Appalachian Land & Conservation Services Co., LLC

Where Conservation & the Marketplace Meet

ALCS Purchases Last Stock Ever of Medieval-Style Land Management Tool - Buy Yours Today!

February 27, 2021

Due to a lot of hands-on land management work controlling invasive plants, Appalachian's president had been searching for a long time for the perfect land management tool. Multiflora rose, Asian bittersweet, Russian olive, Japanese barberry, Japanese honeysuckle, and other highly destructive invasive plants all have significant root systems that can be mechanically removed. Mechanical removal takes more work but involves no chemical sprays or eventual spray resistance.

"Anyone who cares about native plants and animals wants to control invasive plants, and this tool is the answer. Foresters, landscapers, land trust staff, county conservation district staff, farm and ranch owners, this vintage 'Medieval-style' trenching/cultivating tool will be your best friend," says ALCS president Josh First.

"For a solid year I tried to manufacture something with a robust digging claw and a solid cutting on my forge, with unimpressive results. Such a tool would have to be exceptionally robust, capable of taking a tremendous amount of punishment like prying, high impact digging, and downward cutting. And then one day I purchased an antique tool that looked exactly like what I thought was needed, and had never seen before. With the tool in hand, I then found down the original manufacturer in Iowa, Vaughan & Bushnell Manufacturing. Vaughan's president told me they had not made this tool in decades. Because family farms had been the biggest users of it, and are now almost a thing of the past, demand had dropped. I asked them to look in the farthest corner of their oldest warehouse, and they indeed found several grimy old decaying cardboard boxes with these original tools in them. I bought all their remaining stock, 36, and have so far sold them mostly on the West Coast," says First.

If you work for a land trust or conservancy, a county, state, or federal agency involved in controlling noxious and invasive weeds, a landscaper, if you own a property where controlling invasive weeds is a necessity, or if you are a scary-serious gardener, then this trencher/cultivator is exactly what you need. Nothing else comes close to it. Firefighters will like the well designed hoe blade for creating fast firebreaks and the heavy duty tines for raking woody debris away.

The thick, seven-inch-long tines are like fingers probing deep into soil for roots, and the mattock head allows stubborn roots to be chopped off, or for hack-and-squirt control. The straight handle allows for some light prying action to lift root balls out of the soil. This tool has a straight handle, not the curved handle found on some older models.

The price is $55.00. Every purchase will result in a $5.00 donation to the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association. Contact if you are interested.

Here is the old V&B description of the 857-01 TC Trencher-Cultivator (which had a curved handle): "The Trencher/Cultivator is part of V&B's Groundbreaker line of industry-leading landscaping tools. It is designed for years of tough work--this versatile tool has a 3-inch-wide mattock blade and three 7-inch-long tines. The blade and tines are crafted of ductile iron that provides for design flexibility without sacrificing strength. Ductile iron is used to maximize shock resistance and provide high-impact strength while resisting corrosion, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. The tool's 36-inch ... handle is made from the finest quality flame-treated, straight-grain American hickory for strength and durability. V&B Groundbreaker tools are made with a good, practical design and rock solid strength, so you can count on them to come through--even on the toughest jobs."

The head is made of tough ductile iron and weighs 5.5 pounds, and the 36-inch-long straight hickory handle weighs about 2.5 pounds. Distance from handle tip to tool head is about 32.75". The tool head is just a hair under 16" long. Note that the measuring stick in the photos is 18" long. Each one available is a new tool that will look like the one shown in these photos, but which may have some light storage dust on it due to long warehouse storage, as well as a slightly different appearing handle color etc.
Appalachian's president, Josh First, was actively engaged in getting this legislation passed for two-and-a-half years.  For more than a year he served as the coordinator of the Abandoned Mine Lands Campaign, and then spent more time drumming up grass roots support for the legislation as a member of the coalition and as a contractor for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.  "I am proud to have worked closely with such a fine group from the environmental and coal field communities," said First.  "This is a win-win for both the environment and for coal operators, who will now get the support they need to aggressively re-mine abandoned mine lands and simultaneously reclaim them and beautify them."
36-Inch Hickory Handle
3-Inch Wide Mattock Blade
Head Just Under 16 Inches
7-Inch Long Tines
Weighs About 8 Pounds
Josh with Chestnuts

Josh with Chestnuts

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Appalachian is a small, nimble firm specializing in real estate projects that yield high returns in conservation value.  We are particular about the projects we work on, and are always open to new ideas.  Sometimes the most unlikely ideas work out the best!


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Appalachian Land & Conservation Services Co., LLC

P.O. Box 5128

Harrisburg, PA 17110

Phone: (717) 232-8335