If you have a lot of land to clear, a root grapple could be the best choice for getting rid of all kinds of debris, from brush and small trees to dirt, rocks, and even trash. Of all the possible attachments you can get for your tractor, a root grapple may be one of the most versatile.
What does a root grapple look like?
A heavy duty root grapple is made up of either a single arm, which is suitable for less dense and more compact areas of brush or dual arms. A dual arm grapple is the more popular choice because it can do more and offers the same force on top as on bottom.
The tines of the grapple hold the load, but since grapples don’t have a solid bottom like you find on a bucket attachment, you won’t be able to use a root grapple on fine dirt or sand. You can get root grapples with different tine spacing, and the less space between each the better the grapple will work on compact debris. Wider tines are better for logs and limbs.
What can you do with a root grapple?
This versatile attachment is most often used for clearing land by removing piles of brush, logs, or tree limbs from property. They can also do a bit of digging under a pile of trash or brush, and they’re capable of lifting and stacking materials into piles or on a truck.
You can use your root grapple to move or push things around or even to load and unload. If you have a lighter grapple, it can usually handle up to 1750 pounds. A heavy duty root grapple made of thick steel will be heavy itself, but it will also be able to handle loads up to 2500 pounds or so.
What do I look for in a root grapple?
Assuming you want your grapple to last, it’s important that you invest in the best quality grapple you can find. A quality grapple won’t need to be replaced as quickly, and will need fewer repairs and give you fewer headaches along the way.
Look for grapples that have cylinder guards to protect the hydraulics. The hydraulics make the grapple work the way it does, but they inevitably get a lot of abuse on the job. You should also look for hinge pins that you can easily grease. The pin and hinge will also wear out quickly on dirty jobs, and regular greasing will help.
Make sure you know where you’re taking all your brush or debris before you start hauling it away with the grapple. Then make sure your grapple is properly attached to your tractor and everything is secure. If you are planning to haul very heavy loads, you may need to add some counterweight to the tractor to ensure your safety.
You can use the tines of the grapple to dig into into the ground under the pile of whatever you are moving. The dirt or sand beneath will fall through the tines, so there’s no need to worry about bringing along a lot of dirt you don’t want. Once you have positioned the grapple correctly, drive it into the pile.
Don’t be shy
One mistake that operators frequently make, especially if they don’t use a grapple often, is being too cautious about pushing into a pile and clamping down hard on the debris. The debris cannot be hurt, and you are very unlikely to harm the grapple, so don’t be shy about pushing.
A grapple is a great attachment for your tractor, and if you don’t already have one, you don’t know what you’re missing. Once you get one, it will be hard to imagine how you ever got along without it.