Ditch Witch

I need to trench for sprinklers. The area is VERY sandy, amounting to sand dunes, but with occasional rocks, big rocks, and rocks the size of Cleveland.
I only need it to be 18" deep or so, and it will be about 800 feet or so.
What is the trenching rate for a Ditch Witch in sandy soil? I know everything won't go perfectly, but think the sandy soil will be fast in most areas, and I do have a couple of filled areas where it may be gravel and small rocks.
I've never used one of these. Any hints or caveats?
Steve
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wrote:

I assume you're talking about a walk-behind, not a backhoe mounted unit. I'd figure on a long weekend. You might do better, especially if you can avoid the "Cleveland" rock.
They go pretty well, especially in soft soil. It can get exciting when you hit a big, but not huge rock. It will lunge and buck and then toss the rock out the side. If you hit a huge rock, it will just vibrate and buck until you stop and reroute or dig the rock out by hand. Gravel and small stones are not a problem.
Have you thought about using a vibratory plow or a pipe plow instead? I'm not sure if they will go that deep, but if so, you'll have a lot less cleanup to do afterwards.
Make sure you know the location of any utilities. The trencher is an expensive way to find them.
HTH,
Paul F.
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Paul Franklin wrote:

Second the locate utilities thing. I think pretty much all areas have a "call before you dig" thing and you need to call at least a week before you plan to dig. There generally isn't any cost involved and they dispatch all the area utilities to locate and mark anything in the work area.
As for the trenching, 800' is rather a lot. I did 80' through hard TX clay with a walk behind and it was rather a chore taking several hours. If you've got big rocks to deal with a regular trencher won't cut through them (Vermeer has one that will, but I think rental and delivery might be a bit pricey). Unless you are ok with backing up and detouring each time you hit a big rock, you'll need to be prepared to deal with them.
I'd suggest a mid sized Bobcat or equivalent, with the trencher attachment as well as a hydraulic breaker attachment. Comfy relaxing work from the seat for the 800' of trenching, and when you hit a big rock, just switch to the breaker and pulverize the rock before switching back to the trencher and continuing.
I also suggest finding a rock to test the breaker on at about 8:30am to wake the neighbors up... but that's just me :)
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I have two acres. We are doing an addition, and that addition is going to be right over the existing two boxes. So, I need to start at the irrigation water inflow pipe and go from zero. The previous homeowner did not install hose bibs, and Mickey Moused the whole thing in general. There are a few lines I will be able to tap into, but for the most part, will have to do it over.
I will call the Call Before You Dig people. I have three water mains, but not a lot of utilities, as this is a rural property. Water, phone and electricity is all we have, and that is pretty well known locations. Still, I will call the 800#.
Last week, my BIL went against my orders and drug some tumbleweeds out of an area that had my neighbor's 4"irrigation water pipe. Yep, he hit it, and caused a geyser 100' high. Took several hours to fix it, as it was at a T that had a valve, and 4" doesn't move much. Maybe next time he will listen.
But, we had just finished five days of dirt and boulder removal, removing six mature pines, and various concrete slab, and he did a great job on foundation prep. Guess he was just tired.
Steve
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I'll second the trenchless vibratory plow. My Wife and I put in more that 1000' of poly pipe for our sprinkler system last fall in a single day. 800' is an aweful lot to trench, and even more to fill, fix, and re-settle afterward. It will cut tree roots and ultilities like a hot knife thru butter, so call the digger's hotline first!!

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says...

I've done several trenchs using them. They will get stuck on any rock that is wider than the trench. They also have trouble with large roots that cross the path. For my last 120' trench I rented a mini excavator and it was much better, but a lot slower. I wouldn't want to trench 800' with an excavator.
--
Dennis


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DT wrote:

Just rent a bigger trencher... Vermeer has one that will cut through granite.
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