View Full Version : Planting trees

08-30-2002, 08:28 AM
I am about to plant a number of trees and wanted to see if any of you had alternative methods for planting that may be better than what I normally do.

The trees are mostly 6'-7'evergreen, with very large root balls (36" and knee-high). What I normally do is use a Bobcat with an auger and forks, but this job will be hand-dug holes. Given the weight of these trees, is a Bobcat with forks the best way to go, as it makes moving the trees and dropping them in the holes quite simple, or are there alternatives I haven't considered. These could be manhandled, but it just doesn't seem like effective use of labor hours. I have a dozen trees to put in, but other jobs I have done have been 30-50 trees this size.

Like I said, I'm looking to see if there are more effective ways of doing this. I have not inquired about renting the hydraulic "forks" like the nursery uses, but I know regular forks make it easy to shift the plant after it is in the hole (if necessary).

08-30-2002, 09:37 AM
My only question is why hand dug holes. an auger would be more efficient and loosen the soil much better.

08-30-2002, 12:45 PM
Lord no man, if you bring in a Bobcat just for the purpose of moving trees you're wasting tons of $. I would use a 2 man or 1 man auger and my trusty root ball cart and you can put the trees where ever you like w/ease. Your aforementioned is the best method and is what I do but when faced w/quandarys as lack of room the method I mentioned works great.

08-30-2002, 01:11 PM
The cost of an auger and drive unit, compared to the number of trees, is not worth it. Besides, the trees are going into beds I just built, so the soil is still very easy to work with. A one- or two-man auger is too small; the bigest I have seen is 36", and that is barely big enough. I'd stll have to widen the holes to make sure I can get a proper backfill (I'm not concerned about the soil around the hole, as I mentioned I just put in in).

As far as the $ involved, my model is to have enough crew to keep them busy for the entire day, and to work efficiently. A Bobcat rental is worth two guys, who would take longer to move the trees and drop them in. I have plenty of work that I can use it for the rest of the day. Instead, I have the guys dig the holes, and when they are finished, I move them on to other things, leaving one to assist me with the plant drop and backfill. It may sound inefficient, but it seems to work well. I do like to hear of other ways to do things, as improving effieciency increases productivity, and that in turn makes one more competitive, with the potential for making more money.

08-30-2002, 03:41 PM
What does it cost to rent an auger in your area. if an auger cost $120.00 per day thats only $10.00 per tree. You probably could even get a 4 hour rate. I cant imagine it taking over 4 hours with an auger. I don't think I could have my guys dig these holes for $10.00 each. Of coarse you can see what your working with and we have to imagine. Good luck however you decide to do it.

08-30-2002, 06:01 PM
Do you have a 10 cu.ft. two wheeled wheel barrow? They work well when you don't have a Bobcat for trees of this size. First you can slip them from the back of a 1-ton into the wheel barrow, roll it to the hole and slip it into the hole using gravity every step of the way. You never drop the roots hard this way and you always have it for other work as well.
2-2.5 " caliper trees are not a problem.
...or rent the bobcat.

08-30-2002, 10:08 PM
The things I mention may not be available to you...
We have a tree spade attachment for our Bobcats as well as a tree boom for moving them around and dropping them in the holes.
If we had a access problem we would hand dig and then move them close to the hole with a tree dolly .... if you have never seen a tree dolly let me know and Ill post a pic of it.

09-03-2002, 08:10 AM
Thanks for the responses. I do have a 10 cubic foot wheelbarrow, as well as a tree dolly. What I'm am trying to do is minimize my total cost by balancing equipment cost against labor hours. The auger seemed like it wasn't worth it for so few holes in easy digging, but when you look at it as $10 per hole, I might reduce my labor hours by more than the cost of the auger rental.