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Pine Needles

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akanapa
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 28 Black Forest, Colorado
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2004-05-28          87093


What tractor attachment/implement works best for raking up pine needles in a forested lot full of pine trees? I've got a six acre lot in the Black Forest near Colorado Springs. Fire danger is a real fear here ever since the Heyman fire two years ago. I'm looking for a way to rake up the pine needles using my JD4115 tractor. Any ideas?

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2004-05-28          87094


I'd guess that a lawn vacuum would do best. However, I'm not sure why you want to rake them up at all. Sure, they may burn, but they burn really fast and die out just as fast. Around here the fire control folks recommend keeping the underbrush under control and limbing the trees up as they grow, nothing is said about pine needles. If that is done even IF the pine needles burn they won't burn long enough or high enough to catch the trees on fire. ....

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akanapa
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 28 Black Forest, Colorado
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2004-05-28          87095


Thanks for the thought. Vacuums don't work well when some of the stuff is three to six inches thick, the remains of over many years. Fire control here recommends raking needles up because of the extreme dryness -- we've been in a drought the past 5 years. In fact, the county even set up a dump site specifically for people to dump pine tree branches and needles. Fire danger is extreme here. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2004-05-28          87097


Do you have a spark arrestor on your 4115? If not I think JD sells them for around $10-15.

Not sure what the best implement would be. A box scraper could sure drag around the needles but it might dig into the soil too much at times. A mower with a bagger attachment might suck up needles well enough but you'd probably be emptying the bag every 30 seconds. Best would be something that would suck the needles up and blow them into a large wagon, yet still be maneuverable enough to get around in the trees. ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2004-05-28          87099


I have no idea if this would work but just a suggestion. For spring and fall cleanup of grass and leaves, I have an estate rake that can be pulled around with a lawntractor. With my stuff, I keep raking making windrows that I eventually pickup manually by raking onto a loader bucket. I then transfer to my dump trailer. If it is only 2-4" high it may work. The only other suggestion would be to use a landscaping rake and go to a machine shop and redo the spring teeth to have a real fine pitch. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7151 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2004-05-28          87105


We have to deal with this problem constantly.

The big problem with working in a 'natural setting' is that unlike a lawn, the ground is usually very rough and has lots of roots and rocks in the way.

What we have found works the best is a (or several) BIG blower. Work from the upwind side and go back & forth moving the needles downwind. At the point you want to gather them up just stake a tarp into the ground and then tie or hold the other end up vertically. When the pile is on top of the tarp just tie it shut and take it away.

Best of luck.
....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2004-05-28          87107


What about those large rotary brooms you see them moving debris off highways while under construction. That might work. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2004-05-29          87153


I've heard of pine straw bailers and maybe pine straw rakes as well. Pine needles are a commercial product used for mulching in some areas of the Southeast and I believe there are specialized implements for the work that would likely work for spruce needles as well. Of course bailing them probably isn't of interest.

We get knee deep in pine and spruce needles here as well. They do compost reasonably well if mixed with lime and nitrogen fertilize, but it works better if they are mixed with leafs and other material. ....

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jlkinney
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Posts: 1
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2004-06-12          88376


A Walker mower with a dethatcher push em into a pile then suck up with the mower deck and go dump the mower ....

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