Hand Auger

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by gqnine44, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. gqnine44

    gqnine44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    Questions for those of you who use hand augers....

    It looks like the biggest bit you can get for a hand auger is a 12". Does anyone know of a machine that can handle a bigger bit?

    For planting trees with a large (24" or 36") root ball can you use a hand auger and just drill several holes to make one larger hole? Is this easy to do? How long would it take to dig a hole big enough to plant a 36" root ball?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. burns60

    burns60 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    I don't have much experience with one, but I would expect that any bigger than 12 inches would be pretty hard to work with. I know just about enough to get me in trouble, but I do know that they can throw a man around like a rag if you hit an imovable object like a root.

    That reminds me of the time after one of our storms here I had a tree take out my driveway. I had a friend in the concrete business and he brought me a compressor (big, on wheels) and a jack hammer. I took out a 20X20 section. That was 3 years ago and I have not been the same man since.
    So, just be careful with that auger.........
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    36" is a whole lotta hole. How long it takes depends on what you're digging through. In sandy soils it wouldn't take long at all. In clay soils it could take quite a bit of time. The Toro Dingo is a fairly big machine and it can only dig a 30" hole. Is this a one time job or do you have a whole lot of these or intend to do this regularly?
  4. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    For a minute there I thought he was talking about a real hand auger where you had to turn the wooden handle on the top,round and round..
  5. Larry Davis

    Larry Davis LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116

    I've got one of those cheap power augers (Earthquake) from Lowe's with the Tecumseh (sp) 2 cycle engine and 6" bit about 4 years ago. It has been and still is great for fence posts, 4 x 4 post, planting small trees, shrubs, etc. For a very inexpensive piece of equipment it has held up surprisingly well. However, unless you are built like "Sheshovel", I believe even a 8" bit would be a real handful for the average person in anything other than completely sandy soils. I had a professional company put in a chain link fence for me a number of years ago. They used a 2 man power auger with 8" bit for the post holes and even with 2 men they struggled on some of the holes. Power companies use 12" and 15" augers when putting up poles and I'm sure you have seem the huge size of their equipment.

    Now, I have put in some fairly large, field grown trees that required planting holes the size you are talking about and have successfully used my little auger. Like you said, I would drill 8 or 10 holes with the auger and that made shoveling out the soil rather easy.

    At least that's the way I used to do it. Picked up my new Kubota a few weeks ago so any future large planting I do, the digging will be done with the backhoe!

    Good luck!
  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    We use a 5.5 hp 2 man auger for our installs. The bit of choice is the 12" potting auger bit for doing what you are asking about. If we have an area we can't get the MT55 into, we use the auger to drill multiple holes, and then finish by hand for the cleanout.Depending on the soil composition, you could be looking at anywhere between 10 minutes to 45 minutes to dig a 3x3 hole with two men. Other than that, the 2 man auger is great for lots of 1-5 gallon potted plants.Larger trees over 1" caliper are better planted using the 30" bit on the MT55.
  7. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    I have a Stihl BT 121 with a 2" and an 8" bit any more than 8" I'm using the auger on my Cat 257.


    I currently have an A19 auger with a 18" and 36" bits for that machine.


    I think you can dig several 8" holes and loosen the soil if you are really after a 30" hole and do not have a bigger auger. I believe that would certainly be easier than trying to dig a 30" hole in virgin dirt with shovels. The Stihl BT 121 is a monster and is quite capable of digging some holes.
  8. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    i have a 36" we use on our dingo.
  9. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,468

    I used a mantis tiller to remove a crepe myrtle in my yard it dug a 48" hole a lot faster than I can shovel
  10. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    What kind of soil were you digging in, sandy loam? I don't doubt about the tiller's capacity, I just can't picture it digging a hole faster and deeper than a shovel.

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