Whether you’re planting and digging in-ground trees and shrubs or container-grown plants, you need the right equipment. The quality of your plants depends upon it, and the vitality of your bottom line does, too. We’ve done some of the homework for you and have highlighted a few offerings here.

Image Courtesy Of iStock | Bobcat

Tree spade attachment from Bobcat

Versatile and compact, the tree spade attachment from Bobcat can quickly turn a loader into a transplanting unit. It has a short tower design, making it easy for the spade to fit between closely planted trees. Gates on the front of the tree spade open to allow access to the tree. Once around the tree, the gates close and rear stabilizers on the machine are lowered to transfer weight onto the tree spade. Three or four individual blades (depending on model) are then lowered into the ground to cut the tree roots and create a rootball. The rear stabilizers are raised and the tree can be transplanted into a new location or placed into a wire basket.

Features include:

  • Adjustable legs: Allow for digging five different root-ball sizes with one tree spade
  • Blade versatility: Modified and cone blade configurations are available, providing a wide variety of blades for any jobsite opportunity
  • Compact design: Allows for attachment operation in confined areas without damaging nearby trees or landscaping
  • Open frame design: Provides excellent visibility to the base of the tree
  • Outside frame design: Featured on the 24- and 28-inch tree spade models, the outside frame design provides a wider space for the tree
  • Inside frame design: Featured on spades 32-inch and above, the inside frame helps maintain the integrity of the rootball and allows for a more compact design
  • Overlapping blades: Ensure clean root cutting and support of the root ball
  • Valve options: Choose from a convertible valve or dedicated ACD valve to fit a wide range of fit-up to machines and operator preference

Image Courtesy Of iStock | Lundeby

Plant lifter from Lundeby

For slightly smaller plants, such as bulbs, perennials, bareroot trees and shrubs like roses and Taxus, the Lundeby Plant Lifter 30 is tailor made. It features a blade cutting width of 30 inches with a 5/8-inch-thick lifter blade that digs to 8 inches deep. Its overall width is 50 inches, overall length is 58 inches, and height ranges from 54 inches to 60 inches. Weight is approximately 1,400 pounds.

The maximum vertical row clearance can be adjusted from 36 inches to 45 inches.

The Plant Lifter 30 has a center wheel tread width of 40.5 inches, and it supports a tire size of 16.5 by 6.5 by 8 inches.

Also standard are 3-point category II lift pins; side shields with extensions; and special category II clamping PTO driveline.

The “soft” features include a rubber mounted shaker, providing smooth, quiet operation; rocking and floating action, which helps to minimize damage to plants; and the machine can easily be converted to a root pruner with the appropriate adjustments.

Image Courtesy Of iStock | Dutchman

Straight blade truck spade from Dutchman

All Dutchman’s spades have a high strength, low profile frame, making it easy to back under low-branched trees. Manufactured from AR 400 steel, they’re set on a 25-degree angle for optimum depthto- width ratio when digging. The blades on a Truck Mount are coned up to ensure minimal soil loss. The spades come with either manual valves or electronic controls; secondary controls may be mounted inside the cab.

Image Courtesy Of iStock | Dutchman

Options include:

  • Roof rack: round, tubular skirting on the perimeter allows the operator to tie down branches. The body is contoured around air horns, keeping the front rack low.
  • Wobble tail: allows the operator to shift the entire digging head side to side; an extension allows the unit to be extended up to 10 inches away from the back of the truck so that the operator can manipulate the space, maintaining truck stability.
  • Dirt cover: helps to limit the loss of soil during transport. Two fabricated metal plates with a horseshoe cutout help to center and secure the tree trunk.

Bouldin & Lawson InstaPotter™ Pro system

Image Courtesy Of iStock | Bouldin & Lawson

Potting help from Bouldin & Lawson

Taking the stress and strain out of potting bare root material, the InstaPotter™ Pro from Bouldin & Lawson handles containers from 4-inch-diameter to 18-inch-diameter on an 18-inch-wide conveyor.

Bouldin & Lawson EP Pot Dispenser

The low-profile hopper has a 2-yard capacity, providing a consistent flow of material over the variable-speed conveyor, which allows the operator to control the pace of filling and production. To reduce waste, an automatic soil return system recovers unused soil to the hopper.

Up to 2,750 1-gallon pots can be filled in an hour.

Options include:

  • Bulk feeding system
  • Infeed for take-off conveyors
  • 4-yard hopper
  • 24-inch-wide planting conveyor
  • Conveyor vibrator

Bouldin & Lawson EP Pot Dispenser

Also from Bouldin & Lawson, the EP Pot Dispenser can dispense 6-inch to 12-inch pots and is easy to set up and adjust. The in-feed conveyor can be preloaded with several stacks of pots; each pot is picked up and stripped by helical rollers that feed directly to the potting machine. Quick and easy size adjustment is accomplished by turning the wheel that adjusts the rollers to match the pot diameter size.