Meet Our 3 Point Hitch Tree Spade

If you’re looking for a tree moving machine that can help you get the job done while attaching easily to your tractor, meet the BIG JOHN three point hitch tree spade. Our tractor tree spade is perfect for digging in prepared soil and tree nurseries. 

Tractor owners will enjoy the ability to turn your equipment into a tree moving machine. Our tractor tree spades are made to easily attach to the front or the back of most tractors using an easy 3-point hitch attachment. The design of the BIG JOHN three point hitch is made with the same features of our skid steer spades and the loader mounted spades, so you get the same durability and quality as other BIG JOHN tree spades. 

The BIG JOHN 3 point hitch tree spade features heavy duty machinery in a smaller package. They are great for spacing out trees and digging for various sizes and diameters and allow you to easily maneuver in small spaces. The tractor tree spade attachments include: 

  • Wireless remote control
  • Stabilizing pads
  • Heavy duty gate hinges
  • Heavy duty blade edges
  • Durable slide blocks

If you are looking to easily mount a tree spade to your tractor, the three point hitch offers the same quality as our large spades in a smaller size, making it easier for you to plant and position the trees where you want them. The three-point hitch tractor tree spades are made to fit your unique needs and are ready to take anywhere. 

BIG JOHN Manufacturing has been building durable tree spades decades and we are always working to make the best tree moving machines for our BIG JOHN family. We have a wide variety of spades for transplanting trees for a range of equipment needs. If you’re a nursery owner or landscaper and are looking to add a 3 point hitch to your tractor, BIG JOHN can help you get the job done. Call us today to learn about our three point hitch tractor spades and how you can move more trees with a BIG JOHN spade.

Skid Steer Tree Spade Maintenance

Gearing up for tree transplanting season? Before you hit the ground running to move as many trees as you can during the busy season, there’s one important thing BIG JOHN owners need to do: annual maintenance checks! And small tree spades are no stranger to routine maintenance schedules.

If you’re a small tree spade owner, you know how important it is to keep your spades running smoothly to get the most out of your machine. Maintenance checks not only help prolong the life of your mini skid steer tree spade, but it can help save you money too. 

We teach our BIG JOHN family how to properly check their tree spades and give it the maintenance it needs to keep getting the job done! We advise doing visual checks each time you move a tree but giving your rig a close once over annually can help your spade stay in great shape longer. 


If you’ve read through the BIG JOHN skid steer tree spade manual, you’ll remember that we advise cleaning and lubing your spade with a light chain lube. Your quick attach tree spade is working hard, so make sure you’ve cleaned off dirt, sand, or debris after every move and lubricate blade towers and grease all bushings and pivot shafts. 

At BIG JOHN we believe that keeping your tools cleaned and oiled makes them last longer! If you’ve skimped on cleaning & lubing your spade, it’s better late than never. 


Check your hydraulic lines for regular wear and tear from moving trees. Hydraulic lines can wear overtime because of rubbing or when rubber coatings dry out. We recommend checking your lines every hookup but giving them a close once-over annually is a necessity.

Replacing your hydraulic lines should be done every couple of years to prevent leaks and damage to your skid steer spade. We’ve designed our spades to make replacing lines easier than our competitors so you can take care of your spade with less work. 


Check for proper adjustment and bushing wear. Do you need new slides or rolls? We also recommend checking annually to get a good visual of everything. Slides are designed to last through thousands of digs but may need to be replaced in very high volume nurseries. It’s an easy maintenance fix to keep your skid steer running for a long time!

Use Your Skid Steer Spade Manual 

When you purchase a BIG JOHN skid steer tree spade, we provide you with a manual that helps you walk through all the lubrication and cleaning checks. We recommend using a high pressure water or detergent based cleaning solution on your machine regularly too. 

Our spades are durable and built to last. We pride ourselves on providing our BIG JOHN family with quality spades that have lasted some customers decades. One way we do that is providing customers with instructions on how to properly clean and care for your spade after each use so it can keep getting the job done.

If you don’t have a manual, give us a call and we can send one your way.

Need Skid Steer Spade Maintenance Help? Give Us a Call!

If you find that your spade needs a little more TLC than anticipated, you can always bring it in for maintenance and assistance. In most cases, we can help you troubleshoot over the phone to solve maintenance issues and guide you through how to get the most out of your skid steer spade attachment

As part of the BIG JOHN family, we’re always here to help. If you’ve done your checks and need parts, aren’t sure if what you’re looking at is okay or needs some work, or just have questions about your spade, give us a call!

Skid Steer Tree Spades Improve Survivability for Small Trees

If you’re a nursery owner then you’re probably worried about moving and transplanting trees and what that means for tree survivability—and the effects on your bottom line. At BIG JOHN, we offer skid steer tree spades that take care of your trees in the transplanting process to improve survivability and decrease your tree losses. 

BIG JOHN has been a leader in the tree spade industry for over 40 years and we help our clients move their trees with ease and care. It’s no secret that we paved the way for nursery owners and better productivity with innovative tree spade designs since our beginnings. 

We take the same durability and ease of operation our larger spades are known for and put it into a smaller design to suit your nursery needs. All of our designs are made to be adaptable and ready to dig in prepared soil to increase the survivability of your trees while being transplanted

Transplanting Small Trees with BIG JOHN Spade Attachments

If you are moving young trees, you need to consider their age, their root systems, and their ability to grow after being transplanted. Most trees take one year per inch in diameter of the tree trunk to fully recover after transplanting. After being uprooted and moved, trees could take much longer to recover if not properly transplanted with the right spade. 

But with the properly sized skid steer spade attachment, you can improve tree survivability and help your trees grow more quickly after transplanting. By moving a larger root ball with a skid steer spade, your trees are more likely to thrive—which increases your bottom line. 

We offer a number of blade configurations to give our customers the versatility they need from a skid steer to get the right sized root ball.

Skid Steer Designs to Fit Your Needs

When it comes to digging smaller trees, we know that there may be a need for special conditions or requirements to move them smoothly. Smaller spades allow you to dig easily, quickly, and carefully. 

At BIG JOHN, our skid steer tree spades are not a one-size-fits-all machine. Our tree spades come in a variety of sizes to accommodate unique needs such as soil conditions and row planting plans. 

We are able to add custom tree spades attachment to make it easier for you to operate while maintaining the life and quality of the trees at the same time. Our attachments and features include: 

  • Wireless Remotes
  • Extra Hydraulic Bays for Accessories
  • Adjustable Leveling Pads
  • Heavy Duty Gate Hinges
  • Durable Slide Blocks
  • Cold Formed Blades
  • Adjustable Valve Body Speed

BIG JOHN skid steer tree spades are not only adjustable and affordable but our heavy duty hinges are made to outlast other spade companies. Depending on the type of soil conditions your nursery is in, our nursery tree spades come in pointed, semi-truncated, and truncated with 30°, 25°, and 22° blade angles. 

Our skid steer tree spades are designed to easily maneuver through narrow planting rows so you don’t damage any surrounding trees or soil. You are able to dig new holes, uproot, and transplant trees all with one machine thanks to our skid steer tree spade design. 

Save Your Bottom Dollar

Affordability is important when you’re considering purchasing tree spades to help you get the job done around the nursery. The bottom line is—you pay for what you get. If you’re looking at a cheaper spade, you’re probably going to get less than half the quality of a more robust one and may damage your trees in the process. 

Our skid steer spades are designed to handle high volume jobs with the same type of quality and durability as our bigger spades. We’ve designed our spades to improve the size and shape of the root ball to increase tree survivability in a variety of conditions. 

You can also get everything you’re looking for for a better price. Some of our BIG JOHN family members have been owning and operating the same tree spade for over 40 years. You don’t have to replace parts or repair the machine as often as you would with a less durable one and can often dig thousands of more trees than cheap alternatives.

Speed up your nursery projects and take care of your trees at the same time with our BIG JOHN skid steer spades. You will get the most out of your projects while maintaining affordability. 

Give us a call to find out what tree spade best suits your needs. We’re happy to share our knowledge of tree spades to help your tree moving experience.  

Which Skid Steer Tree Spade Blade Configuration is Right for You?

If you’re a nursery owner, you probably have spent plenty of time figuring out what transplanting methods work best for you. Different skid steer attachment blade configurations can help you get the job done. If you are in the market for a BIG JOHN Tree Spade, we offer different tree digger options to fit your unique needs. 

Not sure which skid steer tree spade blade configuration is right for your needs? We’re here to help with more information about how to choose the right skid steer tree spade blades for your needs.

The Right Skid Steer Blade Configuration to Get the Job Done

If you’re in the business of tree transplanting or moving, you know that each job is unique and may require a variety of different equipment. We offer three different blade options to accommodate tree moving methods and soil conditions to give our customers the durability and versatility they need.

Pointed Blades

Our pointed blades are an “all purpose spade” for all types of soils.  These durable cold formed blades shear tap roots and work excellent in very sandy soils. They come at a 30 degree angle, which makes the bottom of them more narrow, minimizing the amount of soil that is lost when transplanting trees. 

Truncated Blades

Our 22 degree cold formed truncated blades are designed for use in prepared nursery ground.  They perform well in harder clay type soils. These blades have a wider bottom base. They produce a beautiful pot-shaped ball and make it easier to basket & burlap a tree.

Semi-Truncated Blades

If you are looking for a heavy duty compact machine, our BIG JOHN semi-truncated blades might be the right fit for you. Our semi-truncated blades come at a 25 degree angle on the tower and blades alike. Semi-Truncated blades are designed for nursery digging and easy transfer to flat bottom baskets. 

Our Blade Options for Skid Steer Tree Spade Attachments

BIG JOHN has been in the tree spade industry for over 40 years and we have consistently updated and improved our tree spade quality for our customers. Our skid steer tree spades offer the same kind of durability and reliability as our big spades we’re best known for. However, our high quality skid steer spades are adaptable and ready to dig in any prepared soil. 

We offer several customization options to fit your tree nursery needs. Our tree spade customizations and attachments for skid steers include: 

  • Size
  • Number
  • Shape
  • Position of blades
  • Hydraulic stabilizers
  • Adjustable leveling pads. 

Our skid steer tree spades come in 28, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 48, 50, 52, 54, 58 and 60 inches and can be customized to attach to small wheel loaders and telehandlers. Our 3 point tractor mounted blade options come in pointed, truncated & semi truncated. 

Regardless of what your needs may be, anyone can operate a BIG JOHN tree spade with ease. 

Need help figuring out which tree spade is right for you? Our BIG JOHN team can help! Contact us today to talk to one of our reps that can help explain options and what may suit your needs best.

“Seed Bombing” Initiative Plants 900,000 Trees Daily

Reforestation efforts around the world could get a massive boost thanks to an innovative idea that repurposes old planes. A billion trees could be planted every year thanks to aerial reforestation initiatives. The practice of dropping seeds from planes is not new, but it has been growing in popularity and has earned the nickname “seed bombing.”

Seed bombing is extremely efficient because there is no need for people to be on the ground carrying out the process of seeding manually with a shovel. Conventional reforestation methods are very labor-intensive and slow. Only a few hundred saplings can be planted per day by the most experienced laborers.

One proposal that is being considered entails retrofitting unused C-130 cargo planes to drop the seeds as they fly over land. According to estimates by Lockheed Martin and Aerial Reforestation Inc., as many as 1 billion trees could be planted every year.

“The possibilities are amazing…”

Lockheed’s Peter Simmons said: “We can fly at 1,000 ft. at 130 knots planting more than 3,000 cones a minute in a pattern across the landscape — just as we did with landmines, but in this case each cone contains a sapling. That’s 125,000 trees for each sortie and 900,000 trees in a day.”

The seeds being dropped are contained within pointed cones that can bury themselves into the soil at a depth that is akin to that used for manual planting. The casing of the cone then dissolves over time, releasing the seeds into the soil. The cones also contain fertilizer and a substance that can soak up surrounding moisture to help ensure that the tree will take root.

It can be used in places that used to contain trees as well as deserts under certain circumstances. The process could make great inroads in balancing out the effects of forestation, quite possibly replacing the trees that are cut down each year hundreds of times over.

Some trees can grow by as much as three feet each year after hitting their standing height of five feet, and many of them reach maturity in less than a decade. This could help restore forest ecosystems that have been damaged by deforestation.

A War Against Deforestation

According to a Discovery Project Earth video posted on, 20,000 square miles of forest are lost every year. It would be necessary to replant an area that is twice the size of Manhattan every day to replace the world’s disappearing forests.

There are many reasons that deforestation is a big concern for every human being on Earth. Besides its effects on biodiversity and climate change, there is the fact that rainforests harbor an amazing variety of plants that contain healing properties, many of which have yet to be explored.

Deforestation can also contribute to the spread of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and Lyme disease. The destruction of the Brazilian rainforest by deforestation has been blamed for the spread of diseases such as the Zika virus.

The Journal of Global Health
reports: “There is a well-documented, positive association between the increased deforestation of an area and the emergence of zoonotic, vector-borne diseases.”

While there are still some logistical hurdles to overcome, seed bombing appears to be a good option for slowing and possibly even reversing the effects of deforestation.

The Curious Healing Power of Trees

In 1984, Roger Ulrich (who is now considered the most cited and influential evidence-based healthcare design researcher in the world) noticed a pattern in patients who were recovering from gallbladder surgery: the patients who had rooms that looked out onto a patch of trees close to the hospital were being released from the hospital a day sooner, on average than others who had identical rooms, but whose windows faced a wall.

Do trees help people heal?

That is the question that a study in the journal Scientific Reports seeks to solve. The study, led by University of Chicago psychology professor Marc Berman, compares two large block-by-block data sets from the city of Toronto, Canada; the first data set measures the distribution of green space (as determined by satellite imagery and a comprehensive list of all 530,000 trees planted on public land, and the second data set measures health from detailed surveys of 94,000 respondents. After crunching the numbers, Berman and his group showed that for every ten trees on any given block, the nearby residents felt 1% healthier. Berman mentioned of the results, “To get an equivalent increase with money, you’d have to give each household in that neighborhood ten thousand dollars — or make people seven years younger.”

The most interesting point taken from the data is more subtle. These health benefits come almost entirely from trees planted along streets and in front yards, where people walk past them. Trees in back yards and parks didn’t seems to affect the analysis as much. It could be that trees along roads have a larger impact on air quality, or that avenues with trees encourage people to walk more. But Berman considers another possibility that is much like Ulrich’s window discovery…

Maybe it’s enough just to look at trees.

A decade prior, Berman led a study that sent volunteers on a 50-minute walk through either an arboretum or city streets, then gave them a memory and attention assessments. The volunteers who took the nature walk performed around 20% better than those who didn’t. They were also in a better mood, even if that didn’t affect their scores. “What we’re finding is that you don’t have to like the interaction with nature to get the benefits,” Berman said. Some of these walks took place in June, and others in January; most people didn’t particularly enjoy trudging through the cold Michigan winter, but their scores were just as high as in the summer trials. Volunteers who were somehow distracted or out of focus seemed to gain the biggest benefits. An end-of-workday nature walk packs a greater  punch than a similar walk first thing in the morning, and the boost is five times bigger in people who have been diagnosed with depression.

Ulrich’s work has already “directly impacted the design of many billions of dollars of hospital construction,” according to one health-care trade publication. One possibility may be that we rebuild our cities and move toward more colorful streetscapes and building with more organic patterns that simulate the ones we see in nature. Berman’s goal is a little less artistic: we wants people to plant more trees. The results of his experiment reveal a clear and consistent message. A walk in the woods is better than a picture of a tree, which is better than an abstract image, no matter how soothing. Something within us responds to nature. If someone offers you ten thousand dollars or ten trees, take the trees.

Transplanting vs Growing

Trees are an extremely important part of the human experience. While we may overlook them, the benefits of being around trees and having them around us are numerous. This is why we at BIG JOHN do what we do, at our core: we want to help people share in the benefits of trees.

But why should you want to transplant a tree instead of growing one yourself? We know that practically any tree of any species can be successfully transplanted. We can’t talk about the benefits of transplanting without talking about the benefits of trees, in general.

Trees make life better.

They reduce stress, help us recover from injury faster, help us remember more information, and can be used as living memorials and landmarks. They look great in landscaping and can make a house more comfortable and memorable. Every kid has a memory of climbing or playing in a tree. Your neighbors can benefit, too.

They help your community.

Tree-lined streets can help with traffic, since traffic on streets with trees tend to move slower and safer. They reduce noise from cars, can obscure views of busy streets, and make landscapes more aesthetically pleasing. There’s less graffiti, vandalism, and littering in outdoor spaces with trees as a part of the natural landscape, too. Landscaped yards look better.

They’re important to the environment.

We all know that trees give off oxygen. They also reduce the urban heat of things like dark, hot parking lots and buildings, improve air quality by filtering things out of the air such as carbon monoxide and sulfur (even indoors), reduce stormwater runoff, and reduce erosion and pollution in waterways, all while providing food, protection, and homes for many birds and mammals. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorb the amount of CO2 produced by a car driven 26,000 miles.

They help save you money.

They can reduce cooling costs for your home, act as windbreaks (with evergreens), and increase your property value. Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a community tree yields benefits that are two to five times that investment. You can’t get these benefits from young trees, though.

Why wait? Get the benefits now.

The benefits are obvious and thanks to BIG JOHN tree transplanters you can reap these benefits now instead of waiting for the trees to grow. Since practically any tree and be transplanted (even from one end of your yard to the other), you can customize your landscape however you want.

Shade your house, save some money, improve your community, and have a better looking yard with help from BIG JOHN.

Tree Tyer Demonstration

Take a look at one of newest pieces of equipment — the Tree Tyer. It binds branches on large and small trees, which allows for easy transporting and minimizes the damage from moving. It has a 60-inch inside diameter, a quick-in-quick-out downsizing ring, and a wide, 20-inch gate opening for easy trunk access. And, of course, the top-of-the-line quality and the ruggedness you come to expect from BIG JOHN.

If you think you could use a piece of equipment like this, contact us today!

Nursery Digger Model 44

We designed our nursery diggers for prepared ground nursery digging and they fit a myriad of skid steer loaders. They’re lightweight with AR400 cold formed, straight blades, and can move trees from 1” to 5” in diameter. All of our nursery diggers come with an electric valve bank and handheld wireless remote control system. They’re designed for ease of maintenance with easily changeable parts.

We offer several customization options for our units. We can change the size, number, shape, or position of blades, add hydraulic stabilizers, and attach adjustable leveling pads. Contact us for more information about custom units.

Tree Transplant After Care

Need an information pamphlet to give to customers after a tree transplant or large tree installation that would give them information on follow up care of the tree? Do you have such information already? Items such as: watering – how much, how often; Staking – when to remove wire or web strap; fertilization- how soon, what type, how much?  Share your questions and suggestions here with other professionals including your location since environments vary.