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!