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sgbotsford
08-22-2012, 10:17 AM
I'm a tree farmer. I set up 10 rows of socket pots a couple years ago. 5 gallon pails set a foot into the ground. A #5 pot with a tree in it drops into the pail, and it can't blow over, and gets ground protection for winter freezing.

The rows are far enough apart that I can run my 21" mower down the aisle. Grass between the pots is taken care of by hand when it is in danger of seeding. Meanwhile it shades the root ball, shading out the weeds in the pot.

BUT the pocket gophers didn't go on holiday. So the aisles are now hard to mow with a combination of mounds from the gophers, and pits where the coyotes and my dogs work at getting them out.

The aisles are well sodded with a mix of pasture grasses.

At this point to 'smooth' the aisles I'm looking at much work with a vineyard hoe.

What I think I need is essentially a rear tine rototiller with a good enough level control that I can set it make an average 1/2" - 1" depth cut. Make a pass. Leave it for a week for the grass to recover. Repeat. Of course it has have shrouded tines so I don't scatter divots of sod everywhere, but rather drop them into the depressions. A zero clearance flail mower could do the same thing.

In addition the machine has to be no more than 20" wide. Even my mower has some tight spots and it's a 21" mower.

I don't want to eliminate the pocket gophers -- they give me excellent sub surface drainage.

Ideas?

Puttinggreens
08-22-2012, 12:01 PM
A small Mantis tiller works great in small areas. Just google Mantis Tiller.

It is light enough to till and direct the soil to where you want it.

Just a thought, may work for you, may not.

sgbotsford
08-22-2012, 12:08 PM
I've tried the mantis tiller. It works well on previously tilled earth, but just bounces around on established grass.

Indeed, even the 36" tiller on the back of my kubota doesn't do well on sod. When I'm breaking new land to cultivate as a soil supply I generally:

1 Moldboard plow.
2. Let overwinter.
3. Disk once a month to wear out the seed bank.
4. Rototil just before using.

My soil is roughly 50% sand, 35% silt, 15% clay plus a variable organic component. (It varies a lot -- the glaciers dropped a lot of crap around here) The pasture component leans heavily toward quack grass, brome, alfalfa, timothy. Weed component mostly dandelion and pigweed, and stinkweed.