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Tree Plucker Lifts Out Trees, Roots And All
“We built it heavy so it’ll last when you’re just beating the crap out of it,” says machinist Matt Olander about the Tree Plucker he built to remove hybrid poplar trees up to 8 in. in dia. With the power of a 100 hp. Deere track skid loader behind it, trees are plucked out, roots and all.
  “This is made for speed,” Olander says. “It can clear an acre of trees in an hour.”
  The need for the unique plucker came about because local land owners had leased their land to plant hybrid poplar trees in several counties of Minnesota for pulpwood. But after demand changed, land owners were offered a buyout - basically to cover the cost of removing the trees to put the land back into crop production. The poor quality wood wasn’t even worth hauling to distant chipping plants, so many landowners bulldozed and burned the trees in their fields. Olander and a neighbor worked on the Tree Plucker for their own use.
  To build the jaws he used 1/2-in. steel and machined the bushings, pins and slides and added grease zerks.
  It’s old-school mechanics, he explains, because hydraulics take too much time. The Tree Plucker can remove a tree in about 5 to 6 seconds. The operator runs into the tree with the spring-pressured jaws, which close and grab on impact. They open and release the tree when the skid loader stops.
  It’s a rough job, Olander admits, hitting into trees all day. A steel cage in front of the skidloader protects the driver. But pulling the whole tree up saves the step of dealing with roots later. There is less dirt on the roots than when trees are bulldozed, so they dry faster when piled in berms for burning at a later date. Meanwhile, producers are able to fill the holes left by the trees by plowing and can plant crops between the berms.
  After doing their own properties, Olander started contracting out to other farmers. Besides taking out hybrid poplar, the Tree Plucker works well on removing smaller trees under power lines and along fence lines.
  It works best in lighter soils and for smaller trees, Olander notes. He doesn’t manufacture the Tree Plucker.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Olander Tooling Co., LLC, 1320 Prairie Ave. N.W., Staples, Minn. 56479 (ph 218 895-5825; www.olandertooling.com; olander@arvig.net).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2