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Planting Norway Spruce 5' - 6'

Post in 'The Gear' started by Joful, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Because augers don't like wet, sticky clay or big rocks. When the digging gets tough, the tough get excavators. >>

    Doesn't sound like you will have a hard time with the digging.


    Maybe and maybe not. A couple old pieces of plywood to lay down under the tracks for turns will make a mini-excavator real turf friendly. Excavators just pack so much more digging power into the same size machine. Hyd. Thumbs are more common on excavators than backhoes too, which makes plucking rocks out of a hole so much easier.

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  2. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm.... Well, I don't anticipate much rocks or clay, but there will be roots. Thankfully, I have a lot of space with which to work, so I can always move a few feet one way or the other, if I hit an obstacle.
  3. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I have a hedgerow of Norways. They like sun and will keep branches on the bottom on the south sunny side if they have sun in the open . They were planted 6 feet apart to have a screen asap but should have had every other one removed about 20 years ago when hurricane winds started hitting that wall of tree and knocking them over.
    I do like the double row if you have the space to give up.

    I bought a BH for my Deere because we are full of rocks here - some huge - and the rental fees pretty much exceeded the ROI on purchasing one with all the projects I had.

    Aside from rentals hiring someone has become quite a bit more affordable than it was 5 years ago . That's the case here anyway.
  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I was just floated a price of $150 per tree for 5' - 6' installed. The guy seemed interested in discussing larger trees, but not smaller. I think I'll be doing this myself, and because the investment is not going on MY property (actually on the neighbor's side of the property line), I may be going smaller.

    While debating all options, another interesting way of coming at this would be:

    1. What's the biggest auger I can run on my 25hp Deere 855?
    2. What's the biggest tree I can plant with that auger?

    Would love to consider purchasing a backhoe, but then I'd need to find space to store a backhoe...
  5. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I'd only buy a BH if you had more projects or thought you could sell it for a decent price afterwards.
    People seem to be rolling attachments into 0% financing on a new tractor.

    TSC has a 3pt post hole digger for around 500 but I don't know if they have a 36 inch auger for it or if it can even handle one.
    Home Depot Rentall here used to have one of those little BH on wheels that you move around via bumper hitch. You're not digging deep so that might be ideal.
    They (HD) just got some brandy new Bobcat skidsteers in on a trailer ready to go for $265/day. Dunno if you can dig a good tree hole quick with one or not. I guess they plan on renting them to clean up all the tree damage from the last couple storms.
    Couple of huge chippers that take 6 to 10 inch branches too. They never rented chainsaws before, I should go inside and see if they now do.


    You really want 5 foot trees ?
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I want 7 foot trees... but I'm only willing to spend the money for 5 foot trees. ;)

    Thanks for the info!
  7. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Unless you plan on using the digger/auger at least occasionally in the future, I'd rent the skidsteer with the auger and get 'r done. I've seen a lot of diggers sitting in a shed or fencerow collecting rust.
    flyingcow likes this.
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Yeah... I figure so. I do have a multiple-use need for a 6" or 8" auger, but nothing big enough for planting trees. Thanks!
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So, I ended up getting 42 potted Norway spruce, 30" - 42" in 2 and 3 gallon pots. Required hole is 18" diameter x 11" deep.

    The guy at the rental shop advised against the tractor mounted 3-point PTO auger, saying they're crap for going thru any root or rock, and they can't be backed out when they screw themselves in along side a root. Stuff we already knew. Since I "only need 42 holes, which ain't much," he suggested this:

    http://www.gtr-rents.com/store/Augers/1-MAN-HYDRAULIC-POST-AUGER-1005-O4I_41226.aspx

    This evening, worried it might be too wet (or frozen), I went out to hand-dig one of the holes. Although my back is sore (spent all of last evening moving heavy stuff in a crawl space), I ended up digging six of them in 30 minutes, without breaking a sweat. Easier than I expected, and I wonder, perhaps easier than operating the hydraulic auger linked above?

    Soil condition is wet, but not frozen. Plenty of 1" roots, but nothing much larger. About 4-6" of nice organic, then transitioning to clay by 6-8" depth.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    That contraption in the link will wear a guy out but will get the job done quick. They suck at roots and rocks too. Used one once and didn't love it.
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Not that big of a hole at all. Dingo with a digger maybe? 1" roots shouldn't foil an auger. Or you could just keep digging by hand if you're up for it.
  12. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    3 gallon pots and decent soil I'd do by hand.
    But the only clay I've dug in could be managed with a pick.
    Which is required here for the hard gravel anyway.

    Spruce usually grow pretty fast.
    Hope you don't have to dust for the buggers that get into tip growth and spend too much time trimming double tips out.
  13. charly

    charly Guest

    I helped an old time arborist plant a bunch of trees,,, we used a back hoe... At the time I was working for a tree service in which I also planted trees with a 60 in tree spade... I found out that the back hoe was the way to go.. You want the soil loose enough in the hole so that the new hair roots can penetrate the new soil, otherwise you'll get roots that grow in a circle and girdle themselves killing the tree.. We actually added some better soil to the holes we dug as well... Make the holes big enough, stagger the trees in two rows if your planting to make a fence line of trees, that way they have room to grow...Don't mound the dirt or anything up to the trunk, leave the tree high enough out of the ground,,, too deep is no good..you should be able to see the flair at the base of the trunk... Tree spades are fast,,, that's it,,, the spades glaze the sides of the soil in the hole making it hard for the new roots to penetrate... Also take a garden hose and run it all around the root ball adding more soil until you have no air gaps and a nice mud pie all the way around, sticking the hose down to the bottom and back up.... Then water everyday....for weeks! Oh and makes sure they are plumb!;) If you stake trees don't leave them staked too long as the tree has a hormone that gives it's trunk strength sensing the wind some how.. leaving the stakes on too long will give you a weak trunk... A Tree Biology by Dr. Alex Shigo....Some pretty cool stuff about a trees life! Why spend that money and labor and not have nice trees? If I remember correctly , don't fertilize the trees the first year.. If you stake the trees, use wide webbing, wire or anything fine will girdle the trunk and kill the tree.. A loop runner or sling works well.. Hopefully you won't have to stake them. Good luck.. Remember the bigger the tree you plant, the longer the top growth will take to start growing,,, trees transplanted establish their root system first, once that's up to par and it can now support more top growth...
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Ended up digging all 42 holes by hand. Between interruptions, and tackling a few side jobs, I got 24 placed and back-filled. Too tired to talk about it now... time for shower, Scotch, sleep.
    flyingcow likes this.

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