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Old 04-02-2012, 01:12 PM
 
8 posts, read 8,699 times
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Default Planting trees in Stone Oak

Looking to plant a couple of trees in the backyard and (as expected), hit rock after digging less than a foot. Thinking a sledgehammer may help, but not certain.

Anyone thats done this before - how did you dig through the the rock and any helpful tips you can provide?

Thanks
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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If you are young and have a lot of strength & energy and want to show your kids how the Romans used to do it:

You need a large chisel. The best thing is called a tamper bar (google it)..it looks like a 6 foot tall chisel with a nail head on one end. They weigh about 50lbs so gravity provides all the force you need. Crowbars & hammer work too. And then a smaller sledge known as a enigneering hammer works better than a full size sledge.

But your best option is to rent an electric jackhammer for about $35 for 4 hours from Lowes or home depot. It will cut through limestone like a warm knife through butter. It is money well spent and it is fun to use.


BTW - Stone Oak doesnt have special limestone and it isnt the only part of the city with solid limestone 3 inches below the grass. It is just the part of the city CPS & developers were too cheap/lazy to trench for natural gas.

Good Luck
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:40 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
557 posts, read 576,645 times
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I can't remember the name of it, but there is a tool that you can buy at Lowe's or Home Depot that basically looks like a big black metal pole with a point at one end, and a flat end (like a screwdriver) at the other end. It is quite heavy, but basically you slam that into the hole that you've dug and break up the rock, then keep digging.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chud View Post
I can't remember the name of it, but there is a tool that you can buy at Lowe's or Home Depot that basically looks like a big black metal pole with a point at one end, and a flat end (like a screwdriver) at the other end. It is quite heavy, but basically you slam that into the hole that you've dug and break up the rock, then keep digging.

That one is called a Pinch bar - My dad still has a very old one made out of the solid drive shaft of a model T. You can see the threading and markings on it. A relic of a by-gone era.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:55 PM
 
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Liking both the electric jackhammer and pinch bar ideas. The pinch bar is probably a good investment since I'll be planting more trees/shrubs etc in the future.
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Mid South Central TX
2,393 posts, read 4,301,841 times
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Yep we bought a *****xe, etc when we lived off Thousand Oaks and Jones-Maltsberger...still use here in Stone Oak...

BTW, we DO have natural gas here (not in all parts, but where I live we do)
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:29 PM
 
330 posts, read 854,762 times
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I'd recommend biting the bullet and buying a used electric jack hammer. I've been passing on the opportunity for years, telling myself year and year that I'll never need it again, and year after year I'm slamming my pinch bar into solid rock, killing myself. It's VERY hard work. I just spent yesterday creating nine holes for planting, wishing I had followed my own advice.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Stone Oak
300 posts, read 611,629 times
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Several years ago I bought 5 crepe myrtles for planting along my back fence and soon discovered solid limestone after about 1/2 foot. It was not the broken up kind you can cart off in chunks, it was actually a giant solid block that appeared to extend along my fence. I went to a nearby home construction site, asked if anyone was interested in some weekend work, found a guy and rented an electric jackhammer from Lowes. It took about 1/2 day per large hole. I can't remember the cost, but it easily doubled the cost of my crepe myrtles. It was a pain in the wallet, but at least I know my Stone Oak home is less likely to have a buckling foundation. :-)
Next time I get a tree I'll buy from a place that offers free tree planting.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:03 AM
 
1,066 posts, read 2,066,538 times
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The key whether using the tamper/pinch bar or jackhammer..is to use a broad flat chisel head (The jackhammer comes with about 5 heads, and pinch bar has a chisel & spike ends).

You will want to chisel in a linear fashion (i.e keep going in a line across the spot, just dont concentrate in one spot). This starts to score the rock. This will cause the limestone to fracture & crack in larger chuncks instead of just breaking it apart.

When I rented the jackhammer, my neighbor and I did about 10 fence post holes about 2-3 foot deep in a little over an hour. So it went really quick & easy for us. It is a 2 man job, one to handle the jackhammer and one to excavate the rock from the holes.
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