References: Site Clearing, Cleaning, and Reconditioning

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Wild brush and trees covering a portion of the Jewish cemetery of Balamutivka (Chernivtsi oblast).
Photo © RJH.

This page lists print and electronic references which can aid the development of strategies to clear wild vegetation from Jewish cemeteries in western Ukraine, and the activities of physically clearing and cleaning those sites. These references, in combination with recommendations on appropriate tools for clearing work in the technical section of this website, are relevant to the guide section on site clearing, cleaning, and reconditioning in the main section of this website, in preparing sites for further design and development work, including landscaping, stone conservation, and memorials.

As noted in the guide, strategies for selective clearing of unwanted trees, shrubs, vines, and grasses are typically not based on any theory, but on practical experience with plants and tools. Thus the references listed here are limited primarily to articles (in print or online) and videos from non-academic sources, including tool manufacturers and practitioners. Like the guide, although the challenges of wild vegetation in cemeteries almost always significantly exceed those of residential garden maintenance, this material focuses on (relatively) light-duty tools and mostly manual methods for clearing, for simplicity and lower cost but with the trade-off of slower work. These references can provide much-needed instruction in and examples of best practices, especially for activists without prior experience, but skills and knowledge will advance quickly as hands-on experience is gained – provided the safety warnings which appear at the beginning of many of these references are understood before work begins. In all of these clearing and cleaning tasks, often the best references are co-workers with prior experience in the region.

Note that articles and videos listed here from specific tool manufacturers and practitioners are meant to be representative and not a recommendation.

A few of the listed references are highlighted with brief summaries in the first section below, “key references”. Other useful resources on this subject may be found in the sections on regional and international experts, and on technical tools, methods, and data. Except where noted otherwise, all references listed here are in English.

Key References

Selecting Tools for Pruning Plants, Trees, and Shrubs; Marie Iannotti; The Spruce, 2018.
A good introduction to hand tools useful for cutting and clearing unwanted vegetation, geared toward maintaining the health of plants and trees but just as useful for larger-scale thinning and removal. Covers the most-used hand tools: one-handed pruning shears (also called secateurs), two-handed loppers, two-handed hedge trimmers, and pruning saws (crosscut saws typically with triple-cut blade teeth). Discusses tool variants and their purposes, and gives advice to guide tool selection and use.

Pruning Dead, Damaged and Diseased Wood; Jonathan Landsman; The Spruce, 2019.
Provides background information and practical advice to correct and maintain the health of trees and large shrubs, with particular attention to avoiding tree damage and the spread of tree diseases.

Handtools for Trail Work – Part 1 and Part 2; PublicResourceOrg / US Forest Service, 1998.
Video demonstrations and advice on a wide variety of hand tools commonly used in cemetery vegetation clearing projects as well as general site maintenance. Practical and tested tools and methods are explained with examples from experienced practitioners. All of the methods shown are especially applicable to cemetery sites in rural and semi-rural areas where there are no nearby power sources other than human strength.

Handling brushcutters well in any situation; Stihl AG; web page series, undated.
A brief but helpful multi-part explanation on setting up, starting, operating, and storing motorized brushcutters (both string and blade varieties), with additional information on appropriate personal protection equipment and on fueling and lubricating the tools. This web text series is supplemented well by the manufacturer’s introductory video series.

Chain Saw Use and Maintenance; Stihl AG; web page series, undated.
A brief introduction to motorized chain saw selection, starting, maintenance, and storage, with additional information on appropriate personal protection equipment and on fitting chains and bars, a frequent need for these fussy machines, especially in challenging environments. This web text series is supplemented well by the manufacturer’s introductory video series. Does not cover the actual use of chain saws (see manufacturer’s manuals and other online videos – including how not to use chain saws).

Journal Articles, Reports, and Web Pages