Land improvements and remediation for Texas landowners, you’re out there and you’re thinking to yourself, wow, I just bought some land or I’m considering it and you’re like, hey, what I need to do is I need to know how to use it, what I can do with it, like how do I make this land better through so many different things out there.
Did you buy one acre and think you’re a landowner? Did you buy five, 10 and think like, I’m going to stick my toe in here? Is it like are you buying one hundred acres. Five hundred acres. I walk to property the other day. That was seventeen thousand acres. Right. And I didn’t want the whole thing that would have taken a while. Right. But you have different items that go on in this case, Brooke. He is really smart and beyond impressive. And we’re going to kind of talk about different things like ponds, fences, plants, trees, all those types of things. Chase, pick one of them.
Let’s talk. Yeah. So one of the things and this is a question I often get from real estate agents and folks just looking to buy land is what kind of property should I look for? And one of the things that I’ve had some feedback from from these clients is how do I know what’s right? And, you know, it’s real.
When we look online at the MLS and things like that, it’s really easy to sort by, you know, price, acreage, location, but not necessarily, you know, looking at, hey, is the pond in good shape? Do they have fences? Are the fences worth anything? You know, how how do you assess that? Right. And some of it. Well, and we can start off with plans, OK? You know, it’s the third bullet point, but we’ll talk about it first. Sure. And that’s where say again, we have this landowner, you know, they have an X amount of money.
They want to spend on 10 to 20 acres and they really want cattle. And, you know, from a research perspective, one of the first things you can do is vote up on Google Maps. Right. Look, see, or your map, whatever mapping platform of choices, and pull up that satellite image. Look at that property and look at what date that image was taken. And then see, you can see it. It’s like, oh, yeah, you know, this property is 90 percent covered by trees. You’re not going to graze many cows on it. And it’s going to take a long time to remove those trees so that grass can grow in the grass and the cows can graze.
Right. And that you for someone who really might want to raise cattle if they end up with that property, you know, they might be a little and they’re not expecting to have to work that much to bring that property into grazing land. You know, they might not be super satisfied just because, you know, they had they had this picture in their mind. Right. Same thing maybe. Sure looks like it. Not a tree in sight. Or maybe there’s just a couple of shade trees over there. Looks beautiful from the map.
You go on to the street view side, kind of start scrolling around or maybe you’re driving past it on the way to brochures or something like that and driving past. You do a little windshield survey and it doesn’t have any fences. That’s going to be problematic because while Collin County is an open range county, you really don’t you really want to have good fences to keep your animals in.
And a big part of that is, you know, fences are expensive, least for any fence that’s worth having. That can really add a large price tag to what that landowner would need to do to put in new fencing. Or maybe it’s just very a little dilapidated, hadn’t been touched in maybe 20, 30 years. And, you know, all your barbed wires kind of got a nice big sag in the middle of in between the post. Well, that’s going to take effort and time to fix up.
Yeah, you said a lot of great things there. One thing that I didn’t hear you say and we’re going to test here again is you didn’t use the word Longhorn. Is that kind of like a problem that you just, like, stay away from that word and you just say cattle instead?
Well, you know, there are a lot of different types of I thought I was going to get a history of it there. Well, you know, I’m on my I’m on good behavior. OK, all right. That’s fine. But you never know. There might be decent usage. Watch. All right. There you go. Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, but there’s a but you know, Longhorns are very hardy breed of cattle and they’re very iconic. But, you know, just like any other breed you have to recognize, they come with some challenges. Right. So Longhorns, for example, I mean, they they have Longhorns and those get tangled in things.
So if you’re looking, maybe you have a you know, if you have hey, you should I recommend you have a ring, but if you have Longhorns, their horns can get tangled in it. Right. You know, and just some potential issues like that to look out for. And then just from a agroterrorism standpoint, you know, those Longhorns can be incredibly, if they have good temperament, they can be incredibly friendly, but even a very friendly cow, it can be absent minded and then accidentally cause damage with those horns.
So you. Just need to be aware of what is the animal that you want and what are maybe some limitations of that same thing, you and I could go out and talk about maybe Brahman cattle.
That’s a good one. I’m so glad you got to that.
Yeah, I mean, they’re really cool, really iconic. They got that little hump on the back of their neck, you know, like this big. Is that how tall they’re are?
No, no, no. So these are like full sized cattle.
I want the minis. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I well, I like the snack pack cattle. Yeah. Know those are really cool too. But also again, when you get to miniature breeds, sometimes they, they can have health issues that the full sized ones don’t.
So it’s just a matter of like, you know, doing a little bit of research, a little due diligence on like, hey, you know, what kind of cow do I want? What what am I looking for in a cow? Do I want one that’s low maintenance? Do I want one that is cute? First and foremost, you know, Instagram cows are just as valid as beef cows as long as you maintain them. Right. But really, it just comes down to what are what are the goals of an operation and how does that fit within that picture? Let’s see.
So my question is, I have a bunch of soupy land, so down by the lake, I kind of have this where it drains and it feels soupy. I want to put a tree down there to take care of that and soak up all that water and make it work over a period of time. What kind of tree do I want to take there, put there?
So, you know, the kind of trees that like to have their feet wet are going to be things like the country’s, of course, state tree of Texas. And then you get all the nuts and you could do bald cypress, which you need to be a little bit careful because I put those little nodules up that come out of the ground, know we. What about cottonwood cottonwoods can work.
You know, just the thing with cottonwoods and some of those other dogwood things like that is they aren’t quite as long lived as becomes and it’s not necessarily a five year thing or even a 30 year thing. But, you know, if you’re buying a property and you plan on keeping it for generations, you know, in 50 years, maybe planting that cottonwood tree right next to your barn or right next to your home, you know, the doc for your johnboat that, you know, might fall over, it might just keep an eye on it.
Ok, so I’m going to go PyCon. Interesting. All right. Good enough said. You said at first like I’m not I’m going to take your first cue and roll that bad boy. So you talked about fences, your favorite fence, like you walk up to that fence, you’re like that’s a nice fence.
I mean for me, you know, growing up with land down in central Texas, it’s a good straight to post barbed wire fence, probably a high tensile steel barbed wire for strand four or five strand with good metal and braces. So, like, is on the end on it all the wires under real high tension. So those braces on the end need to be realistic, very stout. And when you see a pipe brace on the end of that or each braces in the middle, you know that they put in the time to put a really good fence in. And that’s going to last a long time.
Yeah. So I’m currently in the middle of removing some of them up the leg. And so what happened is they put all that in there and I like I was going to dig some of that out. I’m like, oh, I’m going to need a little bit more time here or a machine, because they just put so much concrete in there on those posts on the corners to tie that bad boy down. And I was like, whoa, that’s crazy. And I found out, like, stupid me taking the T post out much easier if you have a T post remover. Yes. That that’s like the best tool ever. If you’re going to put one of them. If you’re going to try to take one out.
Yeah, no, that is absolutely the case. And that’s one of those things where especially in agriculture, oftentimes, you know, there’s there’s typically a specialized tool for the job, or at least you should try looking for it because, again, like you said, it’s possible. Or can you know, if you’re pulling one or two posts, maybe don’t make a huge deal. But when you’re pulling like 40, then it’ll save your bacon.
It’s crazy. It takes like two men. It takes a maybe thirty seconds to, like, just jump up and down and you’re like, wait, it’s done. If not, you’re just like my back. And what am I doing in like what is this all about in a mess you’re making.
Yeah, well, and when you use a possible or they come out straight so you can reuse them if you need to know anything somewhere else. No, it’s a totally a good thing. It’s probably one of the best things that you can buy, probably one of your first items that you’re going to buy if you buy an ag property and you’ve got a barbed wire fence and post.
Yeah, yeah. That would be good if not just buy one just because I support the post industry,
But put it on the mantel over your farm lobby, I’d be a great thing, but OK. Instead I’d like some Longhorns or something like that. All right. And then talk about ponds. You talked about this fixed up so ponds can be really tricky. Right? And that’s for two reasons. One, especially on a smaller property, they take up a lot of space, which is, you know, basic things are basic. But when you think about it, if you have, say, ten acres and you want to cattle and you have a half acre pond, suddenly you’re down to nine and a half acres of grass, and so that being every time you take away grass, that means you’re going to have to feed more hay potentially.
So it’s just something to think about, you know, just in the planning side. But also, you know, ponds can be tricky to manage because you’re basically you’re trying to maintain an artificial aquatic ecosystem in a sense. Right. And so it’s all about a balance of things. You want some fish, but not too many fish. You want some algae is good. You don’t do much algae. Same thing for pond weeds, right? They all have a role.
But when something becomes too dominant, then suddenly you can have a lot of issues. So from a like if I’m going on a property or I’m looking at a property and I go out and I look at a pond, one of the first things I’m going to look for is how much of that pond is covered with weeds or algae, right? Is it 10 percent in 10, 20 percent that probably in too bad is mostly around the edges.
The middle is clear. There’s a lot of navigable kind of non wheatfield water. That’s good. You know, those weeds provide a valuable habitat for fish and other creatures, you know, but if the whole thing’s choked up in algae where it looks gummy, that means that there’s a management problem. They’re now identifying. That is probably a whole episode in and of itself. I’ve given for our courses just on pond management, but it’s just that initial size up.
Does this look like it’s going to require a lot of work? You know, does it look like it’s going to be OK? And that’s just something you’ve got to get your eyes on. And it fluctuates throughout the year. Right now, this time of year, you have a lot of I get a lot of algae calls for ponds because that’s when you have normally the algae is underwater, the water gets hot, that algae dies, floats to the top.
Suddenly everyone sees the algae that they didn’t necessarily think was in there and at that point is too late to treat. But in February, you’re going out and looking in the water. Sometimes you can see where that algae is starting to develop. And then if you need to make a treatment, you can more effectively make a treatment then.
All right, we’re going to play a quick game. You have three options. So the game is going to be called keepit. Kill it, relocate it to your frenemies. OK, so we’re going to go through a couple of quick things here for you. And so item number one, tarantula.
Tarantula, I would I would relocated those guys eat good bugs and more importantly, they eat the bad bugs that I don’t want either. Now, don’t tell my wife might not agree with it, which is why I’m not keeping it OK, but I’ll let him do the good work, you know, somewhere else.
Rattle snake, Rattle snake. Oh, definitely keep that. You’d keep that OK.
Yeah they sure they, they look kind of mean. Yeah. But when they bite it doesn’t hurt that bad and they aren’t venomous and they eat a lot of mice and rats and other common house pets that every know all the Pessah you can manage outside the house without having to go out and buy traps or anything. All the better in my opinion. Yeah.
Odd. Let’s go with a Peking duck.
Peking duck. Um, I would probably give that to a frienemy. OK, yeah. Well, one, if they don’t have any experience raising ducks, I think it would be very interesting to see what they would do with.
No kidding. Right.
And too, I mean, personally, I don’t have a place to keep it in my bathtub. You know, we have other bathing uses for it. And I think bringing home a Peking duck and having it live in there would I mean, it’d be cool, but it would be a little constrained for it. I’d like it to be able to move around and live free.
Mm hmm. All right. Let’s go to the rattlesnake rattlesnake.
Um, that that would be. Yeah, that would be a real big it depends if I’m if I’m walking my ranch and I see it, I’ll probably just leave it, OK? He’s perfectly happy doing his own thing. If it’s up by the house or somewhere by the kennels where keep the dogs, then, yeah, we might remove it and give it to a friend of me in some various state of aliveness. Yes.
Ok, that’s good. I’m glad to hear that.
I’m not very I’m not not very fond of catching live rattlesnakes with my hands.
Ok, well, that’s good. And so what are some other ones? Let’s go with a nutria nutria.
I would probably honestly. Yeah. Nutrio, you know, they taste pretty good. I might keep it. Whoa, keep.
Oh that is that that’s a big thing in Louisiana. They originally brought them over for their fur and they have been doing a lot of work coming up with good nutria recipes. I’m not even kidding on that. That’s that’s the thing. And you can say they’re full of nutrients.
All right. Well done. Well done. All right. So those are some really good ones. Do you have any other ones you want to throw in there that people would be thinking about and might be considering or you get questions on a lot?
You know, I think I’m a plant guy, so a lot of it is like, you know, honeylocust. That’s a good friend of your plant. You know, it’s a big old, big old tree. It’s Thornes have thorns and those thorns popped tires. I do not want them on my place. I don’t know many people who like them, but everybody says a lot of very colorful things about them. OK, let’s see. Poison ivy already mentioned. Yeah, that one. That one’s a great one to not keep.
Ok, get rid of that. But desirable ones. I mean wildflowers. Yeah. Yeah. Everyone loves maroon block, maroon bonnets, even the blue bonnet sometimes you know, the old and just all the native wildflowers we get. I mean, golly, you could go back in that April, May time frame and everything is just alive with color always. That being said, going back to the rattlesnake, though, before you plop your kid in those blue bonnets, always check for snakes. Mm hmm. Because that always gives me the heebie jeebies when people can check their kids on the side of the road in and bluebonnets without looking.
Yeah. And then the the last one for us we need to come up with one more for keep it or kill it or give it to your frenemies.
Keep it, kill it for enemies. How about. Oh goodness.
We’re out. All right, Kate Achilleas there, you got to keep those. Yeah, those are so come about come about every August, we get these big, nasty, old lost looking deals that are about this big they’re cicada killers. Everyone thought they were the giant killer hornets. They weren’t. They were just native. Cicada killers are really cool because one day they’re the biggest, ugliest, nastiest, like, meanest looking hornets you’ve ever seen.
But what’s fun about them is they’re basically harmless. Yeah, the make the male ones will act aggressive, but they can’t sting you and the female ones are extremely docile and they can sting. So, I mean, you really have to be, you know, pestering them in order to, you know, get rid of them. They’re they’re a bunch of fun and they’re one of my favorite insects to look at just because they’re so unique. Oh, I forgot. How do I get rid of chiggers?
Where bug spray. OK, that’s that’s the short version. So chiggers are actually kind of MIT and so controlling them is very challenging. I mean, really, it comes down to, if you can, areas with high traffic, keep your grass mowed, you know, if you’re going to be tromping around. I mean, I like my field clothes when I go on farm visits, I treat them with Permethrin, use bug spray. You know, putting some sulfur in your socks actually works pretty good. And but they are there’s not a lot you can actually treat the land for to get rid of them.
Ok, and will they eventually leave? If I just, like, cut my lawn correctly? Because there’s you don’t have chiggers like in the city. It’s really weird. So like, how do they just like, disappear eventually?
So when it typically comes down to is where are they at. Right. So you keep your grass mowed. It’s here. They’re hanging out down here. Your grass is this tall, they’re hanging out up here. If they’re down here, they may be good on your shoes, but they aren’t quite able to make the whole trip over to the top of your boots. But if they’re up here, suddenly they have a lot easier access to get on you. And so I guess because the way those chigger bites work, they aren’t actually bikes actually burrow into your paws and die.
Yeah, those are not really as fun as you would think.
No, no. Where for those of you just moving to Texas in Collin County this time of year, probably starting in May, where bug spray get the good stuff with the D or the picaridin, because otherwise you will be when you get into triggers for the first time, you will know and you will be miserable. Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s a real problem. So we don’t want to do that. Thank you for the suggestions. Sulpher in my socks. Mm hmm. There we go. That’s interesting one. Thank you very much. Let’s hit the bell.