Skid Steer Tree Spades: All About BIG JOHN’s Models

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to the high volume needs of a tree nursery. As a tree nursery owner, you’ve probably seen a number of different solutions to digging trees, from inefficient hand digging to skid steer tree spade attachments that aren’t robust enough for the job.

Times are changing thanks to the BIG JOHN skid steer tree spade lineup. Since the launch of our small tree spades a few years ago, we’ve been making a consistent stream of improvements to make our spades more efficient, fast, and durable.

It’s amazing how much quality machinery can impact a business’s productivity and revenue over a lifetime. Whether it’s for easy convenience or for your entire operation, the BIG JOHN skid steer tree spade  line up has a wide variety of tree spades that are made to tackle all of your high volume jobs. 

We took the durability or longevity of our truck mounted tree spades and put it into a smaller, compact package. We designed our skid steer tree spade attachments to dig in prepared ground and to fit a wide range of skid steer loaders.

As the leading tree spade manufacturer  in the United States, we are known to deliver quality and cost effective machinery.

Taking the Best Tree Spade Features To a Smaller Package

It’s no secret that skid steer tree spade machines are considered a “jack-of-all-trades” when it comes to landscaping and nursery digging. The versatility of the skid steer tree spades are what take them to the next level but they have to be equipped to handle the high-speed pace of a volume tree nursery. 

One thing we’ve learned over the years of making tree spades is everyone works in their own style. Customization is essential to getting the job done as quickly and easily as possible. So our spades aren’t one-size-fits-all pieces of equipment. We can add a range of customizations that help getting business done easier. 

Multiple Sizes

Every nursery tends to love one skid steer spade size over another because of the unique needs of their soil conditions and row planting plans. We offer our skid steer attachments in various sizes, give us a call and we will help you find the right solution for your needs.

Blade Type and Number

Our nursery tree spade models are designed for prepared soil but the blade angle, depth, and number can have a big impact on profitability and portability of the root ball. 

Our nursery tree spades come in pointed, semi-truncated, and truncated with 30°, 25°, and 22° blade angles, respectively.  

Wireless Remotes

High volume tree nurseries need everything at their disposal to transplant trees as quickly as possible and wireless remotes are one of the easiest tools to use to make tree moving faster. 

The best part? At BIG JOHN our remote controls are standard equipment, we believe these are so essential to the success of your tree farm that we’ve made them as affordable as possible. We also made the remotes as intuitive as possible to make it easy for anyone to operate a nursery tree spade.

Extra Hydraulic Bays for Accessories

Bigger needs call for even more versatility so we added an extra hydraulic bay to our tree spades for accessories. It all started because a customer needed to move bigger, heavier trees but was having trouble with standard skid steer tree spade. We designed our tree spades to give the flexibility to add on skid steer stabilizers for tougher digs. You can also use the bays for any other accessories you might want to add into your tree moving mix.

Adjustable Leveling Pads

Sometimes you just need to dig a little bit more shallow and that’s where adjustable leveling pads come in. You can easily adjust the leveling pads to short dig with your skid steer tree spade and make a smaller root ball, giving you the versatility of a smaller skid steer spade size.

Heavy Duty Gate Hinges, Durable Slide Blocks & Cold Formed Blades

Above all else, BIG JOHN is known for our durability and long-lasting quality of our spades. Some of our customers are still using the same spade they bought over 40 years ago! We wanted to bring that same durability to our smaller tree spades so we used the same ideas and build quality. This includes heavy duty gate hinges, slide blocks made to last thousands of digs, and cold formed blades for long lasting digging power. 

Adjustable Valve Body Speed

One of the less commonly adjusted features of our spades is adjustable valve body speed. Experienced operators can adjust the speed to move trees faster than the standard speed or to slow it down for new operators getting their feet wet.

The BIG JOHN quick attach tree spade is versatile for almost any job. We have designed our spades with a lot of thought and attention to detail to make our spades the best on the market. Did we mention that we’re often able to get our spades into customers’ hands for cheaper than the competitors, shipping included?

Perfect for Landscaping Jobs

You might find it a bit intimidating when figuring out how fit a skid steer tree spade into your work but they’re surprisingly easy to use. 

Their simple, compact design allows them to be taken almost anywhere with a simple trailer setup for your skid steer and attachment. The machines are light and can be transported from your nursery to your customer’s backyard with ease and are perfect for closely planted trees in a nursery setting.

Our skid steer tree spades are perfect addition for tree farms and landscapers to help get trees out of the ground and headed to the customers.

Affordability is Important 

If you’re comparing spade options, you might be tempted to get a lighter, less robust tree spade attachment. But for high volume needs, be careful—what you pay for is what you get. Our tree spades are made for higher volume and more robust digging needs than lower cost options and are ideal for someone looking to move trees regularly.

Despite that our spades are a mid-range price point, they come with the durability and longevity of a more expensive model. Investing in a small tree transplanters, will help in a nursery or if needed in a growing landscape business to speed up a tree project.

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.  

“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 Minds.com, 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.

BIG JOHN Had a Baby

For years, BIG JOHN users have asked for a lighter weight nursery digger designed to dig in prepared soil. BIG JOHN tree spades are known to tree movers around the world as heavy duty and capable of moving trees in tough soil conditions. BIG JOHN’s blade style and curvature is preferred by many tree movers because of the dual contour and digging capabilities.

Traditional BIG JOHN tree spades are here to stay and we will continue to meet the needs of tree movers that rely on their BIG JOHN tree spade to dig in tough soil conditions. As the BIG JOHN family keeps growing we look forward to offering more customized options to meet customer needs. We are proud to announce the first BIG JOHN nursery digger Model 44. The Model 44 is lightweight, hosts straight blades and is designed to dig in nursery soil conditions.

The Model 44 is also very affordable. Call Stephen at (800) 643–8039 to get more information and to see if a BIG JOHN is a good fit for your business.

Get Your Tree Spade Moving

Large tree transplanting has been slow, but is picking up! Check out these tips from a 27 year veteran tree mover that is making the most out of the current economic environment!

Did large tree transplanting tank for your business in 08-09? Are you looking for ways to increase your bottom line? Shine up your big tree spades and get moving with the following tips:

  • Hire someone with wholesale nursery knowledge to target business for your tree spades
  • Know your market and competition and make the most out of your area
  • Target arboretum cemeteries-they might need trees relocated as they grow and their trees are a very important part of their business
  • Target zip codes that can afford large trees- send a before and after picture postcard of a beautiful large tree you transplanted in the neighborhood you are targeting
  • Get to know upper end community maintenance supervisors and find out their needs
  • Visit private and government street maintenance facilities and let them know the services you offer
  • Seek out on-site digs instead of just focusing on new tree installations–a lot can come from these easy tree transplants
  • Who are your park officials? Do they know what your tree spade can offer their operations?
  • Get to know residential & commercial landscape architects in your area
  • Who is in charge of road projects in your area? Do they know you can relocate large trees on their current and future road projects?
  • Tap into the custom digging market-Use your BIG JOHN 90D to custom dig bag & burlap & transport to large metro areas
  • Get to know local nurseries that are cutting down or knocking over large trees they don’t have equipment to move, offer to dig & deliver those large trees to their clients and see if you can offer their trees to your clients.
  • There is as much money and less risk in moving trees with a spade