Lane Pressley and Colby Stroupe are among those chomping at the bit to give new and innovative equipment a try. The father and son-in-law team formed SP Land Services in 2007. One of their favorite new tools is a tree shear with grapple arms.

“It allows us to cut and fell trees in tight places or where a controlled fall is important,” Stroupe says. “We use it for right-of-way work where trees are leaning towards the roadway. We can grab and cut them, then move them to a safe location with the tree in a vertical position before laying it down and mulching it with the Gyro Trac.”

He adds that the company’s Gyro Trac GT-25XP mulcher is a powerhouse that can mulch trees up to 4 feet in diameter into a quality small chip size. SP’s Bobcat T320 forestry mulcher takes up where the Gyro leaves off, cleaning up stray limbs. The nimble Bobcat is ideal for tight spots, while its carbide-tipped teeth stand up to rocky terrain and really do a good job incorporating mulch into topsoil.

“We are eagerly awaiting the release of the Bio Baler from Gyro Trac,” Stroupe says. “This is an attachment for the GT 25 mulcher that will collect and bale the mulch from the trees we remove. It has a conveyor system that cleans the mulch, sends it through a second chipper, and then bales the chips into a bale similar to a round hay bale. These bales can be sold as woody biomass and classified as renewable energy.”

The Bobcat and Gyro Trac team up to clear and mulch trees in a highway right-of-way. Photo: SP Land Services

On the job

SP Land Services, based in Monroe, North Carolina, splits its time between residential/private landowner jobs and government contract work. Stroupe says it was initially difficult to snag the government work. He and Pressley built their credentials with solid private jobs before bidding on state and municipal projects.

“Many contract jobs are awarded based on experience over price,” Stroupe notes.

To cope with the economic turndown, the company expanded its coverage area and reduced rates to stay afloat. That proved successful, and things are picking up, with the company’s jobs getting progressively larger over the last six months.

SP offers a range of services including land clearing, right-of-way clearing and utility maintenance, storm cleanup and pasture/cropland reclamation.

Stroupe and Pressley pride themselves on providing those services in an environmentally friendly way, without burning or taking debris to landfills. With just one machine and one operator, they mulch trees and brush in one step, leaving behind a natural mulch layer. Thus, the vegetation nutrients are returned to the soil, helping prevent erosion, regrowth and moisture loss.

They hope that this type of procedure will become more common as burning restrictions tighten and landfill fees rise.

“In the next 10 years, the push to increase the production of power through a renewable resource should increase demand,” Stroupe adds.