Submitted to: Resource Magazine
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/2/2003
Publication Date: 12/1/2003
Citation: Schilling, J., Burner, D.M. 2003. O TANNENBAUM: CHRISTMAS TREE SHEARING BY A REMOTE-OPERATED RIG. RESOURCE, ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY FOR A SUSTAINABLE WORLD. 10(12:9-10. Interpretive Summary: Live Christmas tree production can be highly profitable with annual U.S. sales of $1.2 billion in 2002. However, increased production costs, changing markets (wholesale vs. retail), competition with artificial trees, aging of producers, and labor demands have caused a precipitous decrease in the number of producers in the last few decades. Mechanization of the shearing/pruning operation could encourage landowners to grow Christmas trees by reducing labor demands and increasing workers safety. This paper describes a tractor-drawn rig designed for remote, walk-behind operation which serves as a platform for supporting a hand-held shearing machine. These results are of interest to current and potential Christmas tree growers.
Technical Abstract: This paper describes a tractor-drawn rig designed for remote, walk-behind operation. We describe its specific application for Christmas tree shearing, but there may be other applications as well. The concept for the rig arose at the Schilling Christmas Tree Farm near Jacksonville, Arkansas, where trees are grown on raised beds to improve growth on the heavy soil. The beds are about 1.1 m-wide (3.5') wide and raised about 15 cm (6') above the alley middle. During shearing, the worker steps up and down from the bed several times while walking around each tree, perhaps lugging a 14 kg (30 lb), hand-held shearing machine. The rig basically serves to support a Saje shearing machine (Sheerlund Products, Reading, PA) , to reduce worker fatigue and improve safety during Christmas tree shearing.