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Discussion Starter #1
Guys,

I'm unfamiliar with the subsoiler attachment but I suspect it might be something that I cannot live without. I understand these come in various models like a "middle buster" and a model that doesn't penetrate as deeply as a middle buster. Are these used mainly for loosening the soil or can they also be used to plow a shallow ditch for sprinkler lines? Any information on their usage is appreciated.
 

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Subsoilers are great!

The average subsoiler cuts a deep trench about 2" wide. Most can go down 18-24". That works well as a preliminary step for breaking up the ground for planting. The subsoiler will not turn over a great amount of dirt, it just cuts a narrow path really deep to allow the plants' root systems to spread out. You would still need to follow up with a plow or tiller to get a seed bed.

Lots of folks use them to install all type of pipe, wire, tubing, etc. I believe KennyD has posted photos in the past where he set up a roll of wire to automatically feed into the trench cut by the subsoiler.

A middle buster/ potato plow is very similar to the subsoiler, but the digging foot is much wider and roughly triangle shaped. It will cut a trench about 12" wide, but not as deep as a narrower point in one pass. It will turn over some dirt, but isn't really suitable for preparing a planting spot all by itself. I used mine to put in some 12" deep drainage ditches and it worked wonderfully.
 

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Here is the theory I am under. Farmer also have the same issue and that's why many use "no-till" techniques.

Rototillers make the soil in the space that the tines reach looser, but tend to compact the soil just beneath that layer. Depending on the tiller and the person operating it, that compacted layer can be anywhere from 4-8 inches beneath the surface. That tends to keep plant roots shallow, instead of encouraging them to grow deep to reach moisture and food.


If you have a sub-soiler then you can break up the compacted area below the tilled soil and counteract the tiller compaction. Being able to trench in sprinkler lines and electrical lines is just an added bonus. :good2:


-636
 

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My 2 cents. Subsoilers, like most other implements, need really dry conditions to work well. They can actually work against you if you use them in wet conditions.

I agree that you can get "plow pan" with a tiller if thats all you use. That is one reason I plow everything in the fall as it helps to loosen the soil for the spring.

I use my subsoiler in areas that I drive over with my car or side by side and then want to plant the next spring. I do not use it on anything that was plowed as its not needed or would it work well.

If you have heavy soil, you need a lot of tractor to pull a middle buster at any depth.
 

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Subsoiler uses

Subsoilers are also used to help with drainage. If you have an area where water stands due to compacted soil making several passes with a subsoiler loosens up the dirt down deep and allows the water to drain.

Some subsoiler brands come with an optional attachment for laying wire or flexible pipe like the 1" black plastic water line.

If you Goggle subsoilers on YouTube there are a couple videos of them in use including examples laying pipe.
 

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Make sure you know where your gas lines, phone lines and anything else that might be buried.
Right! That stuff's far more fun to break with a backhoe anyway!:laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Guys,

I bought a subsoiler from Tractor Supply Co and set it up on my Imatch. The 3PH does not raise high enough to lift the subsoiler off the ground. In fact, it does not raise high enough to nestle the subsoiler pins down into position on the Imatch. So it will be going back to Tractor Supply. It seems that the problem is the 1026R sets lower to the ground than the CUTS due to the smaller rear wheels. I just wanted to point this issue out in case anyone else with a 1026/1023/1025 was thinking about picking up a subsoiler.

I will take some measurements off Tractor Supply's middle buster and compare that implement to the subsoiler. I may be able to use a middle buster but I'm not sure right now.
 
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I ran into the opposite issue. I bought a middle buster first, and it wouldn't go deep enough. The TSC middle buster is a few inches shorter than the subsoiler. They also carry a SCUT specific subsoiler/ middle buster combo that you might want to look into as well.
 

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"The 3PH does not raise high enough to lift the subsoiler off the ground."
A perfect example of the description by Deere of "LIMITED Cat 1 3 point hitch"...?
 

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A perfect example of the description by Deere of "LIMITED Cat 1 3 point hitch"...?
Yup, that's exactly what the "limited" means in this case. A limited CAT 1 doesn't go as high as a CAT 1 3PH does.
 

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Shorten it!

I had a sub-soiler for my 1026R and discovered it also dragged along the ground due to its smaller rear tire limitations (hence the Limited 1 "height" caveat on the 3 Pt Hitch - its funny they dont clarify that in the brochure eh!!) so I took it to a machine/welding shop and had the bottom plate ground off, 6 inches cut off the bottom of the vertical back bone and welded the bottom plates/tooth back on. It cost me around $75 for the modification and then it worked fine for me. I used it to pull out smaller tree roots, solve drainage problems with my gravel driveway and loosen surface soil in preparation for levelling/seeding of grass (poor mans plow).

I have to admit though, I sold it when I bought the 260 Backhoe as I found it to be redundant, particularly where the backhoe can handle unseen rocks so much better when trenching. The subsoiler is a damned site cheaper than a backhoe though... *Laughs*

Git 'er cut bye

G
 

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I had a sub-soiler for my 1026R and discovered it also dragged along the ground due to its smaller rear tire limitations (hence the Limited 1 "height" caveat on the 3 Pt Hitch - its funny they dont clarify that in the brochure eh!!) so I took it to a machine/welding shop and had the bottom plate ground off, 6 inches cut off the bottom of the vertical back bone and welded the bottom plates/tooth back on. It cost me around $75 for the modification and then it worked fine for me. I used it to pull out smaller tree roots, solve drainage problems with my gravel driveway and loosen surface soil in preparation for levelling/seeding of grass (poor mans plow).

I have to admit though, I sold it when I bought the 260 Backhoe as I found it to be redundant, particularly where the backhoe can handle unseen rocks so much better when trenching. The subsoiler is a damned site cheaper than a backhoe though... *Laughs*

Git 'er cut bye

G
What!? No bone-yard of little used attachments? Unheard of!
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Guys,

I returned the subsoiler to Tractor Supply and bought the middle buster. The middle buster fits onto my Imatch real nice. Raising the 3PH raises the middle buster about 5" off the ground. I'll let you know the results after I use it to open up a sod/sand trench for a sprinkler line.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Guys,

I'm replacing 2 of my sprinkling system 1" zone lines with 1.5" lines. This required a trench about 125 feet long for the new lines.

On Thursday, my helper and I used a spade to open a hole in the ground above the old lines. I had to jump on the spade twice to get it through the heavy sod and down the full depth of the spade's head. It was very hard digging with a few roots but mostly just hard soil.

I decided to make the trench using the middle buster but I was not at all confident that the 1026 would pull it through this hard sod/dirt. I dropped the middle buster into the hole to an initial depth of about 6". As I slowly drove forward, the middle buster plowed that sod open like it was cutting through butter. No problem at all. So I backed up to the starting hole and dropped it all the way down (about 8" depth) and plowed forward with the engine running a mere 2,000 RPM. The only thing that stopped the tractor was hitting a 1" root or a buried rock.

There was one issue however. When the front of the tractor starts down a slope, the middle buster is pulled higher. At a maximum 8" depth, it doesn't take much of a down slope to bring the middle buster out of the ground. Conversely, when starting up a slope, the middle buster tends to go deeper. Of course, that can be controlled by simply raising the 3PH a little.

Since my trench starts on level ground, goes down a short slope and then ends on level ground; I was able to establish a fairly nice trench with the middle buster. Then I installed the rear blade (RB2060L) and set it with one end down and forward of the other end. This allowed me to dig the trench deeper without getting it too much wider. Hooking a buried rock or root with the rear blade did cause a cracking sound but no damage resulted to the equipment. We finished the trench with some hand shoveling as I didn't want to remove any more sod by working deeper with the rear blade.

My conclusion is that the combination of the middle buster and rear blade are really perfect for trenching a wide drainage ditch on terrain that is on one plane. One could start by removing the first 6" of sod/soil using the middle buster. That would establish the exact position and orientation of the trench. Then one would use the rear blade to work the trench deeper and wider by traveling back and forth in both directions with 2 wheels in the trench (something that I did not want to do in my back yard).

At only $150, I plan to keep my middle buster and see what other uses I might find for it. It's been an interesting experience so far.

Today, I plan to pull the old zone line to the surface (as much as possible) so I can locate and connect the branch lines to the new zone lines. I also found a 100 year old steel sprinkler line that I will remove. That line is left over from when this whole 18 lot subdivision was a single, large estate 25 years ago. When ya git ta diggin' ... ya never know what you will find.
 

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I bought a county line subsoiler from Tractor Supply a few weeks ago. I'm going to use it for some drainage work and trench cutting. In vertical position on my 3PH it lifts to around 1" off the ground. If I extend the top arm of the 3PH it folds up under the draw bar making it less likely to snag on anything. I used it to cut two ~50 feet long 12"+ trenches. The 2720 pulled it fine. I was more concerned about breaking the subsoiler than the tractor being able to pull it. The one I bought has a frame in the linked picture below:

http://cdn3.volusion.com/wf72e.9ho5t/v/vspfiles/photos/KK-Sub-Soiler-3.jpg

I'm considering building or buying a head like a middle buster for cutting shallow drainage ditches. I've got plenty of steel to fidget with. The longer subsoiler arm will work well for the depth I want, but it will also not hold up to too much load with a middle buster head doing more work than the subsoiler head. For now I'll just leave it on the back of the tractor as counter weight for the loader.
 

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Odd that this came up today as I was thinking about a subsoiler or middle buster.

I planted 250 Norway Spruce seedlings last year for an eventual windbreak. To prep, I hand dug 250 1' diameter "holes" by removing the sod layer. It was a pain, and I'm not sure it was the best result. This was all before I purchased the 1025R.

I've read about using a spade/shovel and sort of pushing the sod out of the way and dropping in the seedling. But, there has to be a way to use an implement to efficiently prep the ground. I've done a little reading and everyone seems to have their own approach (middle buster, tilling, etc.).

Any thoughts on planting seedlings?
 
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