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#1 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 04:50 PM

My neighbor grows and supply's flowers for cemetery's.
This yr he has the contract to plant the flowers as well.
The area that he has to prepare and plant is 2ft x 4ft, or 4ft x 4ft, small or large plots.
He wants to use a Roto Tiller, 24" wide to prepare the soil, his thinking is start tilling at one end working his way up to the headstone, then stop and move on to the next one.
He wants a tiller that is closed in to contain the dirt not to go on the grass.
I think he needs a front tine tiller to do this as a rear tine will not get close enough to the headstone. If he uses a rear tine tiller and starts at the head stone even with the handle angled to the side I don't think he can get close enough to the headstone???

Anybody done anything like this before or have any advice to offer.

#2 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 04:56 PM

I worked at a cemetery for about 6 weeks, the way we kept the dirt off the grass was to use plywood or tarps on both sides of the grave. It worked good.
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#3 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 05:00 PM

I worked at a cemetery for about 6 weeks, the way we kept the dirt off the grass was to use plywood or tarps on both sides of the grave. It worked good.


Good idea, never thought of that.

#4 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 05:14 PM

I agree on the front tine, even tho the rear tine would do a better overall job. He will want to make a "bumper/shield" to keep the tines from hitting the headstone.

Edited by MH81, February 05, 2012 - 06:32 PM.
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#5 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 06:07 PM

Over the years I have used both front tine and rear tine tillers. Breaking sod with a front tine tiller is a man killer, it's a lot like trying to ride a bucking bronco. The best way to controll it is to let it dig a hole and then let it till it's way out of the hole. I think it would be hard to not damage stones with one. I have seen some big strong men hurt themselves trying to muscle a front tine tiller.
I much prefer the rear tine machine, it is much easier to control, It is much easier to control in close quarters . My troy bilt Super bronco has a 20" width and I've busted lots of sod with it.
The trick is to take the depth down slowly and in stages so it's not running into hard ground that will launch it.

I would start by going parralel to the face of the stone, creating a buffer zone to protect the stone, then he could go lengthwise from there if he wished.
the tarps are a good idea. But I would probably just rake the dirt back into the tilled area when done.

Edited by JD DANNELS, February 05, 2012 - 06:14 PM.

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#6 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 06:27 PM

Over the years I have used both front tine and rear tine tillers. Breaking sod with a front tine tiller is a man killer, it's a lot like trying to ride a bucking bronco. The best way to controll it is to let it dig a hole and then let it till it's way out of the hole. I think it would be hard to not damage stones with one. I have seen some big strong men hurt themselves trying to muscle a front tine tiller.
I much prefer the rear tine machine, it is much easier to control, It is much easier to control in close quarters . My troy bilt Super bronco has a 20" width and I've busted lots of sod with it.
The trick is to take the depth down slowly and in stages so it's not running into hard ground that will launch it.

I would start by going parralel to the face of the stone, creating a buffer zone to protect the stone, then he could go lengthwise from there if he wished.
the tarps are a good idea. But I would probably just rake the dirt back into the tilled area when done.


I can see him running into some headstones, the ground he is tilling had flowers in it last yr, but it's gone though a winter and spring thaw so???
I think he needs a piece of thick plywood up against the headstone so he can bump into the wood instead of the headstone.
I suggested going parallel to the headstone with the rear tine tiller he has but he doesn't want to do that.
4ft long is 2 passes with a 24"tiller

#7 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 07:38 PM

The cemetery I worked was a Ft. Gibson OK National Cemetary. If we had to reopen a grave, we would plywood down the entire row and drive on that, if we needed to remove a stone we had a special clamp that we hooked onto a loader bucket and pull the stones. We used a backhoe to dig the graves with, and piled a lot of the dirt on the plywood. After time the graves would settle so we used sand to fill the low spots in with.

I'm not sure how other cemeteries do this but this the way we did it.

#8 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 07:45 PM

If I were going into a business like this, I would fab up a tiller that would fit the front of a GT. Those front tine tillers beat you to death(no pun intended being it's a cemetery). And covering the grass & using plywood at the gravestones would be a definite way to do it proper.

Edited by olcowhand, February 05, 2012 - 08:13 PM.
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#9 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 07:57 PM

If I were going into a business like this, I would fab up a tiller that would fit the front of a GT. Those front tine tillers beat you to death(no pun intended being it's a cemetary). And covering the grass & using plywood at the gravestones would be a definite way to do it proper.


I thought of something like that to but with a narrow tiller on the back of a GT, just back up to the headstone, drop it and move ahead.
Putting the tiller on the front might be better though???
I think you guys are right about the plywood, less damage and easier cleanup.

#10 olcowhand OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 08:14 PM

Putting the tiller on the front might be better though???
I think you guys are right about the plywood, less damage and easier cleanup.


Sure easier on the neck, but a younger neck than mine would do fine with one on the rear. But, on the front, you could see so easy what you are doing.

#11 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 08:21 PM

You don't have a lot of room to move in between the graves. The graves at the Nat Cemetary I believe were 6X8. Not a lot of room to be driving around. We had a small Kabota with a loader and it was tight even with it. But at a Nat Cemetary the coffins are buried up and down and not side by side.

#12 Kurtee OFFLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 09:16 PM

Tilling is an area that I have some experience in. One question is unanswered. Are the planting areas new or existing. Existing would be fairly ease with no sod to deal with. I will assume it is existing areas. With the small plots it will be a challenge to work with any large tiller. I think a combo would be in order. A smaller rear tine for most of the work, then a Mantis to finish the corners and area close to the stones. I would use another piece of equipment to complete the job. Forget covering with plywood or tarp or whatever. Get a power broom with the rubber flap wheel and use that to chase any soil out of the turf. PowerBroom | Shindaiwa-USA.com (not an endorsement of shindaiwa, just a reference) These things work great for removing rocks, dirt, and such from grass. I use mine for removing the rocks and such from snow removal. I would do the tilling of the plots, then take the broom and work any soil in the sod back to the flower plot. I have 2 20" Ariens rear tine tillers and a Honda tractor with tiller and all would be too large for the described plots. I sold a 16" Troy-Bilt to my son which would have fit this bill. The Mantis tiller doesn't look like much, but is a good tool. I have one and have used it on small plots. It may even be all that is needed to do task. Good luck
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#13 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted February 05, 2012 - 10:44 PM

Never thought of the Mantis style for tidy-up stuff. Good idea.
Doug, your friend ought to be able to pick one up cheap-ish at a flea market, I've seen several with probable gummed up carbs from leaving the gas in them over winter.
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#14 JD DANNELS OFFLINE  

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Posted February 06, 2012 - 10:31 AM

Kurtee, makes a good point on the rubber wheeled sweeper. And if your friend already has a Stihl Weed Eater, he can buy the attatchment for it.
Our local True Value rents equipment and is a Stihl dealer, I have used one to clean along my drive and it sweeps the rocks right out of the grass.
When I replace my weed eater, I'll probably get a Stihl for just that reason.
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#15 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted February 06, 2012 - 05:44 PM

Thanks guys, he has a old Honda tear tine tiller, flat head engine, 2 forward, 1 reverse speed.
He also has a Mantis tiller like you say.
He is convinced that the Honda would be no good for what he wants and the Mantis to small. ???

I think he's just going to go out and buy a front tine tiller, I told him if that's the what he wants find one with big wheels on it so it's easier to move around.

The Stihl power broom sounds like a good idea, I've used those on pavement before, never tried it on grass.




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