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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
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    Oct 2012
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    56
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default Planting trees

    I'm trying to decide the best strategy for planting trees and bushes. We have about five acres of grass and another 30 of wooded wetlands and I'm planning a lot of planting this spring (and in the years to come). I like the idea of a backhoe or possibly an auger to drill holes for planting trees and bushes. I also have some minor trenching I'd like to do to improve drainage. We have rocky, clay soil so digging by hand has proven difficult. However, I understand a backhoe on my John Deere 1 Series takes a lot of time to remove and reinstall when the mid-mount mower deck and other attachments are needed. Renting equipment might be the best option, but it means you can't always do what you want when you want to do it. Life is very good when we have problems like this to solve.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Feb 2012
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    837
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    sioux city, ia
    Tractor
    Oliver 1855, Case 1840, Cub 1550

    Default Re: Planting trees

    A post hole digger on a 3 point works great, dig twice as deep as your root ball, this loosens the soil and helps establish your roots. Be sure finished depth is level with the top of the root ball, backfill as needed. The excess soil can be used for a berm around the tree, for water.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Platinum Member archerynut's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    671
    Location
    Near Pittsburgh, PA
    Tractor
    Looking again

    Default

    How many trees are you going to plant? What size and kind are you planting? If you are planting bare root seedlings I would go with a dibble bar and do it in a two man team. This definitely depends on the number you have to do. I have tried to reforest my property (8 acres) and over the years this has been the best method for planting a couple hundred seedlings in a day or so.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    2,442
    Location
    Fanning Springs, Gilchirst County, North-Central Florida
    Tractor
    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: Planting trees

    Consider a <$400 FEL clamp-on Bucket Spade.

    Link:

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/a...rs-kubota.html
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -img_0469-jpg   -img_0481-jpg  
    Last edited by jeff9366; 12-26-2012 at 04:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Bronze Member Steelstring's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    Location
    Columbus, Indiana

    Default Re: Planting trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Dave View Post
    A post hole digger on a 3 point works great, dig twice as deep as your root ball, this loosens the soil and helps establish your roots. Be sure finished depth is level with the top of the root ball, backfill as needed. The excess soil can be used for a berm around the tree, for water.

    Dave
    I'm with Dave. I planted 65 3' saplings last spring with the post hole digger in sandy loam soil (no rocks like you may have) in 2 hours with two people. Works great.
    Bobcat CT235, Old Ford 6' blade, King Kutter 5' Rotary Cutter

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
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    Mar 2005
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    576
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    Ontario

    Default Re: Planting trees

    My wife and I have planted thousands of trees in the past 28 years on our 30 acre property. If you are limited in your budget buying small 2 year bear root seedlings and planitng them with a dibble bar or simply cutting a v shaped hole with a shovel to place seedling in can get a lot planted. If you have the time to baby them by watering, feeding and weeding for the first years of their life you can have close to 100 percent survival. If you just pop them in and do nothing else the mortality will be higher but in my case it was overall acceptable with smoe species being very successful and others not so. Soil suitability was the biggest determining factor.

    To plant bigger trees I've used a shovel then graduated to a back hoe and auger. Any of these do the job. The key is to make the hole bigger around and rather than deeper. If you dig the hole much deeper than the depth of the tap root of the tree you are asking for trouble as the disturbed soil settles the tree will sink deeper than it should be into the soil. That can be fatal. The nice thing about an auger is it breaks the soil up better than the backhoe. Use a larger diameter auger so you can use mix amendments like bone meal and compost or well rotted manure with the native soil to give the tree a nice wide bed for the roots to grow into. I use a tree auger to plant 6-8 foot fruit trees and cedars for hedges. The cool thing about a tree auger is it digs a "V" shaped hole which more natural to the shape of a trees root system.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Carl_NH's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
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    2,016
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    Coastal NH
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    01 Kubota B21TLB, 2010 Ferris 52" ZTR, Cub Cadet 1811, Gravely Super8

    Default Re: Planting trees

    Yes, I guess deciding what to buy is a good problem to have. I am biased towards a BH, and know a PHD will work especially the angled one botabill described would be great for trees. I assume you might be doing 3-6' size trees or small ones? If B&B trees then I would go BH.

    I dig about 6" deeper and then backfill the hole with my composted leaves, then root-tone then water then plant the tree and backfill.

    As with any property and planting, when you start ultimately things will grow and you will need to transplant and move trees and shrubs, thats best done with a BH, also getting in and out of your wet area a BH (tough to get unstuck with a PHD) and the BH with a mechanical thumb is a great logging/chainsaw assistant to name another.

    On average I transplant 10 shrubs a year, also great for digging existing FREE trees in forest (small 1-2" dia) up in one scoop and moving / reforesting other areas.
    Kubota B21TLB, Ferris IS2000, Cub Cadet 1811

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Mar 2005
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    576
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    Ontario

    Default Re: Planting trees

    No doubt the backhoe is the most versatile option all round for digging and planting bigger trees/shrubs. A little hint I was given is to skim the sod off the surface where the hole is to be dug then place it in the bottom of the hole, green side down, where the tree is to be planted. Just tried it this year but it seems to make sense. That would move some nutrition down to the root zone and kill the surface competition.

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    56
    Location
    Northern New Jersey
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default Re: Planting trees

    Great stuff! Thanks for all the feedback!

    I should have mentioned size and number of trees: I want to plant maybe 10 ball and burlap trees about six feet tall. American Hornbeam, Serviceberry, Weeping Willow, Norway Spruce, Winterberry, maybe a Hazelnut, perhaps some maple, a few fruit trees (apple, peach). Plus a few dozen bushes including blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, viburnum (cranberry bush). Will plant some bare root trees (already have), but it's a new property and don't always have the patience to wait for them.

    Sounds like a backhoe would be a great thing to have. I really think it would be helpful in planting and transplanting, and very helpful for trenching for drainage in several places on my boggy land. But my understanding from an excellent and practical-minded John Deere technician is that it is very difficult and time-consuming to take the backhoe off the tractor or to reinstall. It has a subframe that attaches to the tractor that is apparently quite involved to mess with. Can't really justify multiple tractors. An auger should work well for tree-planting, and would be much easier to remove and reinstall. Don't know what a PHD is. (I only have a bachelor's -- and I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, neither!) I did not know about clamp-on bucket spades and will look at that. Nor did I know about a dibble bar, which looks like my bulb planters. I frequently wish I could draw on a two-man team, but it's just me here, and I've found it's hard to hire simple laborers.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Dec 2009
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    Location
    Kansas...USA
    Tractor
    Kubota B2620 (2012)

    Default Re: Planting trees

    Much of my experience is similiar to previous posters. But my approach was to start with what I called my "tree bed" which was a dedicated area where seedlings were planted (several hundred from the State Extension). As the they grew I picked the variety (Cedar, Austrian, White and Scotch pine) and the vigorous ones and transplanted them when about 2-3 feet high.
    The tree bed allowed cultivation and water to be most convenient. Of course, once they were transplanted that became more time consuming but the survival rate was over 90%. This was done with shovels, hoes and a wheelbarrow. Oh, did I mention 4 teenagers ? Also, somewhere I recall that the sod should not be placed in the hole because the decomposition causes gas to form that is harmful to the tender roots. Maybe that's an old misconception.
    .....also forgot to mention the 8 HP walk behind rototiller that was quite helpful in this and many other garden projects.
    Kubota B2620 HST

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