Habitat Enhancement Equipment available for Landowners

An increasing number of Oklahoma landowners want to improve their wildlife habitat, but so often equipment is the limiting factor to their success. Without going to great expense to pur­chase several pieces of equipment, landowners are often left with few options to enhance wildlife habitat.

With help from the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Unlimited, Charles Blankenship (Big John Tree Spade Company) and private dona­tions, the Department has acquired some specialized equipment for habi­tat enhancements. The Department has two tree spades with support equipment and one roller chopper that are available for landowners to use for wildlife habitat enhancement projects. The equipment can be rented for a small fee that will be used for annual maintenance costs.  

The tree spade can be used on ripar­ian habitat projects, establishing turkey roost sites, and to create shrub motts for quail and small game. Much faster than hand-planting individual tree seedlings, the tree spade is ideal for moving shrubs like sand plum or sumac and trees up to four inches in diameter. Landowners renting this equipment will be operator manual and personal instructions on operations. The preferred time for transplanting is during winter months when shrubs and trees are dormant. Landowners can reserve rental dates for the tree spade between December 15 through March 1 annually.  The tree spade rents for $100/day and landowners are required to put up a $250 repair deposit. Landowners must also provide evidence that OKIE has been contacted and provide proof that no underground lines or pipes are on the area where the equipment will be used.

A machine called a roller chopper, can be used for landowners wanting to set back rangeland succession and reduce the canopy of brush structure. Landowners wanting to rent the roller chopper must have access to a tractor with at least 80 hp that is required to pull the machine. The roller chopper rents for $50/day.

The roller chopper and the tree spade are available for landowner use from December 15 through March 1 of every year. The equipment is located at the Wildlife Department’s Northwest Regional Office in Woodward. Landowners interested in using this equipment and who would like additional information should contact that office at (580) 254-9173.

.pull behin tractor roller chopper up close

Caption: Pulled behind a tractor, roller choppers crush and chop brush, small trees, and heavy plant growth. They also disturb the soil and allow sunlight and rain to reach the surface and encourage the growth of more desirable plants. A wide range of wildlife can benefit from this practice including quail, deer and turkeys.

pull behin tractor roller chopper




tree spade attached to the hitch of a truck




tree spade


Caption: The tree spade, used for transplanting trees and shrubs, can be used on riparian habitat projects, establishing turkey roost sites, and to create shrub thickets for quail and small game. Landowners renting this equipment will be provided an operator to run the machine.