Revegetation Equipment Catalog

All-terrain Vehicles
Global Positioning Systems
Controlling Plants Mechanically
Controlling Plants Chemically
Controlling Plants by Fire
Site Preparation
Fertilizing & Mulching
Specialized Planters
Seed Harvesting
Seed Processing
Transport Trailers
Contact Us



Specialized Planters

Specialized planters include a potpourri of devices for specific revegetation situations.  Transplanters, tree spades, spriggers, and hand tools are used where establishment is critical and planting involves placing growing plants into the soil.  Transplanting circumvents problems associated with germination and emergence in field planting of seed.  These devices are available commercially.  Several special planters developed by the Forest Service’s Missoula Technology and Development Center are also listed.

                     Transplanters                          Forest Service Planters
                     Tree Spades                                Steep-Slope Scarifier Seeder
                     Spriggers                                     Dryland Sodder
                     Hand-Planting Tools                    Dryland Tubling Planter

Transplanters                                                                                            Top of Page


Transplanters are used to plant container-grown tree and shrub seedlings and bareroot nursery stock.  The transplanters consist of a coulter, furrow opener, pair of presswheels, seat for an operator, and a place to store the seedlings.  Some transplanters are highly mechanized and place the seedling into the furrow automatically.  Optional equipment includes a tank to supply a stream of water in the furrow to insure adequate moisture for seedling survival.  The two presswheels are angled inward to pinch the soil around the seedling’s roots and to completely close the furrow.  Transplanters are either towed or attached to the tractor’s 3-point hitch.  They use various devices to insure uniform seedling spacing or random spacing.  Transplanters are basically simple machines and relatively trouble free.


Transplanting is used where stand establishment is critical and quick growth is desired.  Transplanting plants grown in a greenhouse overcomes many of the problems of germination, emergence, and plant establishment when planting seed, but it is more expensive.  A well-prepared seedbed on level to rolling terrain is suitable for operation of transplanters.  They are not suited for steep slopes or debris-littered land.  The operator places seedling directly into the open furrow or into an automated placement device.  Planting rates of 1000 plants/hour are possible, and automated units can achieve over 3000 plants/hour.

Automated transplanter.  Plant racks not shown.
Photo courtesy of Holland Transplanter Company.


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

Holland Transplanter Co.
P.O. Box 1527
Holland, MI 49422-1527
Phone: 800-275-4482
Phone: 616-392-3579
Fax: 616-392-7996

Mechanical Transplanter Co.
1150 Central Ave.
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: 800-757-5268
Phone: 616-396-8738
Fax: 616-396-3619

R.A. Whitfield Manufacturing Co.
P.O. Box 188
Mableton, GA 30126
Phone: 770-948-1212
Fax: 770-948-0155

Tree Spades                                                                                               Top of Page


Tree spades are used to dig, lift, and transport trees with a ball of undisturbed soil around the roots for future transplanting.  A wide range of models are available in ball diameters between 24 and 144 inches.  Tree spades are mounted on trailers, skid-steers, wheel loaders, tractors, excavators, or large trucks.  Tree spades use three or four, spade-shaped blades that are angled so they converge and form a cone-shaped ball when extended into the soil by hydraulic cylinders.


Tree spade size should be matched to the tree size and the desired size of the root ball.  The units are centered on the tree and leveled so the tree will be vertical when planted.  As landscaping has become more important at construction sites, transplanting trees with 2- to 6-inch diameter trunks has gained popularity because of the quick establishment of sizable trees.  These transplanting machines have become very efficient.  Some companies manufacture special trailers that carry four or more trees dug with the tree spade to a transplanting site.  Tree spades can be used effectively to transplant native trees and shrubs on rangeland areas where quick establishment is critical.  Transplanting large trees is costly compared to planting seedlings or seed.  Tree spades are not suitable for slopes or rocky soils.

Tree spade
Trailer-mounted tree spade in operation.
Photo courtesy of Vermeer Mfg. Co.


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

Big John Tree Transplanter Mfg., Inc.
P.O. Box 960
Heber Springs, AR 72543
Phone: 800-643-8039
Phone: 501-362-8161
Fax: 501-362-5407

Dutchmaster Nurseries Ltd.
3735 Sideline 16
Brougham, Ontario, Canada L0H 1A0
Phone: 800-293-0070
Phone: 905-683-8211
Fax: 905-683-3734

Holt Tree Spades Ltd.
2318 246 Stewart Green S.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3H 3C8
Phone: 403-242-5871
Fax: 403-242-7097

Lemar Tree Spades
Box 3879
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada T4B 2B9
Phone: 866-948-9852
Phone: 403-948-9852
Fax: 403-948-9853

Stevens Tree Spades
704 Buchanan Blvd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R2Y 1M8
Phone: 204-832-6966
Fax: 204-888-6285

Vermeer Manufacturing Company
P.O. Box 200
Pella, IA 50219
Phone: 888-837-6337
Phone: 641-628-3141
Fax: 641-621-7734

Spriggers                                                                                                    Top of Page


Spriggers refer to two machines.  The sprigger harvester digs rhizomatous grasses, separates soil from the grass on a wire conveyor, and then transfers the grass parts by conveyor to a hopper or trailer.  The sprigger planter tills strips, spreads the rhizomatous roots, and crimps them into the soil.  These machines are very effective and widely used to plant Bermuda grass.


Spriggers are used to sprig improved varieties of Bermuda grass in pastures, athletic fields, golf fairway, waterways, highway rights-of-way, reclamation areas, and commercial landscapes through much of the southern part of the U.S.  They could be applied to other rhizomatous grasses or shrubs.  Grasses to be sprigged are usually grown in irrigated pastures or turf farms.

Sprigger harvester
Sprigger harvester

Sprigger planter
Sprigger planter
Photos courtesy of Bermuda King


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

Bermuda King L.L.C.
2001 South Shafenberg Road
Kingfisher, OK 73750
Phone: 405-375-5000
Fax: 405-375-5014

Sprigger’s Choice, Inc. (spriggers & no-till drills)
637 West Lee Street
Dawson, GA 39842
Phone: 229-995-4116
Fax: 229-995-5340

Hand Planting Tools                                                                                Top of Page


A variety of hand tools are available for planting container-grown and bareroot nursery seedlings.  Tools include various shaped dibblers and planting hoes (hoedads) and power augers.


Hand planting tools are used to dig holes for the placement of container-grown seedlings.  They are normally used on limited acreages, rugged terrain, sites with stumps, or areas that are not practical for machinery planting.  Seedlings are dropped in the prepared holes and soil is packed around the seedling.  The seedlings can establish quickly and exhibit good first year growth.  Hand planting is labor intensive and can become expensive.  It is not suitable for rocky or brushy areas.


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

Ben Meadows Company
P.O. Box 5277
Janesville, WI 53547-5277
Phone: 800-241-6401
Phone: 608-743-8001
Fax: 608-743-8007

Forestry Suppliers, Inc.
P.O. Box 8397
Jackson, MS 39284-8397
Phone: 800-647-5368
Phone: 601-354-3565
Fax: 601-292-0165

Little Beaver
P.O. Box 840
Livingston, TX 77351
Phone: 800-227-7515
Phone: 936-327-3121
Fax: 936-327-4025

Forest Service Planters                                                                          Top of Page

Descriptions and Application

The Steep-Slope, Scarifier Seeder was developed in 1978 to seed road cuts and fills.  The seeder is attached to a telescoping-boom crane that moves it over the steep slopes.  Scarifier tines breakup and loosen the soil followed by broadcast seeding.  Inverted tines then cover the seed and rollers pack the soil around the seed.  The planter can be maneuvered over debris and other obstacles.  Satisfactory grass stands have been obtained on slopes of 45 to 75 degrees.  Construction plans (RM-33, Steepslope Superseeder Assembly) are available from the Forest Service.

Steep slope seeder
Steep-slope, scarifier seeder.

The Dryland Sodder was developed in 1979 to strip the topsoil and vegetation including small trees or shrubs and then transport the undisturbed material to a site for transplanting.  Repairing reclamation areas was the primary use.  The dryland sodder used a specially designed loader-bucket to scoop and hold the soil and vegetation.  A 400 to 500 horsepower wheeled loader is required to push the bucket through the soil.  At the reclamation site, the bucket is tipped and the sod slips onto the ground as the loader moved backwards.  Construction plans (MEDC-631, Dryland Sodder; MEDC-682, Optional Dryland Sodder Bucket) are available from the Forest Service.

Dryland sodder shrub planter
Dryland sodder transporting soil and vegetation.

The Dryland Tubling Planter was developed in 1978 to automatically plant container-grown stock on reclamation land or other harsh or arid sites.  Seedling 2 to 4 inches in diameter and up to 24-inches tall can be planted.  The automated planter is controlled by the tractor operator.  Following positioning, the auger digs a hole, a scarifier auger removes competing vegetation around the hole, and the platform moves the carousel holding the seedling over the hole and drops a seedling.  The packing spade firms the soil around the seedling.  The planting rate is one per minute.  Construction plans (MEDC-628, Tubling Planter) are available from the Forest Service.

Dryland tubling planter
Dryland tubling planter (also available with a 3-pt. hitch).

The three photos are courtesy of the Forest Service’s Missoula Technology and Development Center.


USDA Forest Service
Missoula Technology and Development Center
5785 Highway 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808-9361
Phone:  406-329-3978
Fax:  409-329-3719

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