete the yearly tumble weed crop.

Intermediate sized mesquite with tap root and stringer roots.

Topsoil barrier created from grubbed mesquite.


  1. We have grubbed quite a few mesquite by hand; hired some done and one guy volunteered his equipment and time as he owed us a favor. Only 159 acres to go, job security!

  2. Gubbing mesquite by hand is quite a chore and you are to be commended. The owner had quite a good time driving around pulling mesquite but I have been thinking about chaining the smaller ones he could not get out with the grader. It would save me from hand grubbing them.