Lehman’s office and warehouse is situated outside Dalton Ohio, less than 5 miles from our store in Kidron. The building is located in a nice rural setting: we have a horse pasture to our north, farm fields to our east and south, and a couple of residences near us to the west. Lots of green during spring to mid fall. There are some small ornamental trees around the building and a couple that have been planted on the grounds.
Jay Lehman (Lehman’s founder) loves his trees, and is known for planting a lot of trees around the area. Recently we watched him plant trees in the small field to the north of our office between Lehman’s and the horse pasture. Talking with others, I found out that Jay has been doing this a long time. I thought it would be interesting to get the whole story.
Jay stopped the tractor that holds the tree planting attachment just long enough for the fellow helping him to take a break, plan their next row, and answer a couple questions (no more than a couple – he has things to do).
“I started planting trees 25 years ago, 5,000 walnut trees, then I held off for a while,” Jay told me. He stopped planting the trees for some time but recently has resumed. “Four years ago we planted 2,000 trees, all cherry, then last year we planted 3,000 trees,” Jay said. So far this year Jay and his Amish helpers have planted 4,000 trees – white oak, red oak, maple, and cherry.
The attachment for the planting trees is quite interesting. It is a modification on a planter theme, this one manned. It is a three point hitch mounted accessory, and Jay has it mounted to an good strong tractor. The planter holds a supply of young trees and a man to do the planting. In one clean operation, the implement opens a furrow at a set depth, the planter inserts a plant, finally a wheel under pressure from a spring delicately closes the furrow from the side. The wheel spins a trip that clicks to signal to the planter when to insert another tree.
Jay tells me that with this nice implement they can plant 450 trees an hour!