The HISTORY of our radically improved all terrain patented
When I started planting trees in the 1980's, the majority of
seedlings were pine. The planters available at that time, although okay
for pine were far from perfect. In the early 1990's we began planting a
larger percentage of hardwoods. The requirements for planting hardwoods
are much more stringent than for pine. In lieu of the more stringent
requirements, unless the soil conditions were perfect, it became
impossible for us to plant hardwoods with the mechanical equipment
available at that time. Hardwood seedlings have to be planted in a deep
furrow (up to 20"). Pine seedlings require a shallower furrow of about
8". For hardwood seedlings, Forestry personnel require the land to be
ripped to a depth of 18" to 20", prior to seedling placement.
After several years of attempting to use other treeplanters, it became
painfully aware to us that we were spending more time working on the
planter, than actually operating it. Various and sundry problems, such
as cleaning mud, replacing opener shoes, closing wheel bearings, etc
were the reasons for this. We tried rebuilding, retrofitting and
modifying the planters we had at that time, all to no avail. Something
different had to be done!
When ripping and planting with two separate passes, in too many
instances the rip is not on the correct spacing. When this happens,
either the seedling is not placed in the rip or the seedling spacing is
off. We needed a machine that could rip the soil to the specifications
of Forestry personnel specifications and plant seedlings in that rip
with one pass with the same machine. This is the only way to assure
exact placement and spacing of the seedlings directly into the ripped
furrow. Although more horsepower and fuel are required, it is still
more efficient than running two separate operations. By operating more
efficiently we are able to pass some of this saving on to our clients,
whether they are large timber companies or small family farms.
As you well know, "inventions' mother is named necessity". So the
decision was made to build one from below the ground up, a complete and
radically different design from other treeplanters on the market. All
initial soil contact and ripping is done with a rolling effect. This
was accomplished using two coulters diagonally opposed with
approximately 3 degrees caster and approximately 1 degree camber in
order to reduce friction between soil and soil opener and not leave a
balk in the furrow where the seedling is placed. The soil had to be
ripped and fractured with a rolling motion, rather than sliding and
dragging, thus avoiding plugging of the furrow opener and furrow.
Cleaning wipers had to be installed in such a manner as to wipe the
rolling coulter blades, yet not get in the way of the planter operator,
seedlings or any wise interfere with the operation of the planter.
The revolving 36” diameter, closing-discs are scalloped in order to
facilitate rotation and are cone shaped and radically opposed so as to
gather soil to pack around the seedlings in order to leave a firm
seedling in the ground and assure that no air pockets are left around
the seedling roots. The design of the closing wheels is such that the
furrow is closed from the bottom of the seedling up. Most treeplanter
closing wheels pack the soil from the top side, thus enhancing the
probability of having air pockets around the seedling roots. A soil and
mud dispersing wiper made of 1/8” thick by 1” formed carbon steel is
affixed to the horizontal axle and formed around the conical edges of
With this planter we rip and fracture the ground to a depth of 20"
prior to planting the seedlings. After fracturing the soil to a 4"
width by 20" deep, we plant the seedling in the furrow then tightly
pack the roots in order to get rid of air pockets around the roots. The
design of most commercially available planters is such that the soil
moisture content and ground preparation has to be ideal to get good
survival on the seedlings. The design of this patent is such that it
will plant as well in wet sticky mud as most other planters will in
good conditions. We developed a planter that will plant in wet sharkey
clay mud, heavy marsh grass, and in dry sand. This planter is designed
to be adapted for towing behind any wheel or crawler tractor. If a
tractor can go over the soil, we can plant it.
Over two years were spent attempting to obtain a patent for this
seedling planter. With the new patent laws, it is much harder to obtain
a patent than it has been in years past. It has been frustrating
dealing with government officials, corresponding back and forth and so
on, to say the least.
On January 17, 2008, I received notice from the USPTO that we had been
granted Patent No. 7,322,302.