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The thought process is that with the garden tractor size implements, you take many shallow cuts gradually going deeper with each pass. Use the JP Bucket to remove what the middlebuster has loosened, somewhat like removing layers of an onion. Smooth it out with a landscape rake, rear blade or drag harrow. Then perhaps compact it with a lawn roller.

For trenching or installing conduit/PVC pipe, a moldboard plow will cut a furrow where you can insert the pipe and then roll the cut portion back over. There are all kinds of things you can do with various implements, not just the things they may be sold for.
 

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WRT box blade use: When I figured out to STOP LIFTING IT I had much better results. I try to leave it on the ground and drag it around in float mode on the hitch. It carries soil and gravel, deposits it in low spots, and knocks down high spots.

In float mode it doesnt lever into the ground when the tractor is in a low or high spot.

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
I want to bring this thread back up in the hopes for visibility. I've since done a tad of research but having just entered this world a few months ago, I am in over my head. Ill divide this into 2 parts:

Attachments for destruction:

So there are many choices here. If you check my pics I am only ripping out some small sections of the yard. Think one area 50x10ft and about 18in high and another 25x5ft and under a foot high. I just need to get the soil loose in order to dig and dump, then grade level and smooth. At this point I am leaning towards renting a tiller, however I am going to tear apart the patio in the OP either next season or 2023, so if something could be used for both without breaking the bank (1-2k) I may go for it. Considering the weed growth and vegetation these areas hold I think a a tiller is the way to go. With the tiller should i be concerned with rear/central/front tine? Ive read some are better for maneuverability while others are better for large blanket areas, Im only using it in very specific areas with other features and soil i do not want to disrupt.

Attachments for Leveling and Grading:

theres alot here i discovered including lots of DIY choices like pallets and fence portions. Im still unsure of what to use. A pallet to me would not be heavy enough. im sure you just add cinder blocks. Ive looked at box blades but people seem to say theres a strong learning curve. Perhaps just a back blade would be sufficient and then a landscape rake type attachment followed by a roller/pulverizer? I dont need to level the whole yard just the areas I am removing and few other low spots in the yard. One area though where the pond is will either have a large grade to be made or to make it easier I could just put in a rock "wall", basically just smooth out the area and layer the slope with rocks so it doesnt have to graded perfectly. In my pics i am referring to the large mulched to left of the pond where the rotten old terrace is. I am keeping the pond I think, and could just lay a rock bed to get to the current pond height. Hope that makes sense.

So while I continue to browse I was hoping for some specific suggestions even possible links so I know what Im looking at. Of course renting the skidsteer is an option but i wouldn't mind having some of these attachments for future projects or even selling them when Im finished. thanks to everyone who has already commented, if you have any more ideas or opinions please let me know.


Edit-I mostly see the box blade in use for gravel or areas where there is currently no grass. I dont want to disrupt the growth I have, just obviously add to it and gain a better root system. To me the box blade could serious damage. Im an idiot who has never seem what they can really do.

Edit+ - I have a JBJR w toothbar and Jplow JR. I know I know its not a FEL but its what i got. Maybe the JBJR would work for some leveling who knows?
 

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OK, tillers. A front tine tiller is good for tilling already tilled soil and for weeding in a garden. A rear tine tiller is good for tilling soil that has not been tilled before.

With the JP bucket and toothbar, you are able to dig those flowerbeds up. With the toothbar off, you can use the bucket in reverse to grade. Can't remember if you have the power sleeve hitch, but a back blade is easier to see what you are doing. A middlebuster would allow you to loosen the flowerbed up, then digging with the JP bucket is even easier. Grading the loosened soil with a landscape rake would be an option.
You just have to remember that these are garden tractor sized implements and not try and do it all in one pass. If you do want to do it all in one pass, you need larger equipment, such as the skid steer. For what you want to do, I still say use the garden tractor sized implements and work at it to your heart's content
 

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You could adapt a tooth of this type available from farm stores, ebay, amazon - for your sleeve hitch. you should be able to pull it through the soil to break it up for scooping in the Johnny bucket, but you might have to make several passes at increasing depths to pull up rocks, weeds and tree roots and loosen the soil for grading, planting and water absorption. You will find that traction is the governing factor, and weights, chains or ag tires may be needed to increase effectiveness. Turf tires are designed to not tear up lawns, so are not very good at pulling or pushing digging implements.

SO...A heavy duty rear tine tiller will bust things up very quickly and bring rocks, weeds and small tree roots to the surface to be raked off. Then you can drive your tractor back and forth over the fluffy soil to compact it and then back-blade with your JBjr to smooth it out.

I have done this often with the outfit below, when big trees blow down in my yard, very similar to your patches. The box blade is an earthcavator - "rollover" tool with ripper teeth, box blade and reverse dozer. The key to its use is letting it float over the ground. I also have a tiller for the tractor that I use after removing the large roots and rocks. The process is as follows:
  • remove stump and large roots (bricks, old landscaping stuff etc.)
  • rough-blade to make it sort of level with front scoop and box blade
  • rototill to prep the soil and roll up debris.
  • hand rake and pick up loose stuff.
  • roll with tractor tires to compact the very loose soil
  • grade with back blade to finish levelling.
  • grass-seed
  • make multiple passes with a spring-tine dethatcher to bury the seed.
  • roll with a lawn roller.

I also have a front scoop, but have not found it very useful for this work.
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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
OK, tillers. A front tine tiller is good for tilling already tilled soil and for weeding in a garden. A rear tine tiller is good for tilling soil that has not been tilled before.

With the JP bucket and toothbar, you are able to dig those flowerbeds up. With the toothbar off, you can use the bucket in reverse to grade. Can't remember if you have the power sleeve hitch, but a back blade is easier to see what you are doing. A middlebuster would allow you to loosen the flowerbed up, then digging with the JP bucket is even easier. Grading the loosened soil with a landscape rake would be an option.
You just have to remember that these are garden tractor sized implements and not try and do it all in one pass. If you do want to do it all in one pass, you need larger equipment, such as the skid steer. For what you want to do, I still say use the garden tractor sized implements and work at it to your heart's content

Yup I have the powered sleeve bought it specifically for back blade/box blade (also got it for $250 when i bought the tractor but I did want it not even knowing if needed it).

Ok so i am going to need the tiller anyway according to horticulture guy. Says those deep weed and vegetation roots need to be ripped out and destroyed before laying grass down anyway so that's a done deal. The middlebuster does seem like great option and its pretty cheap, I love the fact I can have my bucket up front and the middle buster on the back raised up and just keep working it for hours without leaving the seat.

Middlebuster: If I go this route can you recommend any? I only looked for a little while mostly at TSC and I think all the ones I saw were 3pt. I dont care about brand I care about quality and welds. If we wanna talk about the differences between models/sizes/depth lets do it. Should there be front or rear ballast when using this?

Back blade: Same thing, looking for something that wont bend on first use. How's the learning curve? Will watch videos for operation tips.

landcape rake: How do you grade with these? Seems back blade is better option?

Roller: Is this truly needed? Any other alternatives? I am in the market for aerator (pull behind) but have no idea what size or spike length is recommended so we can tie that in here if you have knowledge. Also what a diy aerator idea for spaces that you cant get around with the pull behind? A spear like, sharpened rebar object?

Off the top of my head these should do it? I could use the back blade to grade entire other areas of the yard I dump fresh topsoil on yes? I feel I'm getting a little closer everyday LOL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
You could adapt a tooth of this type available from farm stores, ebay, amazon - for your sleeve hitch. you should be able to pull it through the soil to break it up for scooping in the Johnny bucket, but you might have to make several passes at increasing depths to pull up rocks, weeds and tree roots and loosen the soil for grading, planting and water absorption. You will find that traction is the governing factor, and weights, chains or ag tires may be needed to increase effectiveness. Turf tires are designed to not tear up lawns, so are not very good at pulling or pushing digging implements.

SO...A heavy duty rear tine tiller will bust things up very quickly and bring rocks, weeds and small tree roots to the surface to be raked off. Then you can drive your tractor back and forth over the fluffy soil to compact it and then back-blade with your JBjr to smooth it out.

I have done this often with the outfit below, when big trees blow down in my yard, very similar to your patches. The box blade is an earthcavator - "rollover" tool with ripper teeth, box blade and reverse dozer. The key to its use is letting it float over the ground. I also have a tiller for the tractor that I use after removing the large roots and rocks. The process is as follows:
  • remove stump and large roots (bricks, old landscaping stuff etc.)
  • rough-blade to make it sort of level with front scoop and box blade
  • rototill to prep the soil and roll up debris.
  • hand rake and pick up loose stuff.
  • roll with tractor tires to compact the very loose soil
  • grade with back blade to finish levelling.
  • grass-seed
  • make multiple passes with a spring-tine dethatcher to bury the seed.
  • roll with a lawn roller.

I also have a front scoop, but have not found it very useful for this work.
View attachment 2490750 View attachment 2490753 View attachment 2490754

This is pretty good stuff.

Im still torn on box vs back blade. I know how much more versatile the box is but Im not removing native earth to pave a driveway or something just "patching" the yard up. The back blade is miles cheaper with easier learning curve but im worried it wont scratch the itch, and im also worried i will do more damage than intended with the box lol. I need to sit down for a few hours and really watch videos and compare the 2. I am going to tear out the existing old patio and put in a new one, that area needs leveled as the patio is sinking but its not extreme either. I would think some gravel and a back blade could do just fine.
 

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Im still torn on box vs back blade.
Don't be. The Brinly sleeve hitch box blade IS ALSO a back blade/scraper blade. You unbolt the sides and it's a back blade. I actually use mine without the sides to dig deeper as depth isn't limited by the sides contacting the ground.

Mine is an Agri-Fab and is the same way. Don't buy the Agri-fab though as it bends immediately. I ended up welding a bunch of iron on mine to make it usable.

"Convert into a rear blade by removing side plates and scarifier bar"
2490960

 
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Take a look at the MotoAlliance Impact Implements. They do require an adapter for the sleeve hitch, but then all their products attach to that. Company is based way up there in Minnesota. Very heavy duty as they are made for constructing food plots for deer with ATV's out in the woods. You can get them off Amazon. I got their adapter, middlebuster, back blade and cultivator. Simple, well made items.


The landscape rake works by having the many fingers comb over the soil taking out the larger stones & sticks and spreading it out.
Lawn rollers work by compressing the soil down making it flatter. Mine is a 24 X 36 inch filled with sand weighing around 900 lbs. Used it on ruts made by vehicles.
Aerators are really more for established lawns where the layer of dead grass and other (thatch) around the root system of the grass prevents water and nutrients from getting to those roots, It does this by punching holes: some use spikes and some use tubes that remove a plug of grass.
 

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I am going to tear out the existing old patio and put in a new one, that area needs leveled as the patio is sinking but its not extreme either. I would think some gravel and a back blade could do just fine.
There are a couple of functions of the wings on a box blade.
-They cut down high spots, then carry the material along and drop it in low spots. A back blade (or any straight blade) does the same, but will spill material off the sides quickly, leaving windrows that need extra passes to clean up.
-The sides help float the blade so the corners do not dig in like a flat blade - also better for grading.
-The learning curve isn't any harder for either type, they're just better for different purposes.

Regarding filling in only spots in your lawn, from my experiences:

After doing this over many years on my tree'd lot, I now have a "Heinz 57" lawn with several different kinds and colors of grass. It's an interesting pattern, but I would get low marks from the turf club.
Also, If you move into the garden-tractor-sized jobs, bigger is better. It's easy to get dizzy going around and around and around trying to get the perfect finish on that small plot. It is especially difficult where old turf meets new grading - the blade will slide across the sod, then dig right in when it hits the new soil. Much better to consolidate the patches and make longer passes that blend in better and are actually easier to grade.
And one last note - there's no substitute for getting off the tractor and doing some hand work to polish things up.
 

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I bought one of these and it is awesome. Everyone is impressed by it. Does an awesome job. Hydraulic version is excellent. However it looks like they stopped building them but has a video how to



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I get good use from my landscape rake a couple of times a year for leveling ruts, collecting sticks, and popping rocks out of some "lawns". My local JD dealer also rents York brand landscape rakes by the day if you only need it once or twice. I also have Gravelys with many attachments for dirt such as a dozer blade, utility scoop, rotary plow, rotary cultivator, tine cultivator, and sub-soiler.
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Don't be. The Brinly sleeve hitch box blade IS ALSO a back blade/scraper blade. You unbolt the sides and it's a back blade. I actually use mine without the sides to dig deeper as depth isn't limited by the sides contacting the ground.

Mine is an Agri-Fab and is the same way. Don't buy the Agri-fab though as it bends immediately. I ended up welding a bunch of iron on mine to make it usable.

"Convert into a rear blade by removing side plates and scarifier bar"
View attachment 2490960
[/QUOT

WELL THIS IS A DONE DEAL! And at this price? thank you, thats one piece i can put to bed, will be ordering this within the next 30 days. Now to find a middlebuster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
So far all I can find are 3pt and receiver hitch middlebusters. Is this the standard or are there sleeve implements?
 

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Motoalliance Impact Implements makes a sleeve hitch to 2" square male adapter. It works with their 2" receiver implements. HeavyHitch makes the 2" male middle buster/ripper combo. They also make a ripper that is significantly cheaper. The ripper only won't dig very deep, or wide.

But, you are probably going to be traction limited. I have the Brinly box blade. The rippers on it don't look very strong or sturdy. The PO had it on a 100 series lawn mower and still managed to bend the rippers. I don't use the rippers. I bought it run over the gravel and not disturb the gravel, but hopefully keep grass/vegetation at bay. The blade itself appears to be quite sturdy and is not bent. It is not very heavy, so it will skip over surfaces that are not very loose. Surfaces that are loose provide very poor traction.

Back to the middle buster, what are your intentions for it? I bought the HH one to use as a front hoe on my loader. I think with some practice it might work acceptably for some things. A real backhoe or mini-excavator would be a lot better, but cost 10x - 100x the price. For your situation, you need to make sure whatever you get, your sleeve hitch can raise it high enough the you can transport it to the worksite and back. Unless you are in hurry (in which case you should rent bigger equipment or hire someone, though that might not be quicker) I would try the box blade and see how it does. Maybe, if you go slow it will work well enough. If the ground is soft, it should do well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Motoalliance Impact Implements makes a sleeve hitch to 2" square male adapter. It works with their 2" receiver implements. HeavyHitch makes the 2" male middle buster/ripper combo. They also make a ripper that is significantly cheaper. The ripper only won't dig very deep, or wide.

But, you are probably going to be traction limited. I have the Brinly box blade. The rippers on it don't look very strong or sturdy. The PO had it on a 100 series lawn mower and still managed to bend the rippers. I don't use the rippers. I bought it run over the gravel and not disturb the gravel, but hopefully keep grass/vegetation at bay. The blade itself appears to be quite sturdy and is not bent. It is not very heavy, so it will skip over surfaces that are not very loose. Surfaces that are loose provide very poor traction.

Back to the middle buster, what are your intentions for it? I bought the HH one to use as a front hoe on my loader. I think with some practice it might work acceptably for some things. A real backhoe or mini-excavator would be a lot better, but cost 10x - 100x the price. For your situation, you need to make sure whatever you get, your sleeve hitch can raise it high enough the you can transport it to the worksite and back. Unless you are in hurry (in which case you should rent bigger equipment or hire someone, though that might not be quicker) I would try the box blade and see how it does. Maybe, if you go slow it will work well enough. If the ground is soft, it should do well.
The use case is to dig up/loosen these mulchbeds I'm demolishing in order to level and plant grass. most them are normal beds where they are only, i dont know, 6in high? One (in the pics in my OP) is probable 18in -2ft high mound. The process would be to loosen and scoop with the johnny bucket, wash rinse repeat. Id have to go over it several/many times with middlebuster but thats ok. Id never have to leave the seat. I do have a the hydraulic sleeve hitch, I would hope it goes high enough, i guess would depend on the length of the ripper. Maybe I should raise the hitch and measure to the ground before purchase. I do have the HH sleeve to receiver but its not a tight fit. Meaning anything connected to it will sway left and right. I threw it on when I got it real quick and was concerned about the play in the adapter. Haven't used it for anything and maybe there's more to it (Im brand new to this whole world so every purchase is like showing a 10yr old) but I immediately thought something wasn't right. If i dont figure it out I'll probable post a video here asking if its correct. Hitch is off right now for winter.

Edit- Actually its the Johnny products sleeve to receiver. If its not supposed to sway maybe its only compatible with the Johnny sleeve hitch, but I thought all sleeve hitch were the same.
 

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Your sleeve hitch should have 2 bolts in it. They tighten against the implement hitch after you drop the pin in to keep it from walking side to side.

I'd buy the heavy hitch combo but use the ripper/subsoiler (one tooth)which takes less traction than a middlebuster(spade).

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When I bought my house years ago I had these mulch areas around all the trees. I decided to dig them up with a pick and shovel. After I dug the first one up I noticed tree roots exposed near ground level all over the place. After talking to a few people we come to the conclusion that all the trees had a built up large mulch areas to cover up the exposed tree roots. I hired a tree man to take down the trees and sure enough under the mulch areas were tree roots that had probably surfaced over the years. The tree man told me all Maple trees grow like that. Their roots are on the surface. The tree man said the previous owner probably covered the roots up with a lot of mulch and made flower beds on the mulch. He said the previous owner probably got tired of running the mover over the roots and covered them up.
 

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The HH combo is longer than the ripper only version. This is an advantage for me. But, you should check the angle on you sleeve hitch to see if the JB adapter and HH combo would go high enough to clear when you want to transport it and not dig. Check what happens when you go up hill and the front is higher than the rear, which will reduce the effective lift of the sleeve hitch.

The HH ripper only version is significantly cheaper, so it might be a better choice for your tractor, especially since you don't need/want to go deep.

I haven't had a chance to use mine. (I got it too late and the weather became more unpredictable for the task I had in mind.) I do think it is heavy duty. Tractor Time with Tim has a video of it with his 1 series. He did not seem too happy with it and kept breaking the shear bolt. I doubt you would have that problem with your tractor.
 

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The HH combo is longer than the ripper only version. This is an advantage for me. But, you should check the angle on you sleeve hitch to see if the JB adapter and HH combo would go high enough to clear when you want to transport it and not dig. Check what happens when you go up hill and the front is higher than the rear, which will reduce the effective lift of the sleeve hitch.

The HH ripper only version is significantly cheaper, so it might be a better choice for your tractor, especially since you don't need/want to go deep.

I haven't had a chance to use mine. (I got it too late and the weather became more unpredictable for the task I had in mind.) I do think it is heavy duty. Tractor Time with Tim has a video of it with his 1 series. He did not seem too happy with it and kept breaking the shear bolt. I doubt you would have that problem with your tractor.
Holey moley you ain't kidding on price. I was expecting $100 for the combo. $163 for the ripper vs $293 for the combo.

I wonder if the Titan is decent for a GT at $70?
 
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