Power Planter: Review

Got large amounts of small tube stock and plants to get in the ground? The power planter will do the trick!

The beauty of this power planter is for planting out large amounts of small tube stock and plants. It creates a planting hole without having to use a shovel or spade. At the time of writing this I had a shoulder injury that was aggravated by the jolting action of digging. 

So I was looking for a way to plant and tray of native tube stock that wouldn’t aggravate my shoulder. The power planter was a great solution, allowing me to create appropriately sized planting holes without any of the harsh jolting action associated with digging.

What is the power planter exactly?

Basically, it is a mini auger. You attach the bit, called the Power Planter, to a drill and its spiralling shaft ‘drills’ into the ground and removes the dirt from the hole via the spiral action. They come in a range of sizes and will fit into a domestic-sized drill. 

Made in the US for Australian brand Aussie Gardener, they come in a range of varying lengths and widths depending on the job you need to tackle. I’m testing the 324H Power Planter, which is 60cm long and 7.5cm wide.

How does the power planter work?

You fit the planter into your drill just as you would any drill bit, but it’s important to get the torque and mode settings right on your drill based on how hard the ground is. 

You want to start with your drill set on the lowest speed setting, which generally applies more torque than the higher speed settings, and this is usually represented by a three-way switch on the top of the drill. You then need to spin the clutch adjuster around to a low-ish number which will actuate the clutch early and stop the planter from spinning instead of ripping your wrists around if the planter catches on something. 

You will need to experiment with what works best for you and your situation, ie. softness of soil, strength of drill and strength of your grip. If the clutch intervention is too sensitive, it will keep stopping every time you hit a small rock or root and you won’t get anywhere.

POwer planter review

Ease of use

The first time I used it, it took a bit of fiddling to get the setting right, so that it didn’t just keep slipping every time I hit resistance. I also went the other way a couple of times and the drill wrenched my wrists around. Once I got the setting right for my conditions, it was pretty easy to use. 

The 324H’s longer length meant I didn’t have to crouch right down to ground level each time, meaning I could make the holes while standing and get more of my body weight over the top of the drill. 

The other trick I worked out is to just drill down a bit then pull up and pull the soil out as you go. If it gets stuck in the ground, just put the drill in reverse and pull it out.

Bioguano Australia

The verdict

It was a good way to dig lots of small holes for planting tube stock. I wouldn’t bother using it in my vegie beds where the soil is soft and friable, nor am sure how well it would work for bigger trees as I found it struggled once it got too deep and into the hard dirt. It didn’t like roots much either. 

Aussie Gardener does recommend using a drill handle which enables you to use a more powerful setting, while holding the drill straight and with more leverage to stop it being wrenched around if it becomes caught. It took a bit of fiddling up and down in areas which were rocky or had existing tree roots, but it eventually got through and made the hole without me having to apply lots of strength or effort.

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