Sheer Insanity: How I used a Sur-Ron to plant 500 trees in just one day

So I’ve owned a Sur-Ron Light Bee for about 2 years now. I’ve used it extensively to get around on my 42 acres and it’s become more of a UTV than a recreation bike (my one year review is here). About a month ago my wife and I went to a local nursery and bought almost 1000 trees at a deeply discounted price as the owner was about to plant them out into the field and every tree he sold to us was one more he didn’t have to plant. Planting trees in the peak of summer is exactly what you are NOT supposed to do, and there were heavy rains in the forecast for the next 2 days so I did something that I thought would be impossible. Without anybody else to help, I pulled a 16 hour day and managed to get over 500 trees (300 Hazelnuts and 200 Chestnuts) into the ground over a 42 acre plot in a single day. This article is about how I pulled it off and why I think the Sur-Ron is the best farm vehicle to be had.

A broken piece of PVC pipe, an old shovel, some aluminum square scrap, and a milk crate … ♬ these are a few of my favorite things ♬

First off, let me be clear, while I can plant 500 trees in a day, the prep work for the sites has taken me many months. I’ve swaled out my entire property to catch water from running off the hill with bulldozers and then flagged out each tree site and put 1/2 wheelbarrow of woodchips and a giant scoop of poop. This site prep work takes up 80% of the time of planting a tree, to actually plant the physical tree is really relatively fast.

The Sur-Ron has a piece of scrap 1 1/2″ PVC zip-tied to the frame to hold my shovel. There is also a large milk crate on the back that slides on an off. The milk crate is also held on by large zip ties, but there are 2 pieces of scrap aluminum that I mounted to the frame of the Sur-Ron by removing the seat. Installing these pieces of aluminum scrap took about an hour, but it has paid for itself many times over. Being able to carry tools around with you is invaluable and I wish that Sur-Ron would have more factory mounting points for racks and cargo containers. Hopefully, with the upcoming larger Sur-Ron Storm Bee there will be more options.

Here you can see the aluminum scrap connected to the frame as extensions

Currently, my property looks like the surface of the moon with lots of rough terrain and holes everywhere. The dozer ripped up huge clumps of sod which are laying everywhere making navigation hazardous. I can go about 3x faster in the Sur Ron than anything else because I can easily weave around these hazards. Since I had to plant the 500 trees I got from Z’s Nutty Ridge all over my property I needed something that would quickly get me to where I wanted to go and could carry at least 25 trees at a time.

These were the trays that my seedling trees came in, they were about 1 square foot cubed and fit nicely in my crate

Since the trees are hard to get out of the plugs and this was the first time I’ve planted plugs, I created a system where I would submerge all 25 trees in a 55 gallon drum with water before I took them out to be planted. This would saturate the soil the trees were in and make them much easier to remove from the plugs. The dripping trees would sit in my rear crate while I raced to the place where I wanted to plant them and then the planting would begin.

Sometimes the shovel hits the front fender while turning, but it is flexible

I would take the frame with 25 trees and walk along the row I was planting throwing a plug near each pile of wood chips and poop I had previously staged. Once they were all out I would grab the shovel off the Sur-Ron and then stab it into the woodchip pile as hard as I could, push the shovel forward and then throw the tree and the plug behind the shovel and pull the shovel out. Stomping down on either side of the tree is the last step, then it’s off to the next tree. The final step was going back and picking up all the empty plugs and putting them in the tray and heading back to the staging area.

Here you can see the rows of trees planted with tree tubes and stakes as deer protection

The Sur Ron goes over 40mph on the straights and when it’s slightly downhill and it feels pretty darn safe at those speeds as long as there are no large bumps. Ripping back and forth between the tree planting and the staging area was my favorite part of planting that day. After 16 hours of planting I felt like I could barely walk, but I never dumped the bike or had any close calls. Every time I get on my slow lawn tractor and start it up and have to listen to the noise and the fumes it ruins my whole day. The Sur-Ron is a startling contrast without any fumes, almost totally silent and incredibly fun to ride. People are absolutely crazy about this e-moto and after you get used to having one it’s easy to see why.

This shows the crate partially pulled off, it can be removed easily and there are 2 pieces of square aluminum that fit inside each other

When I worked with my wife without any ebike we generally can get about 60 trees in the ground in a day. When we use an ebike like my Phatter Phukker that number jumps up to over 100 in a day, but only with the Sur Ron can I break 500 trees in a single day. The Sur-Ron is the most utilitarian speed demon I’ve ever laid my paws on. I couldn’t imagine trying to plant 5000 trees in a year without it. The stock Sur-Ron is available on (Spring?) sale for $3300 here or the 10% more powerful Sur Ron X in Black is available for $3700 here. I’ve regretted a lot of things I’ve done in my life, but I’ve never regretted getting a Sur Ron.

It’s better to regret something that you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.

Ride On.

I did the rough 42 acres of dozing in the winter and the finish dozing in the fall when it’s dry

Karl Gesslein is a degenerate hooligan of the highest caliber living in upstate NY. His passion for e-bikes and all things sustainable causes him to be obsessed with climate change and finding solutions that will keep humanity from becoming extinct from our own hubris. His personal blogs include electricbike-blog.com, awaken-spirit.org & chestnutparadise.com.


2 Comments

  1. So how did you keep the charge up on the battery during the day? Plug in every time you went back to base for a new load? Long lunch? I’m assuming it couldn’t hold up for all 16 hrs… or could it?

  2. Nice article. This was something that liked to read with a smile on my face. Well use of the bike.

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