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Low-Cost Tree Planter Works Great
After planting 2,000 trees by hand, Billy Williams decided to find an easier way. He looked at the price of mechanical tree planters and then decided to build his own.
  “They want $4,000 to $5,000 for a new one, and I knew I could build one for a lot less,” says Williams.
  He used 1/4-in., 3 by 3-in. angle iron for the frame, including the 3-pt. hitch mount. The double angle iron frame is about 6 ft. long with the 2 angle iron frame rails spaced about 3 in. apart. This provides enough space for the trees to drop down between them.
  Williams mounted a 24-in. coulter for a cutting blade. It’s attached to angle iron braces that are positioned 15 degrees off center from the top link post. He also attached expanded metal footplates for the operator on the braces.
  He mounted a 16 by 20 by 12-in. deep box at an angle to the top link post and the planter frame rails. It holds about 500 to 600 seedlings at a time.
  The plow-like row opener mounts directly behind the coulter. Williams fabricated it from steel plates. Each side is about 14 in. long front to back and about 13 1/2 in. high. They come together behind the coulter, spreading to slightly more than the 3-in. spacing of the frame rails to which they are welded. The added space ensures that once the seedling is dropped between the rails by hand, it falls freely into the trench.
  “I first made it 12 in. deep, but the trench wasn’t deep enough, so I added another 1 1/2 in.,” says Williams.
  The frame rails are trimmed directly over the opener to make it easy for the seedling to drop into the trench between the opener plates.
  Williams attached an old boat seat to the frame rails for the operator. Directly beneath it is a pair of 4.80 by 12 boat trailer wheels. They’re set at 35 degree angles to serve as press wheels, firming up and pushing dirt against the seedling’s roots.
  “The planter works great,” says Williams. “We’ve planted up to 6,000 pine trees in a day with it. All I have in it is about 10 hours of labor and $250 in parts.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Billy Williams, 3141 Galilee Rd., Barnwell, S.C. 29812 (ph 803 541-8503).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1