Hydraulic shears are used to sever tree trunks near the ground. Two horizontally mounted blades are forced through the tree trunk by hydraulic cylinders attached to the blades. The shearing units can be front-mounted on skid-steer loaders, wheel loaders, or excavators. Skid-steer loaders equipped with 14-inch shears are commonly used for clearing non-sprouting brush species. A 20-inch unit is also available. Attachments include brush guards, push bars, and spray nozzles to treat sprouting species as they are sheared. Skid-steer loaders are also available with tracks called compact track loaders.
Hydraulic brush saws cut tree trunks near or slightly below ground level. Saws are front-mounted on skid-steer or compact track loaders, and can cut brush and trees up to 15-feet tall. The 28-inch diameter, high-tensile steel blade has eight replaceable weld-on carbide-tipped teeth. Loaders should be equipped with brush guards.
Skid steers with shears or brush saws are highly maneuverable and move quickly between trees. They are valuable in sculpting brush-infested rangeland to provide cleared area while protecting wildlife habitat. Shearing or sawing is popular in species like junipers whose top-growth is valuable for fence posts or cedar oil. Tires need protection from puncture by thorns while rubber tracks resist punctures. Steep slopes, rocks, and large debris should be avoided. Compact track and skid-steer loaders are well suited to level and undulating landscapes.