Should I be using a box blade?

N1smo

New member

Equipment
BX2380
Jan 29, 2021
4
5
3
Alberta
Hello everyone. New and proud owner of a BX2380.

One of the reasons I bought myself a tractor is that our land which we bought a few years ago, was poorly neglected and there are tons and tons of pocket gopher mounds. There’s literally mounds over older mounds on over even older mounds. So today I took a stab to try to “level” it with my box blade with my scarifiers all the way down. I also used the FEL on areas the box blade would reach. The box blade kind of worked ok, but I’m wondering if I’m using the right tool because there’s a lot of soil clumps sitting around and I want to get to a point where I can throw down some grass seeds.

So my question to you fine folks is do I continue with the box blade and try to break down as much as the soil as possible or is there another tool? Ideally it would be nice for me to keep using what I have (box blade and fel) but I will take any advice!
 

chimpywrench

Member

Equipment
B2601 w/backhoe and all the toys, K008 mini ex
Oct 24, 2019
226
7
18
Urbana, IL, USA
How big are the mounds and what is the consistency of the soil?

Have you tried driving backwards with your box blade (no scarifiers)?
 

NCL4701

Active member

Equipment
L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500 rotary cutter, etc.
Apr 27, 2020
314
206
43
Central Piedmont, NC
Based on the question, I take it you just want to wipe out the holes, level, and prep for grass. I’m also assuming this is in a relatively open area where you could run at least a tiller.

1. If it’s a small area you might get through it with a box blade. Will take some skill to get good results and will be SLOW. Maybe that’s OK, but if it was, I figure you wouldn’t have posted the question.

2. If it’s a relatively large area you might consider a tiller. You may be able to rent one to use with your tractor if you don’t have one and don’t care to purchase due to budget or just needing it for a one time thing.

3. If it’s a really large area (or a large area but you happen to have a disc and a drag) you might consider a disc harrow followed by a chain drag.

Using the box blade will work, but will take some skill and a LOT of patience. Tiller would be much faster as once it’s set up, you pretty much just drive. Disc and drag would be MUCH faster (as in many acres in a day faster) limited by the size disc harrow your tractor can pull. Unless you’re really good with the box blade (and maybe you are) you’ll get more consistent results with a tiller or disc harrow.

BTW, I have no clue what size tiller or disc harrow or chain drag your tractor will pull. Your owner manual should provide some guidance on implement size limitations and others here with similar machines should be able assist as well.
 

Papadiver

Member

Equipment
BX2380 FEL, MMM, 3rd Valve, Grapple
Feb 10, 2019
61
15
8
WV
I leveled out a 3 acre field with my box blade. I used my Ford 1720 and a heavier box blade. Your BX2380 will do fine it will just take a little longer. When you’re finished cutting raise your scarifiers back up and level the blade up, start out with the blade off the ground enough that it knocks the tops off of the tallest clumps. Then lower it a bit and make several more passes. Then do it again lower it and make several more passes. If the ground is dry it will be faster if the ground is damp you won’t get as good of results. The idea is to level and distribute the dirt around and make it all smooth. when you feel you have it as good as you can get it with that you do need to drag it with something. They make drag chains but you can rig something. I pulled a railroad cross tie crossways behind the tractor. I used my BX2380 for this. I use a titan 3 point hitch bar. You will need a long chain. Find the center and pull that through a closed link on the hitch bar. Open it up pull the loose ends through. Now the chain is attached to the tractor. Wrap each loose end around each end of the cross tie and start pulling. That will pulverize all of the clods and smooth everything out. There are more attachments you can buy and probably some will do it faster. But you can do it this way with minimal cost and use what you have. If you are brand new to a box blade it will take some patience and practice.
 

Borgf15

Member

Equipment
MX5400
Mar 4, 2020
32
13
8
ID
Hello everyone. New and proud owner of a BX2380.

One of the reasons I bought myself a tractor is that our land which we bought a few years ago, was poorly neglected and there are tons and tons of pocket gopher mounds. There’s literally mounds over older mounds on over even older mounds. So today I took a stab to try to “level” it with my box blade with my scarifiers all the way down. I also used the FEL on areas the box blade would reach. The box blade kind of worked ok, but I’m wondering if I’m using the right tool because there’s a lot of soil clumps sitting around and I want to get to a point where I can throw down some grass seeds.

So my question to you fine folks is do I continue with the box blade and try to break down as much as the soil as possible or is there another tool? Ideally it would be nice for me to keep using what I have (box blade and fel) but I will take any advice!
If you haven't already, I'd get rid of the gophers, otherwise you'll just end up with more mounds after leveling. They make traps and bait to get rid of them.
 
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Captain13

Active member

Equipment
M7040 4WD ROPS, ZD28
Feb 27, 2019
164
28
28
Kathleen, GA
Papa diver has a good point above. I found a chain link fence gate that I turned into a drag. It breaks up the dirt clods and smooths everything out, especially prior to seeding.
 

Old_Paint

Active member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
LX2610HSDSU, LA535 FEL w/54" bucket, LandPride BB1248, Woodland Mills WC-68
Dec 5, 2020
563
244
43
AL
Or just call Bill Murray. This is so reminiscent of Caddy Shack. If I read the word gopher, I instantly think of that movie.

On the serious side, though:

If you've got grass/trees in the area, you're gonna be getting a lot of surface debris/roots that mix with the dirt, and basically stop the blade from cutting. While mixing the debris into the soil is normally a good thing in gardening, not so much with a box blade when trying to level. The debris tends to catch the dirt and make worse mounds than the gophers. The blade was designed to cut dirt, but ain't worth diddly on straw and fine roots. Don't get me wrong, I like my BB, but it didn't take long to figure out I was using a left-handed waffle turner in a right handed iron. I found the scarifiers help collect some of it like a coarse rake, but they don't sift the dirt out so well because they don't roll the debris. So, do you push the debris into a hole somewhere, or find a way to use it? I'm filling up erosion ditches with it, trying to reclaim a lot that should have been cleaned and prepped back in 1975 when my house was built. I'll worry about the drainage when I get that far in the yard.

What one other suggested about pushing with the BB is actually a brilliant idea for knocking down the mounds before you try to smooth them. Pushing (backward) with the BB makes it a bit more aggressive on a mound of dirt because the 3PH won't lift when the blade digs in. It behaves more like a dozer than a scraper when going backward. Tilting it to neutral (no forward or reverse tilt) will keep it from trying to dig too deep, but still let it scalp high spots. I had several mounds from uprooted trees that storms pushed over. I pushed the mounds into the associated holes, then put the scarifiers down to loosen up the soil some, and finally, just scraped and packed until I was happy with the surface. Don't know how much this compares to your gopher problem, but a mound is a mound and a hole is a hole.

Having done a similar job on a Ford 3000 with a 10' disc and 20 feet of train rail in a large open field that wild hogs had rooted in, you're in for the ride of your life if you choose this option. We were planting millet for dove hunting fields. You might guess why the wild hogs were so excited after the millet was ripe. If you cultivate with the disc, then drag the rail behind it, you will have a very level and smooth lot. I don't remember the field size, but I spent 14 hours on that tractor that day, being bounced off the fenders and shaken like a rag doll, with no seat belts or safety switches, mind you. But I was 15, strong, and really scared of coming off that big tractor. I think I pinched a hole in the steel seat a couple times. There were wallows that 3000 would disappear in. I can't imagine a tiller being any better, because the implement isn't what's going to beat you up. It's the hills/holes that are bigger than the tractor, let alone the wheels/tires.

Discs don't like real slow speed, but you don't want them throwing dirt in the air, either. Just fast enough to roll it over, which probably won't be a very comfortable speed in what you describe. Don't try to sink the disc to the spindles on the first pass either. Good way to break a disc in hard soil or root hazards. Don't ask me how I know or how many I've had to change, and it always seemed to be one that required complete disassembly of the shaft. There was typically a lecture involved as well. Discs won't typically turn the soil as well at creep speed which you will want to run on very rough terrain. Just gonna have to wear the belt and hang on. Turning and moving the dirt is part of the levelling process. Multiple passes will completely pulverize ANYTHING in the soil. You decide what's pulverized enough. Same principle with the rail, multiple passes to drag down all the high spots and fill up the holes as needed. It will tend to pack some as it smooths. This was also an annual treatment for our small feed corn field, to chop up the stalks and smooth out the previous year's rows. You might want to make one more shallow pass with the disc and a piece of chain-link fence for a drag after that to remedy deeper tire tracks and packed spots.

Another option, that I'm considering because I also have some terrain smoothing objectives, is a landscaping rake. They're not super expensive, and can probably find other purposes as well as levelling soil and debris collection/removal. I have plenty rocks (golf ball to basketball size) and roots to test the quality and durability of any rake that claims to be the best. I'm also considering a scarifier without a blade, that I can follow up with the rake. Something like a mulit-tooth sub soiler, but not as large. Dunno if I can find such a beast, but I can see a much quicker surface prep method with that. Gotta break up the soil before it can be moved.
 

NCL4701

Active member

Equipment
L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500 rotary cutter, etc.
Apr 27, 2020
314
206
43
Central Piedmont, NC
Something like a mulit-tooth sub soiler, but not as large. Dunno if I can find such a beast, but I can see a much quicker surface prep method with that. Gotta break up the soil before it can be moved.
[/QUOTE]
There are a variety of such things from cultivators to chisel plows. Sounds like what you’re thinking of is essentially the ripper part of a box blade without the box blade. They are available.


Others make them as well. That’s just an example.
 

UpNorthMI

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
L3200, L3901, MX5800, SVL75-2, KX040
May 12, 2020
590
311
63
Up North, MI
I have one of the scarifier bars by Land Shark, it is a very useful attachment for breaking up ground. It’s designed to attach another attachment behind, I often add a landscape rake. I purchased from EA about 4 years ago, I would recommend it.
 
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Old_Paint

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
LX2610HSDSU, LA535 FEL w/54" bucket, LandPride BB1248, Woodland Mills WC-68
Dec 5, 2020
563
244
43
AL
Something like a mulit-tooth sub soiler, but not as large. Dunno if I can find such a beast, but I can see a much quicker surface prep method with that. Gotta break up the soil before it can be moved.
There are a variety of such things from cultivators to chisel plows. Sounds like what you’re thinking of is essentially the ripper part of a box blade without the box blade. They are available.


Others make them as well. That’s just an example.
[/QUOTE]
Found the EA version right after I wrote that. But thanks anyway.
 

GreensvilleJay

Well-known member

Equipment
BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
2,147
370
83
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
re: there are tons and tons of pocket gopher mounds

over what size area ? 1 acre....50 acres ? Size matters ! There are lots of options....

first thought is to use a rototiller, hit all mounds going 'north-south', then 'east-west'. That'll level th emounds pretty fast. After that run bar/chain to level things up.

if the area is small, consider simply plowing the field, disc,bar/chain then seed.

A lot depends on how nice a lawn you want. The better the prep, the bette rthe lawn AND easier to mow.
 

tradosaurus

Member

Equipment
Kubota MX5400 HST, Land Pride RCR2660 , EA 60" Xtreme grapple, EA box blade
Mar 7, 2019
79
47
18
Texarkana, Tx, USA
Gopher traps

I had a number of gophers and these traps will make quick work of them. You might want to get at least 4 traps. One gopher can make a few mounds.
 

jaargh

New member

Equipment
BX1880V w/LA344 FEL, BB1248 Scraper, RCR1248 Brush Mower, 60" Rock Rake
Mar 30, 2021
22
19
3
southern california
I am no expert.. had my tiny tractor less than one week. My 2 acre lower field is a nightmare of thick weeds, rocks and gopher mounds... I am now looking into a landscape rake to level those mounds and clear the rocks.. search landscape rake on youtube.. that may be what you want
 

i7win7

Active member

Equipment
BX2370, B2650 grapple, tree puller, trailer mover, 3 point hoist, mower, tiller
Feb 21, 2020
604
242
43
Central, IL
Plan on spreading grub killer this year, trapping what I can. Doesn't take long to keep lawn rolled.
 

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