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 12-27-1999, 00:00 Post: 11509
John



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 Tree Planter

I run a small christmas tree farm. I have a John Deere 4100 tractor. I would like to build my own mechanical planter for christmas tree seedlings and transplants. Has anyone ever built one or does anyone have plans or pictures of one? Any help would be appreciated. John D.






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 12-29-1999, 00:00 Post: 11576
RCH



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 Tree Planter

RE tree planters; For the last 10 years I`ve planted 3000-8000 seedlings every spring with two different mechanical planters. The first one was a "The Forester" built by Utility Tool and Body Co.,Inc. P.O.Box 360,Clintonville, Wisc. 54929;phone 715-823 3167,fax 715-823 5274. The 2d one was built by "DETCO" or Richard Detler, Planfield ,Wisc.[home of the infamous Ed Gien- serial killer who made lampshades from human skin around 1950`s]
These are both 1-row models and a 20 hp. tractor will pull them but a 4-wheel drive is necessary unless you have awfully good drainage [sand,not clay based].One goal is to plant a 2 or 3 year transplant at the front end of your growing season so it tends to be wet. Ideally a late fall mowed hay field that is sprayed with Round-up just as it starts to grow in the spring enables you to have some footing with the tractor earlier and doesn`t rut up the ground. Also this gives you 5 to 7 weeks weed contol so the seedlings get a good start that all important first year.I plant hours or a day later after spraying with Round-up so you want the grass/hay you are planting into to be short so the Round-up ladened grass/hay doesn`t flop over on the seedlings,especially conifers.The tree planter helps by flattening out a 5 or 6 inch row. Try to spray the Round-up on a sunny warm day as if there are not enough variables all ready. Round-up can be double-edged sword. I`ve seen it work perfectly and then foxtail or treacle[ a viney aggresive ground cover commonly used by highway department to stabilize hillsides] come on like gangbusters around mid june choking out a good stand. Plant your rows so you can cultivate with a tiller if needed.[To be continued]






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 12-29-1999, 00:00 Post: 11578
RCH



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 Tree Planter

Both planters have a large coulter[flat disc blade]way up front to `cut`the vegetation or sod and there may not be room for on a small tractor like a JD 4100; for me it fits better on a Ford 1910[33hp.] than a 21 hp Iseki. For sure mate before you buy. On The Forester,you straddle the planting slit and plant between your legs and its tricky to get the seedling up right.Also any decidous seedlings have to be short enough to fit under the seat.Detco`s smallest planter has similar geometry with the operator straddling the planting slit.The Detco I have has a `U` shaped yoke hinged at the bottom of the U with the open part of the U trailing with the 2 packing wheels at the end. The person[s] planting sit off to the side, placing the seedlings in the slit and are able to see that the seedling is up right. Mine is set-up with a single operator facing foreward.A local tree planter modified his so that two operator sit on each side of the yoke facing backwards planting into the same slit [some seedlings such as pine and ash have luxurious and very tangled roots that need to be teased apart]
It`s very important that the"geometry" of the the planter is "square" so that the slit comes together perfectly. Otherwise air gets down there and if there is a little drought later in that first summer the tree won`t make it. New seedlings have poor drought resistence.Thats why I traded the Forester in--it`s yoke was a little cockeyed and didn`t trail perfectly straight,giveing a crooked over lap.It was a sample defect that I didn`t realize the importance of intially.The Detco had it`s problems too. It`s made for sand based country.I spent another $600 extending the yoke, extending the splitter,adding a better seat and seedlng storage and drainage holes in the storage bins.It is heavily built so modifing it was easy. The bottom line is try it on your soil type before you buy. I bought The Forester used for $400 and traded it plus $2200 for the Detco.






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 12-30-1999, 00:00 Post: 11604
John Dvorscak



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 Tree Planter

RCH, Thank you for your informative description of tree planters. I have never used one and since I have been planting trees for only three years it was very helpful. It sounds like my 4100 may be a little small for a tree planter but I can borrow a larger tractor. My main problem is labor shortage during planting season. My question is is it possible to use a post hole digger for planting? Is it any faster than hand planting? Thank you for your time. John D.






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 12-30-1999, 00:00 Post: 11605
RCH



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 Tree Planter

With a tree planter, once your organized,sorted & loaded,you can plant a tree every 5 to 10 seconds. I`ve planted 3000 trees in a day after spraying 4 acres with Round-up [ an 1 hour task].
I have a post-hole digger with a 12`and 9`auger which I`ve used to fill in stretches that didn`t make it the next season or for larger trees for landscaping. A tree planter is much faster but your limited to more or less straight row or at least a big sweeping curve because of the closure problem. Also because of planting so fast its difficult to mix up species except by rows- you have a handfull of 20 or 30 trees and plant with thr other hand.
I use polyacrilamide gel on the roots as a little drought protection and it lubricate the roots so that untangling is quicker and less traumatic to the roots.






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 12-31-1999, 00:00 Post: 11623
RCH



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 Tree Planter

John, regarding your reference to `a labor shortage`. The tag line in Detco`s advertizing is "THE TREE PLANTER YOUR WIFE WILL LOVE"






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 12-31-1999, 00:00 Post: 11625
RS



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 Tree Planter

Take a look at www.easternfarmmachinery.com they sell them for around 1300.00






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