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Beat cedar fever with Yellow Dog Services

By Sandy Jennings BCC Staff Writer

For those suffering from cedar fever in the Texas Hill Country, Yellow Dog Services, Inc. has a permanent solution to unwanted cedar, as well as, all of your land clearing needs. Cedar clearing and brush mulching, dead oak and oak wilt removals, chipping, stump grinding, root trenching, road grading and repair and lot clean up are all services provided by the family owned and operated business celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017.
Growing up in Florida and attending college in Alabama, Yellow Dog owner Jason Benedict was no stranger to clearing land.
“When I was in college receiving my Business Management degree, my mom owned a real estate company and hired me to clear lots,” Benedict said.
Benedict, with his parents and silent partners John and JoAnna Benedict, moved to Pipe Creek in 1994 and after two years of clearing and working on their own ranch, Benedict decided to turn his knowledge and skills into a business.
Yellow Dog Services, Inc., named after the family yellow Labrador retriever named Fritz, was founded in 1997 with the mission to provide efficient land clearing with an emphasis on recycling while being responsible and gentle to the fragile Hill Country and surrounding ecosystems.
Benedict set out to create a different type of land clearing service that included excavation with special attention to tree preservation.
“We use powerful but compact machines, skilled hand labor and two decades of experience to make a difference,” Benedict said. “Our goal is to fill the need for a small but capable company that falls somewhere between an arborist and an excavation contractor.”
Benedict, a member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), believes in the importance of continuing education in the field, taking several classes and is just one test away from being a certified arborist.
“Our skills and knowledge base overlaps in several areas and we spend a lot of time on continuing education, studying and practicing techniques,” Benedict said. “I know what works and what doesn't work based on observation and testing on our own family ranches and I use that experience to become even more efficient.”
Benedict’s love for the natural Hill Country is shared by his wife Lydia, director of Bandera Title Company, daughters Jessica, Lauren (Bandera Middle School student) and Melinda (Bandera Middle School teacher) and grandchildren. That love fuels Benedict’s desire to “improve the Hill Country one acre at a time” through creating a productive landscape and treating diseases that threaten desired trees and brush.
“We love trees and believe most cedar and land clearing shouldn't be wholesale dozing and burning especially with the prevalence of oak wilt and the potential for disturbed or lost topsoil,” Benedict said. “Because of the threat presented by oak wilt, we advise keeping as many varieties of native trees as you can and advocate cutting meadows and trails in contrast to removing all the cedar, but we can accommodate your wishes.”
Yellow Dog Services, a fully insured business, takes special care in its approach to cedar and oak wilt clearing, following ISA and tree care industry accepted standards and is “Green Industry Friendly.” While it cost more than traditional bulldozing and burning, the approach is ideal for low impact brush removal and disposal.
“Our cedar clearing methods are recognized as TCEQ and EPA Phase II rated ‘Best Management Practices’ for erosion and sediment control,” Benedict said. “Often, in just a few days, you can have a dramatic change in your views and open your property to enjoy it with erosion control built in.”
For those desiring a more wooded terrain on their ranch including cedar and underbrush, Yellow Dog offers solutions based on landowners’ desires but still meeting necessary safety and accessibility factors.
“It’s often more economical to create meandering trails and fire breaks that highlight the best of your property or create necessary access to overgrown or dense property for purposes of firefighting, open up fence lines, or access additional meadows or trails,” Benedict said. “We can generally cut and mulch trails through most types of terrain and this service has become very popular for landowners who prefer to leave their property wooded but want access to fence lines, create fire breaks, clear out arroyos, creeks, and otherwise inaccessible parts of their property.”
Benedict also takes pride in the roads and trails he is able to create from the recycled mulch.
“We can create mulch roads and trails utilizing old brush, stumps and trees as an alternative to caliche and base or as an alternative to having to drive in the mud. We have been doing this for years to minimize erosion on trails and paths,” Benedict said.
Headquartered in Pipe Creek, Yellow Dog provides service to the Bandera, Pipe Creek, Boerne, Medina and surrounding Hill Country. Yellow Dog Services offers free consultations and bids to customers and can be reached by phone (830) 796-5352 or by email or visit their website for more information.