Will compact tractor work?

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by LB1234, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    We are looking into the purchase of a compact utility tractor w/ tracks. I've searched and read a lot of posts on this subject already here at lawnsite. Thx again D Felix for the spreadsheet. I'm curious for those that already use them...or have used them in the past...

    1) Do you use them for planting trees/shrubs? In other words, do you have the tree forks and auger? Is it really a time/back saver for this. Can you just switch them no problem in the field. You know run over to the planting spots, auger four holes, go switch to the forks, pick up the trees, drop them in the hole, go switch to the bucket, bring mulch over to the newly planted trees?

    2) Do you use them for clearing old landscapes? Can you just put a grapple or 4 in 1 bucket on the machine and start carrying old plants out of the yard? FYI, bucket reach is not a big problem for us because we utilize a dump trailer with is fairly low and I've rented the Dingo before w/ just bucket and loaded dump trailer up with soil.

    3) Does it aid in building retaining walls? Can the backhoe be attached, dig the footing, place forks on to carry wall material over (say 6X6's NOT a 1T pallet of block), place bucket on and carry 3/4" stone over to wall?

    Any help/insight would be appreciated.
  2. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    1. Yes it helps, But if have a lot of trees oh lets say 26 pear trees... I would find a person with a big tree spade.... :D But to answer your question it works out great....

    forget the forks IMO... Have some hooks welded onto the bucket and use either a strap or chain to move the trees. That way you can lower the tree into the hole....

    2.Don't Just a waste of money on a 4 way bucket.... Chain and straps work well.

    3. Yes great attachment. But don't let anyone tell you that it can be taken off real fast or easliy.... The Good hoe attachments are meant to stay on the tractor....
    as for lifting with compact tractor. The weight is very limited....
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Thx for the reply. I should mention we are small...no employees...just two owners...myself and brother. Most of our jobs are small. Sections of landscapes versus the whole landscape. Since they are existing landscapes it is important to keep turf destruction to a minimum. That's why a skid steer is out. Between the weight of them and the way they turn it (IMO) would not be a good fit for us.

    What type of compact tractor do you have?

    I'm also interested on feedback from the backhoe attachment. I've called 4-5 rental places this past week and none of them have backhoe attachments. I've even tried the local home ripoffs. I did demo a Dingo w/ backhoe last year at a landscape supplys open house...but I couldn't get a feel for taking it over curbs, load/unloading on our trailer, and/or power (I was digging in very sandy soil..no rocks, clay, or roots).
  4. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    If you have any more ???? feel free to PM me....
  5. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    I have a TC33D with Super Steer and a TC35 with shuttle shift.
  6. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 923


    Are you talking about the miini skid steers like the Dingos or comparct tractors like Greengrow has? From what I have seen in my researching the compact tractors do not have tracks on them just the mini skid steers do along with larger skid steers.
  7. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 863

    I'm very much in the same boat as you. I run my own small landscape company and this past year I was the first year I ran it full time. I had one employee and also hired extra friends when needed. I also rented tractors, trenchers, dingos, excavators. I built berms, retaining walls, walkways, landscapes and water features. I cleared land and moved mountains of mulch and soil. I have a pile of buckets from plant installs so big, it looks like I supply nurseries with'em. I've used skidsteers in the past so I have experience with them.

    I mentioned I HAD an employee... lets just say I'm very picky, work in the rain, and don't take breaks. Employees don't last long. So I started renting the dingo, I wasn't going to wheelbarrow 12 yards of topsoil :D

    I've used the trencher, leveler, backhoe, auger, tiller and regular bucket with both tracked and wheeled versions.

    The tracked dingo has more ground pressure and can dig more soil like a skidsteer, it does not damage the grass as much as the wheeled version, but I don't think it can take the backhoe, I might be wrong on that. The tracks allow you to drive over a trench, where as the wheeled version you cannot. You can also drive thru some serious mud with the tracks. I did find that the tracks don't have enough lug to them if you need to go up a steep gravel slope in the rain, that was a real bummer.

    The other bummer was that the Dingo does not have enough weight or balls to pull out Yew stumps without pretty much chopping all the roots first. The backhoe helps but just doesn't have enough force like a dedicated compact excavator.

    The benefits of the Dingo or other compact skidsteers that I have found are: Weight, it will fit on almost any trailer. Size, it will fit thru fences. Material moving, this is its best attribute and a real back saver. 5 Gal/BB planter, using the auger to dig the holes to plant a row of Sky Rocket Junipers was awesome. I planted seven BB Junipers in 1 hour and mulched them and these were in the back yard thru a fence about 150' from the trailer.

    One day on the job went like this: Use bucket and remove stumps pulled out by excavator. Put on tiller and till up yard. Put on leveler and smooth out dirt. Put bucket back on and move 6 yards of topsoil to build up future landscape bed. Put leveler back on and transport 100 plants ranging from flats to 1gal to 5gal to BB and 1 3/4" caliper trees. Put on auger and fire off the large holes. Put on trencher and dig trench for electric. Put bucket on and move 12 yards of Black Diamond mulch.

    Some final thoughts: The backhoe is good for digging small water features and excavating out for a retaining wall, but not for ripping out bushes. It also is a pain to put on and off. Don't use the trencher if there are a lot of rocks, use the backhoe. If the ground is soft or wet use the tracked not wheeled or you will get stuck. Tracked is a must if you need to go over trenches or will be doing any kind of digging(scraping dirt off the surface) with the bucket. Make sure to chain it down on the trailer ;) I wish it had the ability to carry skids of stone, and although its not as heavy as a skid steer it can still rip up turf. Especially shallow root type, IE grub infested or shady grass. A couple companies make an articulated tractor that looks promising and Bobcat now has an articulated skid steer, two things I would like to try before I buy a Dingo type machine.

    Sorry for the long post. Hope it was helpful.
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    The answer to your questions are YES. With a quik attach front bucket you can do all of what you mentioned, and for a back hoe look at a Bradco brand.
    Although the tractor can do it all, it will never be the best at any of the chores just for the fact that it is so versatile, And the back hoe is not something that you would want to change more than once a day if at all possable. It can be a little time comsuming. I have a TC 21, TC 30 and a TC 40, plus a mid 90 model 1920. So I do like the compacts and they have made a lot of money for me.

  9. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    When I said 'compact tractor' I guess I should have said 'mini skid steer'...(i.e. the Dingo). My apologies...obviously I'm VERY new to the tractor world and used the wrong terminology. :help:

    So greenngrow & Mac...I apologize for the misinformation. I have rented the Kubota B21 and L35 on occasion..I guess they would be considered 'compact tractors' and I loved those things. Of course, I rented them for very specific jobs. Never for plant installations.

    Grn Mtn,

    Referring to the Dingo...

    Is it really that easy to attach/detach? Something like three hydraulic hoses??? I'll have to find out about the backhoe on the tracked units. If you can't then I don't beleive it would be worth it...the tracked unit that is. Perhaps they sell tracks that go over the wheeled units...I beleive I read that in one of the other posts on here...have to check. Not sure how it would work. Maybe I will be looking into an actual compact tractor w/ tracks... :p

    Here I am asking questions to narrow selections and it has brought up even more questions...

    GOSH I'M SO CONFUSED NOW!! :dizzy:
  10. Gilla Gorilla

    Gilla Gorilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 923

    As far as the mini skid steers go, yes there is only two hydrolic hoses to hook up for the attatchments when you put them on but not every attachment has them ie; regular buckets. For the hooking up of the attachment to the mounting plate it is only two levers that you pull to one side then dump the loader arm and the attachment is unhooked, easy and quick for most attachments.

    I demoed the Bobcat MT52 earlier this week and the Toro Dingo 420TX today and I think that I like the Dingo better. It seems to be shorter and has a little better traction that I could tell. The Bobcat is built like a damn tank but I guess that shows in the overall weight of that unit.

    Just get on the different manufacturers websites and start seeing which ones have dealers close to you and then call and set up some demos and see which one you like the best and who has the best price and service.


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