January 14, 2013


As you likes it
Euan McLean Cambooya Landcare

There’s lantana and there’s LANTANA! And being able to recognise what method / tool system is best suited to “eradicate / have it out by the roots” is what makes “you the human and it the plant”!
Any plant that has a foliage height less than your eye level is able to be “dispatched” by you using Root Blade. Just get in close to the stem / stems, place the mouth / nose of the Root Blade close to the stem and give Root Blade a good stamp. A fair dinkum stamp should bury the mouth / nose beneath the plant, cutting roots in the process. Lever the Root Blade down and the upthrust should bring the plant above the surface. If not, put more stamps around the plant and lever! You’ll find that the plant is now “above ground” and you can cut the engaging roots free, the “body” of the plant is now “at your mercy”.
That’s okay for plants whose “stems you can brush aside”! But lantana gets to a size and will soon tell you who pushes who! This is where “you the human” have the advantage, change the method!
The winch rope method
Plants / lantana that intermingle and grow above 3 meters can easily be taken by using the winch rope method.
Learn to recognise “stands of lantana / vegetation” that can be “grouped into a manageable bunch”, then one needs some restraining points / trees to anchor the winch rope. I / we have 30 meters of 5 / 6 mm dia 6x19 fibre core wire rope in 3 only separate lengths, so “imagine” a circle / area in the lantana of say 10 meters diameter, hitch up the wire rope and winch device / fence strainer. If “restraining trees” are scarce one could tie back to the original tree but I’m suggesting a tree on the “other side” to the winch. (That bloke with the Eureka moment prophesied that this method “doubles” the pull! So I’m all for it)

So in the case of this photo can you make out 2 only red and white ranging poles standing either side of the vegetation / bunched? That’s the target area! Okay you know the fence strainer is restrained behind and the other end is hitched to that tree standing to the right and behind the “bunch”. Well I’ll admit to “equipment problems” at this time, and of not reading the process properly so this took much longer than I had anticipated so be prepared for hiccups! see photo

“The idea” of the winch rope method is to take the stems of the lantana “away” from its root base so you can walk around / over and “take them” with Root Blade or whatever! In this particular case I did not “see” that I was engaging a fair sized privet, see stem at right of bunch, I should have put the rope much higher up this stem to bend it over! But despite this oversight see how the the rope “gathers it into a bunch”!

Now one can “lean in” with Tower Power and make short work of them! To my memory I took that privet at the edge of the photo before with Root Blade, but it could have been!

So let’s look at more of the winch rope method

Well one can buy these type in many places, this one has 5 meters of strap, 3 only gear reductions 1 : 5 : 10 / 1 Disadvantages are 1) too much winding 2) keeping the strap “flat” 3) changing gears 4) when it meets resistance it can only “increase” / change gears. With the fence strainer you get a “pulse / on off” effect that vegetation does not “like”, besides a fence strainer properly restrained can deliver say 300 Kgs line pull, much more that I’d trust to this winch.
So let’s look at the fence strainer again

There are “other” modifications now, but it’s still a fence strainer! It delivers “pulse / pull”! The carpenters stand is good, it’s the right height, weight and stable (and usually you can leave it at the job for next time, well?)
Well all this bending / winding / stroking the fence strainer has a bloke thinking!
So here is an answer to “motorise” the method!

Get yourself a Post Hole Auger, that’s a Homelite HPHD 43 and it’s just on the “light side”! Just build a drum for the regular 5 mm wire rope to reel in at 1 meter per second. Just unhitch the auger and replace with the winch drum. A “regular” 10 meter bite will generally stall the motor which is not good for it, so if you think this idea worthwhile, go for a bigger auger motor! And let’s know how you get on!
But this one!

A 5HP Honda drives through a 6:1 gearbox c/w centripetal clutch through a chain drive to the winch drum which can be isolated by a Hercus jaw clutch. Just wheel it into the paddock, chain to a tree and there is more grunt there than any lantana bush could resist! Refinements are underway to make it more portable and to enhance control of the rope.