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Work Day Preparation. Identifying Invasives & Proper Tool Use. Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities. Orient your people Explain why, how and what your team will be doing. (Refer to slides if necessary.) Teach plant identification: Buckthorn Teasel Poison ivy Wild Parsnip.

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Work day preparation

Work Day Preparation

Identifying Invasives &

Proper Tool Use

Brush removal team leader responsibilities
Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities

  • Orient your people

    • Explain why, how and what your team will be doing. (Refer to slides if necessary.)

    • Teach plant identification:

      • Buckthorn

      • Teasel

      • Poison ivy

      • Wild Parsnip

Brush removal let the sun shine in
Brush Removal: Let the Sun Shine In!


  • Introduced in mid-1800s from Europe for hedgerows & as an ornamental.

  • Lacking any environmental controls to keep its growth in check, it easily out-competes native species for resources each year – esp. light.  

  • Identification

    • Leaves: oval, dark green with 3-4 curved veins reminiscent of a pitchfork; margins serrated or toothed; leaf terminates in a slightly curved tip

    • Bark: dark gray, often silvery

    • Inner bark: orange

    • Twigs: thorn in every joint where branches fork

    • Growth form: deciduous shrub or small tree that can grow up to 25 feet in height

    • Uses: fruits used medicinally as a cathartic

Brush removal part 2

Secondary Target: Teasel

First introduced to the area in the 1800’s, Teasel is an aggressive plant that can take over prairies and savannahs if left uncontrolled.


Teasel is a biennial plant that can reach heights of 6 Feet.

The flowering plant will have tiny spines covering them and appear rippled. The stems have downward facing spines running along a wood-like stem.

The flowers range from white to purple and occur mainly in early summer. In the fall the teasel flower turns brown


Teams of two should take care to cut just below the flower on the stalk. One person should cut and the other person should put the plant material in a wheelbarrow. Then the remainder of the plant should be cut as near to the ground as possible and/or dug up with a shovel.

Brush Removal: Part 2

Harmful plants
Harmful Plants

  • Poison Ivy

    • Shrub or vine

    • Ovate or elliptical compound leaves that are trifoliate

    • Margins are entire or shallowly lobed

    • Common in open woods and borders of wooded areas

    • “Leaves of three, let it be.” It can be a groundcover or a vine winding up a tree.

  • Wild Parsnip

    • Herbaceous plant

    • In July, can stand chest high, with broad umbrella of yellow flowers

    • In some people, can counteract the skin’s natural sunblocking abilities, leaving burns.

  • If you think you’ve come into contact, wash the area with lots of soap and COLD water within 3 – 4 hours; this reduces the chance of rash occurring. Other potential plant hazards include: thorns, inedible berries, stinging nettles, wild parsnip.

Brush removal team leader responsibilities1
Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities

  • Organize your people

    • In each group of ten people, a successful workflow can happen with 3 pods of 3 people each (with the team leader circulating regularly for quality control).

    • Depending on thickness and type of brush to be cut, each pod should have:

      • One Lopper

      • One Sawyer

      • One Consolidator (drags cut brush to brushpile)

    • Encourage each pod to rotate tasks among members or put two people on a saw for thicker trees if necessary.

Brush removal team leader responsibilities2
Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities

  • Teach plant selection and cutting procedures

    • Select shrub/tree to cut. Make sure you’re cutting the right shrub/tree!

    • Volunteers are only authorized to remove invasive shrubs and trees that are no larger than 6” in diameter at breast height.

    • CPD/FOTP staff crew leaders will mark most trees to be cut with a dot of spray paint.

    • If you run out of marked trees, check with Steward Leader or FOTP staff person to confirm target trees.

    • If you’re not sure about a tree, DON’T cut it. Move on to another target until you can check w/ Steward leader or FOTP staff person for confirmation.

Brush removal team leader responsibilities3


Bow saw

Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities

  • Teach tool selection & use.


  • For saplings and re-sprouts whose diameter is thumb-size or smaller – use loppers. You may very well be able to muscle the loppers through larger saplings, but the force can actually break the loppers.

  • For stems and trunks larger than your thumb (but smaller than 6” diameter) – use bow saw. 

Brush removal team leader responsibilities4
Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities

  • Safety training: Demonstrate how to saw and lop SAFELY.

    • For All: always wear gloves when using tools or handling brush. Always walk with blades pointing down.

    • For Loppers: cut FLAT and EVEN WITH THE GROUND. Do not cut at an angle; if someone trips, they could fall on essentially a sharpened stake. Instead, with the lopper handles parallel to the ground, make your cut as flat as possible.

    • For Sawyers: cut FLAT and as EVEN WITH THE GROUND as possible. OR, if the tree seems unwieldy, FIRST cut at waist height to get the top off, then cut trunk down to the ground.

Brush removal team leader responsibilities5
Brush Removal: Team Leader Responsibilities

  • More on sawing and lopping SAFELY.

    • More for SAWYERS: Plan your cut carefully. If you’re cutting down a shrub or tree as tall or taller than you:

      • 1st: Determine which way the tree is likely to fall. Don’t just look at the angle of the trunk – also look up at the branches and estimate which side of the top of the tree is carrying the most weight. 

      • 2nd: Begin cutting on the side of the trunk that is opposite of the side the tree will be falling toward. Use LONG, SMOOTH STROKES.

      • Always stop sawing halfway through the trunk, look around, ask everyone working nearby to step way back, and then resume cutting.

      • Slow the saw down as you get to the last ¾ of the trunk and start to hear cracking sounds. This allows the pressure to release gradually. Proceed slowly, especially if there’s any chance that the tree might lean on another tree as it falls, because the cut end could shoot back toward you. Be ready to step away quickly.  

      • Yes, declare victory and shout TIMBER. But then, cut up your shrub/tree into lengths of 8’ or less and drag to brushpile.

What do i do in case of an emergency
What do I do in case of an Emergency?

  • Participants should alert their Team Leader, who will alert their FOTP/CPD staff liaison.

  • Basic first aid kits will be available throughout the Jackson Park work area for treating minor injuries.

  • FOTP staff will have emergency telephone numbers on hand and plan for making emergency notifications as necessary. Such contacts include the Police (call 911), fire departments, local hospital, poison control centers, nearest Nature Center, Volunteer Resources Contacts, etcetera.

  • In medical emergencies arrangements should be made to give CPR and to transport the victim to the hospital if necessary. Evaluate whether or not the victim can or should be moved. In some cases (e.g. neck injury) it may be prudent to send someone for help, or to guide emergency personnel to the scene, while a caregiver remains with the victim.

  • Volunteers are encouraged to alert staff to any health issues. This will aid in proper communication in the event of a medical emergency. 

  • Volunteers should ensure to drink a sufficient amount of water during the workday and to stay hydrated. Carrying of high-energy snacks is also encouraged. Crew leaders should ensure periodic group breaks for rest and hydration.