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    Tree Pullers

    Sorry for the lengthy post....

    I'm getting super close to pulling the trigger on a "tree puller". This is an attachment that mounts to the FEL and uses a hydraulic cylinder to clamp on to the base of a tree/shrub and then pull the offending plant out by the roots. My property is infested with honeysuckle and pulling it out by hand would be an impossible task.

    Up until a few days ago I was pretty much set that I was going to order this "Buckthorn Puller" (either the "Standard" or "Heavy Duty"). There's a guy over on "that other tractor forum" that has a JD4105 w/ 300CX loader that is using the heavy duty one and loves it! His tractor's a bit bigger than my 3520, but we have the same loader. I've seen some of his videos and the puller does a really good job.

    But, I've had second thoughts about that particular unit over the last few days. There was another thread on that other forum that talked about different pullers and I pulled up the websites for everyone mentioned in that thread. Now I'm leaning towards this tree puller from "Notch Manufacturing".

    So, let's talk about this purchase. First, I realize that the video's on the websites show these things mounted on a skid steer and I'm fully aware that my 3520 is NOT a skidsteer, nor does it have the same breakout power. I'm realistic enough to know that I'm not going to be popping 6" Maple trees out with my tractor! The honeysuckle that I'm planning on removing ranges from 1/2" thick to 3" or 4" thick. Honeysuckle is also a fairly shallow rooted plant. I've used the FEL to pull stuff the size I'm thinking of using a Brush Grubber. It does a good job, but it's a super labor intensive process involving getting on and off the tractor a couple of times for each pull. I'm looking for something that will let me get a lot of work done without getting off the tractor. Yeah, I know that my fat butt could use the exercise of getting on and off, but...

    Cost for either attachment is about the same (roughly $1600 plus shipping). The weight of the Notch is 600 lbs and I'm guessing the Buckthorn Puller is roughly the same (calling them to verify when they open today). Both are from small, specialty fab shops. I can get JDQA on either of them. I know the Buckthorn puller can also have a combo JDQA / 3 Pt. for an additional $200 (the JD4105 guy has that). Notch thinks that they may be able to do the same.

    I'd like some input from this crowd on which style may work better on the 3520. The Buckthorn Puller uses a "slide" to do the clamping and the cylinder is out front (although protected on the HD one). I don't like that the clamping force is offset from center. JD4105 guy has said that his left rear tire will come up sometimes and that does concern me. I do like that the clamping force is close to the frame so that, I think, should give me close to the maximum breakout force provided by the loader.

    I like the "scissor" design of the Notch and like that the clamping is in the middle of the unit rather than offset. The longer teeth should allow me to quickly reach in and pull little stuff out. Their design also lets you get bigger stuff close to the frame. The owner told me that a "trick" is to grab the tree close to the ground and then tilt forward using the ends of the puller as leverage along with the loader. Another nice thing is the "prong design" that lets you dig and rip roots. It's kind of like having my "front hoe" to help dig stuff out. Notch puts the cylinder in the back of the unit to allow you to dig.

    If Chris would have just designed something like this to go on my fork frame, I wouldn't have to shop around!

    Looking forward to some comments so you guys can help me spend my money!
    Tomfive, BigJim55 and SulleyBear like this.
    '05 JD 3520 Open Station w/ 300CX FEL
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  3. Top | #2

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    Both look like good units if your loader has good capacity and you are looking to pull trees or posts out. I think the Notch one looks like it may be better if you are trying to take out bushes - things with not much of a large central trunk, like shrubs in landscaping, etc.

    Rob
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    It's hard for me to imagine what your honeysuckle stands look like.

    If it is like brush and brambles like I have - stuff like wild blackberry and multi-flora rose - I just use the tooth bar on my bucket. I can just make a pass with the bucket level and about 2" under the top of the soil and it grabs this stuff up as I move forward.

    Honeysuckle might have a much deeper root system - I have no idea.

    My biggest concern with an impliment like you are looking at is having enough hydralic power to actually lift the stuff out of the ground. A heck of a lot of money to spend if your tractor hydraulics aren't up to the task.
    ~Stan~
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    Here's a pic right outside of my window. This should give you a pretty good idea of what I'm dealing with.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Honeysuckle.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	6.86 MB 
ID:	333570

    I have a Piranha tooth bar. It does OK for this stuff, but isn't quite what I want. I have "bad honeysuckle" interspersed with "good trees" so I want a little more of a "surgical approach" rather than what the Piranha or a Ratchet Rake does.

    The hydraulics should do what I want. Like I said above, I don't have any delusions of pulling a 6" maple tree.

    THANKS for the feedback so far.
    BigJim55, coaltrain and SulleyBear like this.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    Here's a pic right outside of my window. This should give you a pretty good idea of what I'm dealing with.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Honeysuckle.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	6.86 MB 
ID:	333570

    I have a Piranha tooth bar. It does OK for this stuff, but isn't quite what I want. I have "bad honeysuckle" interspersed with "good trees" so I want a little more of a "surgical approach" rather than what the Piranha or a Ratchet Rake does.

    The hydraulics should do what I want. Like I said above, I don't have any delusions of pulling a 6" maple tree.

    THANKS for the feedback so far.
    Thanks for the pic. Your reasoning sounds reasonable to me.

    I kind of like the idea of the Notch also - can be much more selective than with the other one. Plus the fact being able to pull one at a time will help with limited hydraulics compared to a skid steer. With the buckthorn you would have to take a scoop of them at a time.
    BigJim55 and kjmk like this.
    ~Stan~
    It is what it is
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    2520 w/200CX w/62D2

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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    Thanks for the pic. Your reasoning sounds reasonable to me.

    I kind of like the idea of the Notch also - can be much more selective than with the other one. Plus the fact being able to pull one at a time will help with limited hydraulics compared to a skid steer. With the buckthorn you would have to take a scoop of them at a time.
    That's an interesting comment, Stan. At first I was going to say "no, you can grab one tree at a time with it", but after I thought about it, I can see where you're coming from. Good point!!

    One other thing in favor of the Notch - It has an integrated backstop to help keep material from falling back on the hood of the tractor.

    I think I see where the decision process is leading me, but I still want more feedback.

    Oh, and since any thread is worthless without pics... I ordered a tripod off Amazon so I can mount my camera to get some footage of this in action. It arrived today. I'll also use it to get some action footage of something else I have on order.
    rtgt, BigJim55, coaltrain and 3 others like this.
    '05 JD 3520 Open Station w/ 300CX FEL
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark02tj View Post
    That's an interesting comment, Stan. At first I was going to say "no, you can grab one tree at a time with it", but after I thought about it, I can see where you're coming from. Good point!!

    One other thing in favor of the Notch - It has an integrated backstop to help keep material from falling back on the hood of the tractor.

    I think I see where the decision process is leading me, but I still want more feedback.

    Oh, and since any thread is worthless without pics... I ordered a tripod off Amazon so I can mount my camera to get some footage of this in action. It arrived today. I'll also use it to get some action footage of something else I have on order.
    After watching both videos I'd get the second alligator model.
    1. Has more reach. Looks like it would grab smaller stuff better.
    2. The load is center vs offset.
    3. Has a guard to help keep trees from falling backwards on you and your tractor.
    4. Looks like you can pry against the ground to help push over stubborn stuff.
    5. Hydraulic cylinder is not so easily damaged. Not sure how much of a PITA this would be to work on.
    Last edited by H-D dealer dude; 03-22-2017 at 05:30 PM.
    rtgt, BigJim55, mark02tj and 1 others like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by H-D dealer dude View Post
    After watching both videos I'd get the second alligator model.
    1. Has more reach. Looks like it would grab smaller stuff better.
    2. The load is center vs offset.
    3. Has a guard to help keep trees from falling backwards on you and your tractor.
    4. Looks like you can pry against the ground to help push over stubborn stuff.
    5. Hydraulic cylinder is not so easily damaged. Not sure how much of a PITA this would be to work on.
    I too agree with what he say's^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^i like it a lot better
    jim

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    Is there anyone that thinks the Buckthorn Puller (first link) would be a better choice?


    THANKS to all for the opinions! Interesting how I asked for them her rather than on the other board where I got the info from in the first place! You guys rock!
    rtgt and BigJim55 like this.
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    A couple of old Gravelys
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    One time use?

    If this is your only job for either one, I'd go talk to an equipment rental company and see what's available rather than buy something. A skid steer with a forestry head would take care of what's in the picture right now, no worries and leave a nice mulch surface as well. If you are going to have a continuing need, I agree that the notch looks slightly better although the option of mounting the other one on the 3 ph would give you more lift capacity. Personally, I'd want the guard to help control the tree once it's up and definitely want a cab or steel canopy over my head if you are lifting trees and moving them around. It's not so much the tree you are carrying as the ones you brush. It's pretty easy to break a dead limb that would just conk you on the noggin if you don't have protection.

    If I can get video, I'll post a demo of cleaning land with various skid steers and different forestry heads and mini-excavators with forestry heads. I'm going to the demo the in April and hopefully get to run some of the equipment. I can't justify buying any of it but rental is another matter.

    Treefarmer
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