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View Full Version : What is best shovel for bare root seedlings


BC Buck
02-23-2013, 10:16 AM
I bought a shovel from Home Depo that was about 4"x about 16" long with a straight handle. Worked well till I folded it over trying to open the hole wide enough to stick the roots in. I decided to buy a high quality shovel out of one of the forestry catalogs but was overwhelmed by all the different models. My soil is rock free and I'm planting small seedling from MDC.

2ndHand
02-23-2013, 10:28 AM
I bought a shovel from Home Depo that was about 4"x about 16" long with a straight handle. Worked well till I folded it over trying to open the hole wide enough to stick the roots in. I decided to buy a high quality shovel out of one of the forestry catalogs but was overwhelmed by all the different models. My soil is rock free and I'm planting small seedling from MDC.

For the bare-root stock I have planted, I bought a HD shovel from Menards that had an extra wide platform for your foot - about $26. Works well - my soil is more sandy in sections so I dig a bigger hole to add black dirt and peat.

From my reading on this forum a popular tool is the dibble bar - here's a link: Happy planting:cool:

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=15921&title=JIM%2DGEM%AE+OST+%28Dibble%29+Bar%3CBR%3E

mroldstyle
02-23-2013, 10:34 AM
For the bare-root stock I have planted, I bought a HD shovel from Menards that had an extra wide platform for your foot - about $26. Works well - my soil is more sandy in sections so I dig a bigger hole to add black dirt and peat.

From my reading on this forum a popular tool is the dibble bar - here's a link: Happy planting:cool:

http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=15921&title=JIM%2DGEM%AE+OST+%28Dibble%29+Bar%3CBR%3E

^^^^^
Thats what you want!

smsmith
02-23-2013, 10:57 AM
Nothing will equal the speed of a dibble bar for planting small seedlings. The issue with a dibble is when you start getting into larger seedlings....I have used a dibble to make a double or triple wide hole for larger seedlings. However, by the time you do that you are likely better served to use a high quality shovel to properly plant those seedlings.

Those of us who are taller than average like a shovel like this:
http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=16031&title=Forestry+Suppliers+Long+Handle+Planting+Shov el

If you're under 6' then a shovel like this may be favored:
http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/View_Catalog_Page.asp?mi=68291&title=King+of+Spades+Balling+Spade

brushpile
02-23-2013, 12:12 PM
Since you're in a drought area, your seedlings need to be properly planted, with the roots deep inside a planting hole. Nothing planted with a dibble bar will survive drought!

I've planted 2000 seedlings a year in three years of drought with this shovel.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=tile+spade+shovel&id=286150100E9E6E7153E2A58842398202176982F6&FORM=IQFRBA#view=detail&id=286150100E9E6E7153E2888DED2C4BFD156645CE&selectedIndex=14

Spiider
02-23-2013, 02:04 PM
I've got a dibble bar as well and they are so very handy! Well worth it...

Tooln
02-23-2013, 02:17 PM
I'd have to say a dibble bar. Last year I planted 700+ 3 year old white pine. This year it will be 1800 Norway Spruce. A lot of it is personal preference.

brushpile
02-23-2013, 07:07 PM
It's a gamble. You could use a dibble bar and pray for rain, or you could properly plant with a shovel. About the only thing the MDC sells that can be planted with a dibble bar are pines. I dig 18 inch planting holes and that's not deep enough for Ninebark and many others.

If they made giant dibble bars, would you plant apples and pears with it? No you wouldn't! Dibble bars are great for small rooted seedlings thought... I guess.

Geo
02-23-2013, 08:31 PM
A 15" all metal spade, it's a $60 shovel but you only need to buy one in your life time.

40690

G

new forest
02-23-2013, 09:52 PM
that one just posted is from a line called "The King of Spades" - this includes a few variations of the pictured spade, as well as regular shovels.

It is a lot lighter weight than it looks.

I believe they come with a five year warranty. It took me 7 years of heavy use to ever break one. A few years of flexing the blade in heavy soils will eventually start a crack. It takes a few more years before the crack grows enough to break the blade.

It opens an outstanding slot in the ground.

They run about $90 these days.

It is definitely my #1 pick for best shovel for bare root seedlings.

I don't always use it though, just with some planting stock, and some soils.


Survival of bare-root seedlings depends on many, many factors. A regular planting bar can get you good survival in a drought year if you take care of all the little details.

Regardless of planting tool, the very best thing you can do for bare-roots going into dry soils is to get a heavy amount of planting gel into the ground with the root system.

brushpile
02-23-2013, 10:22 PM
I haven't tried root gell, I just plant roots down deep. Shallow planting with root gell vs deep planting without root gell...dunno. With deep planting I haven't need amendments.

With a dibble bar I'd use lots or gell, and hope that makes up for being jammed in the ground. Not being difficult, just doing it right so plants have the best chance of survival and optimum growth. The easy way is usually not the best way.

smsmith
02-23-2013, 10:26 PM
I haven't tried root gell, I just plant roots down deep. Shallow planting with root gell vs deep planting without root gell...dunno. With deep planting I haven't need amendments.

With a dibble bar I'd use lots or gell, and hope that makes up for being jammed in the ground. Not being difficult, just doing it right so plants have the best chance of survival and optimum growth. The easy way is usually not the best way.

Start using the gel brush....seriously. With all the watering you've done for years, the gel could really reduce your hours (and gallons).

brushpile
02-23-2013, 10:56 PM
Aye aye Stu, but with no rain? I'll try it though, any recommendations on where to get it? It's one more tool to beat the drought!

smsmith
02-23-2013, 11:01 PM
Aye aye Stu, but with no rain? I'll try it though, any recommendations on where to get it? It's one more tool to beat the drought!

I've used a few brands, this is the last one I ordered
http://www.water-keep.com/shop/
I bought 10 lbs so I don't have to order every year. Before that stuff I was using another brand with similar results. It isn't a "cure all", but the stuff does work. It will absorb any moisture that's available. I'd guess that you could go from watering every day to every third day (or every two days to every five....etc.)

roleksy
02-24-2013, 10:22 AM
A 15" all metal spade, it's a $60 shovel but you only need to buy one in your life time.

40690

G

Gotta, agree. Bought one right out of college (20+) years ago, and can't hurt it.