What is a Tree Planter?

Dan Cavallari

A tree planter is any device that is used to dig holes properly for the planting of any variety of tree. The two most common types of tree planter are post hole diggers and mechanical tree planters. A post hole digger is a hand-operated tool with two long handles similar to those of a shovel, with two rounded metal blades attached to the bottom. The metal blades are hinged and form a cylindrical shape. The tool can be driven into the ground, creating a round hole, and the dirt can be pulled out of the hole to provide a planting space for the tree.

Trees on tree farms likely were planted using a planter.
Trees on tree farms likely were planted using a planter.

A heavy-duty tree planter is a mechanical version that can come in a variety of sizes. This heavy machine is used to dig long rows of dirt for planting of several trees at once. This tree planter is often used in commercial settings because it is capable of allowing for the planting of many trees, which is usually not necessary for home use. New home construction, however, may require the use of a heavy-duty tree planter, as some new homes are designed with natural privacy fencing in mind: the tree planter can dig a long row along which several evergreen trees or bushes can be planted, thereby providing privacy from one's neighbors.

Tree planters are used to dig holes before planting new trees.
Tree planters are used to dig holes before planting new trees.

Tree planter designs are fairly similar, though they can vary in size. The general design features a seat on which the operator sits to guide the planter; the entire unit may be motorized, but more commonly, the tree planter is mounted to a tractor that pulls the planter unit. In front of the seat in which the operator sits is a guide wheel known as a coulter, which cuts the ground ahead of a plow. Once the ground is plowed, the tree can be planted, and the earth can be replaced behind it. Many planters feature slanted wheels that will fill in the earth after the seedling has been planted without any extra effort needed from the operator.

The planter machines often feature long buckets in which several tree saplings can be placed for quick access. The operator can grab the sapling and plant it quickly as the plow pulls the planter apparatus along a field or path. This is a common practice at tree farms, and very often the planter machine will feature two seats so two operators can work at once, thereby allowing for more trees to be planted at the same time.

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