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How To Transplant Big Trees By Hand
Imagine digging up a 12-ft. tall hemlock tree with a 38-in. dia. root ball - and doing it all by hand. With a Tripple Brook Farm root cutter and tree lifter, you can do it with ease and in as little as 15 min. Stephen Breyer, inventor, has moved tree balls nearly a ton in size with the system.
"When I bought a hydraulic tree spade, I thought it would be all we would ever need at our tree nursery," says Breyer. "But I found that too often it damaged the landscape and the tree. Ever since I designed our own digging system, the hydraulic tree spade sits unused."
Breyer uses a standard spade to begin the cut. Once he has made a slice around the tree or shrub to be moved, he shifts to the TBF root cutter. It's a triangular-shaped spade with a rod extending down from the point of the triangle to a smaller triangular-shaped cutting blade. This blade is the reverse of the upper blade. It features a straight face that cuts the deeper roots and defines the root ball. Conventional spades often tear and shred roots, opening them up to disease.
"The big thing about digging out a tree or shrub is getting the root ball cut," says Breyer, explaining that the most important part of the root system to preserve is within 12 to 15 in. or less of the ground surface.
Equally important is to vary the size of the root ball to match the shape of the root system. Unlike conventional tree movers, the TBF root cutter adapts to the tree.
To lift out the tree, you slide up to four root ball grappling forks under the root ball. The flat forks are attached to the TBF tree lifter. The lifter consists of four steel posts around a rectangular base that comes to a point. Once the trunk is strapped to the front posts and the tree forks have been attached, the tree is ready to lift. A rocker design at the base of the rear posts makes tipping the tree even easier. A rope tied to the tip of the lifter is pulled to leverage the tree out of the ground. Anchoring the rope to another tree and pulling on the free end makes even larger root balls easy to pull free.
Once the root ball has been cut free and wrapped, it can be moved by loader, hand truck or even on a sliding tarp.
Suggested retail price for the full system is $1,295 plus shipping. Components also can be ordered separately. Breyer is looking for dealers.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Stephen Breyer, 37 Middle Road, Southampton, Mass. 01073 (ph 413 527-4626; fax 413 527-9853; treedigger@ tripple brookfarm.com; www.tripplebrook farm.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #6