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He Built His Own Tree Spade
With a plan to plant trees around his farm pond, retired machinist David Sager decided to build his own tree spade. He had seen a homemade version in a previous issue of FARM SHOW (Vol. 34, No. 3).

    It took a couple of revisions, but his creation worked well, and Sager planted 60 white spruce trees between 4 and 8 ft. tall last summer along with a few hardwood trees, including a skinny 25-ft. tall maple.

    “We only lost one tree, but it didn’t look good to start with,” says the Ontario resident.

    He mounted the spade to his loader’s quick-tach hitch and used 6 by 6-in. tubing on the base and 2 by 2-in. tubing for the uprights. Sager added a hinge so he can swing the auger around a tree and not break limbs, then close it and pin it. Instead of running hydraulics off the tractor, he mounted a 6 hp motor with a hydraulic pump on the spade to drive each of the three spade cylinders separately.

    Sager lowers the back spade first about 6 to 8 in., then lowers the other two and continues to go around until he’s deep enough to lift the tree and roots. The spade digs about 26 in. deep. Digging goes best with two people – one on the tractor to keep the down pressure on the loader, and the other person standing on the ground operating the three levers that control each section of the spade. The spades are made of 1/4-in. plate, which Sager cut into a spade shape and had rolled.

    He estimates the spade weighs 1,200 to 1,400 lbs., which he is able to use with his 50 hp industrial loader. The spade cost about $4,500 to build including the motor, pump and cylinders.

    Sager plans to move more trees this year. He adds that when the ground is dry, he waters the ground the night before around the trees he plans to dig.

    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Sager, Rosebush Rd., Stirling, Ont., Canada K0K 3E0 (ph 613 395-2173).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4