Big Tree Spade Mounts On Front-End Loader

"It'll dig out a 3 in. dia. tree in 2 minutes or less," says Duane Myklejord about the big hydraulic tree spade he built to mount in place of the loader bucket on his Deere tractor.

Mounting the spade on the loader provides the operator with a great view, says Myklejord. "I've moved hundreds of trees with it and I've never had any trouble."

The 3-bladed spade is about 7 ft. high, 4 ft. wide at the top, and narrows to about 2 ft. at the bottom. The hydraulically activated blades, which are each 3 ft. long, were made by cutting apart a 36-in. dia., 300-gal. liquid propane tank with 1/4-in. thick walls. A 3-in. dia. hydraulic cylinder with a 36-in. stroke powers each blade. The three 36-in. stroke hydraulic cylinders are off a car transport trailer.

The top part of the spade's frame is made from 2 by 4-in. rectangular tubing and the bottom part from heavy 4-in. angle iron that's 3/8 in. thick.

"The controls mount on a metal bracket that?s bolted to one of the loader arms, next to the tractor's steps," says Myklejord. "From the ground I can see how I'm doing as I push the spades into the ground, one by one. I used it last spring to move 31, 4 to 5-ft. spruce trees with a 100 percent success rate.

"To cut the propane tank, I took an abrasive blade off a chop saw and mounted it on a skil saw. I used a 4 1/2-in. angle grinder to sharpen the blades to a point at the bottom."