Nation's Largest All-Terrain Tree Spade

Staff | September 28, 2010

Associated Builders and Contractors, Southeast Pennsylvania Chapter hosted a Sustainable Site Development and Design informational session and demonstration of the nation's largest all-terrain tree spade earlier this year at its East Norriton headquarters. The tree spade was designed specifically for Allan A. Myers, a division of American Infrastructure and ABC member, for greener, more cost-effective land development. Allan A. Myers now handles tough terrain and heavily wooded sites in order to harvest trees up to 10 inches in caliper, up to 25 feet tall, and re-use them on the same site. With the tree spade on display, Seth Myers, manager of Marketing at American Infrastructure, and Chip Heyser, an ISA Certified Arborist and project manager for the tree spade, presented the advantages of green efforts to improve the environment with cost-effective natural resources. Bill Graham and Dave Zeitlin of The Care of Trees ( discussed preservation and aftercare best practices.

"Conserving Resources, Adding Value" was the tag line for the event. The seminar included information for local engineers, architects and developers to show them that saving on-site, mature trees adds value and saves money compared to traditional methods. Developers not only benefit from increased property values, but they also save on move-in costs by managing stormwater run-off and complying with local tree replacement ordinances. Tree replacement ordinances can cost developers hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the strictness of the local ordinances. Often the requirements cannot be met and the developers must pay the township a fee.

"With our unique tree spade, we can use on-site trees to meet those requirements. The end result is a new residential development baring closer resemblance to a neighborhood that's been there for 20 years, with streets and yards lined with mature, large trees — saving the developer money and conserving the community's trees," Heyser said.

Designed to be a go-anywhere vehicle, the one-of-a-kind American Infrastructure Volvo/Optimal tree spade is doing constant duty no matter the season or the terrain. In recent months, the articulated chassis and all-wheel drive have proved their worth when moving 75 trees for WB homes at Asbourne Village in Lower Salford Township, Pa., and 86 trees for Guidi Builders at The Reserve at Skippack in the middle of winter.