By Rick Anielski, Arborist
When we think of gardening tools, often things like a shovel, rake, or trowel come to mind. There are times however when something a little bigger is needed for a job. Here at Holden we are fortunate to have a variety of heavy equipment to assist us in tackling big jobs.
One of the most versatile and oldest of our equipment is the Bobcat skid steer-loader. There seems to be no limit to the different attachments that can go on this machine. We primarily use it for loading materials into vehicles for transport to the gardens or outer collections. It can also mount a power rake so we can regrade/smooth out areas where the ground has been torn up by work, and bring the area back to presentable appearance. The skid as we know it is also perfect for trail maintenance due to its smaller size.
Another machine that sees considerable use is the mini excavator. Its smaller size makes it ideal for jobs in the gardens that are a bit too big for a shovel. This machine has played an important role in many big jobs over the years. It has done everything from trenching for drainage, to creating new wetlands, and even helping us to chip large amounts of brush by using the claw to pick up the material and feed it into the chipper. Since the December storm there have been some trees that were uprooted and laying on their side. Once the tree itself was cleaned up there still remained the stump. Though we do make use of a stump grinder for our stump removal, sometimes when a stump is already halfway out of the ground the excavator can be used. If you see this machine out and about don’t let its smaller size fool you; it’s got quite a bit of power! Even though the machine is not strong enough to lift a 2000 lb. stump, it can dig out and flip it over to knock off the soil from around the roots. Even after the stump has been dug out the mess that remains can be cleaned up with use of the excavator’s plow blade. Having this machine at our disposal makes larger jobs easier and our backs healthier.
One of our newest machines we acquired 2 years ago is a Cat bucket loader. It has the same abilities as the skid steer-loader, only bigger. This machine has allowed us to pick up much bigger loads then in the past. Gone are the days of getting a delivery that we would have to unload halfway by hand because it was simply too heavy for the skid to lift. Just a few weeks ago I had to remove the stump from a roughly 90-year-old lace bark elm (Ulmus parvifolia) that came down at Lantern Court during the December 1st snowstorm. I was able to dig it out with the excavator but it was simply too big to move. The Cat bucket loader was able to move this monster of a stump with relative ease.
Though equipment like this is quite expensive it pays for itself in a short amount of time, and if well maintained will last decades to come. So if you see us about please excuse our noise.