setting trees the easy way

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by greasy_gun, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. greasy_gun

    greasy_gun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    hope this is not off topic 4 this forum, but lately ive been picking up a few good dollars, in addition to regular accounts that are mowed, via setting small trees for owners, as this is a good time to plant (transplant) in my area.
    i only bid small trees, i.e., 5-7 gallon or less.
    guess what? thinking of back breaking work?
    my mantis tiller 'digs' a perfect hole for these sizes, taking about 1 - 2 minutes per hole to dig/till out.....easy work with the mantis (honda 4 stroke)...set 40 evergreens today for a couple...was finished in 2 hours....told them to water :)
    i continue to find uses for this little maker :)
  2. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Good idea Greasy_Gun!
  3. That's quick! Was that by yourself?
    I've been considering a Mantis and that hole digging capability might push me over the top. Especially if I get this one big job I'm going after.

    I've never demoed a Mantis tiller.
    How do you think they'd be for turning mulch in a shrub bed?
    Do you think that it would stir up too much dirt with the mulch?
    Or are there different tines available for the Mantis?


  4. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    David....go buy one TODAY....finally bought mine...Honda 4 is THE BEST little tool I have ever purchased. I have used it many times to lightly till or deeper till, mulch beds..The machine will let you "bounce" along if you dont want to get too deep on the mulch...if you want deeper, just hold on tighter and move it back and forth....I cant tell you how many times this little thing has saved me time and effort. Just last night a customer called and said he has bare spots here and there in his lawn...b4 the Mantis, I would loosen up the soil by hand...not fun...and using my aerator or renting a slit seeder is not practical for small grass repair jobs...but the Manits lossens the soil perfectly. Cuts this kind of repair time in more than half.

    If you buy one, I;d love to hear back from you how much you love it....only 20 lbs and its small enough to tuck in your trailer. Only thing I dont like is its impossible to stand up ...wants to fall over because of its design...but....they make a stand for $20 that you'll want to add on when you buy it. Yes there are various other tools ...I think the promo deal will give you an edger attachment for least thats what I got a couple months ago when I bought mine...great little machine with many uses.

    Greasy've got to tell me more how this thing can dig a hole for a 5/7 gal plant??? Never tired gets deep enough?? Tell us how you use it to get the proper sized this would save me bunches of hours in planting shrubs and small trees...thanks
  5. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    You can reverse the tines to not allow the machine to go deeper. Will only scratch the surface. Mine, about 8 years old, is used to till small gardens, fix bare spots, mess up mulch. Never used it for planting.
  6. greasy_gun

    greasy_gun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    mantis and 'digging' holes for small/trees shrubs (5 - 7 gallon or less)..

    here is my method.....
    with regular tiller tines, set mantis where u want hole.

    let it start busting sod, then begin rotating/walking the mantis over the area effect, the mantis is remaining over the hole, you are walking a small circle around the hole (kinda like a tetherball effect)

    once it starts digging deeper i continue rotating and pull back on handles to start enlarging the hole and avoid/decrease the bouncing

    let the mantis dig as far as the guard allows

    presto->nice hole with fine dirt to place back around new tree/shrub.

    granted, u will have to experiment in order to learn the 'feel' for this, as in tilt handles up, down, pull back, etc.....mainly to avoid the bouncing effect of the little mantis.

    but believe me, after a few holes you will learn the feel.

    the mantis tills the dirt up so fine that i dont use a shovel to clean the dirt out of the hole, quicker removing by hand. and i fill the dirt back around the same way, rake it in by hand. found that using a shovel takes much longer!

    in essence, practice a little and you should find the method that works best for you.

    remember, i only use it for 5-7 gallon trees or smaller, but i guess it could start the holes for bigger sizes and then dig out by shovel/post hole diggers.

    i also rake mulch beds with the mantis (freshen them up), just dont go full throttle!

    another use i have for the mantis is creating new edges for beds in yards->remove 1 side of tines (looks like half a tiller),attach the edger wheel, and pull it backwards. works like a charm :)

    i also started using the mantis to edge concrete driveways/walks, using the edger kit (which was included with my purchase). probably not as good as a stick edger, but most of my accounts only need edged 2 - 3times / i use the weed whacker to maintain the edge.

    and if you are a gardener, i discovered the the mantis is just right for weeding between rows, sure beats a hoe!

    im gonna go by the dealer today and order the kickstand for twenty bucks, to keep it upright for fueling.

    this mantis is lightweight, tuff as nails, and well worth the money.

    yep, my income is not the greatest, but i love my work, and try to research tools/equipment that are versatile yet get the job done.

    hope this helps :)
  7. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    I got a Mantis a couple of years ago. Very cool tool. I mainly use it for mixing compost or other amendments into garden bed soil. Mine has an Echo 2-cycle engine, which works just fine, but I would rather have the Honda 4-cycle. I guess that must be a new development. I think Echo and Honda both make very similar tillers. I think of this as a "baby roto-tiller". Have not yet tried the edger attachment. In fact I even forgot that I had that......
  8. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,925

    It is nice for you all but borrowed my fathers to make sure it would be a wise investment (as his has been sitting on the shelf in the garage for 3 years), Didn't do squat in the clay soil we have here. I'm sure if you have a place that you have put a good topsoil mix it would work fine but I have found that most everywhere I plant they skipped putting topsoil there or did not put enough to plant in. I have to pull out the heavy duty equiptment like post hole digger and work my way with that. Great time. HA Ha.
    Glad it works for ya all. Just make sure before you buy one (for you all that don't have one yet) to test it out first.
  9. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647

    Or at least know the soils you work with daily.............:D
  10. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    I use mine to loosen top soil and chew-up sod for retaining wall footers. I have found I can loosen the soil to a a more uniform depth this way and it makes shoveling it out a lot easer. I have had mine for about twenty years. I use it in the garden and flower beds all summer long. The new one Stihl is selling looks pretty aggressive have you checked them out? I don't no anyone who has tried them yet. How about it any can anyone tell us about them? Mine is still going but an increase in use will kill it for sure and it's getting hard to find parts for it. I cracked the tank this spring and had to find a used one. No longer available. I hate it when that happens.
    The tree thing is something I hadn't thought of. Thanks.

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