1T bulk bags top dress / soil handling

Does anyone have a method of safely removing 1T bulk bags of material from the back of a van quickly with resorting to shovels / barrows.

It's at customers sites, so no fork trucks etc. Just wondering as we've quite a few large top dress jobs coming up and trying to weigh up the best approach

to get material on site. Bulk delivery via lorry and drop off in most cases not an option.

In the past we've got round by using 25kg bags and man handling - just wondering if there is a better way.

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  • PRO

    they just need to be unloaded from the van - it'll then go and get another one. The top dress is kiln dried so spreads nicely.

    We're using a mixture of broadcast spreaders, sisis top dress droppers and barrows/shovels, followed by brushes / lutes / dragmats.

  • would slitting the bag down the side a bit at a time with a barrow and a peace of board as a shoot work? I have never tried it

  • PRO

    Off tangent, but can the Supplier provide in 500kg jumbo bags ? I reckon with the right 'floor covering' in the van, that's pullable off a van by two men. Especially if you use the two shovel slide trick....

  • PRO
    We loaded and unloaded some pallets of granite paving into and out of my VW Transporter using machine rounded tree stakes.
    If you have bulk bag loaded on to a sheet of plywood which sits on the rollers it will quite easily out of the van. Be careful not to stand in its way on the way down as you will not stop it.
    For ramps I used some 8x2" timber loading ramps, however my pallets were only 300 kg.

    This process would probably not butter any parsnips with our health and safety managers!

    Good luck

  • PRO
    I was working at a house where there was an extension being built, after all the other guys had left a 7.5 tonne parcel delivery truck with a taill lift pulled up. The driver had a pallet with a pack of bricks on it and started to get it off on a hand pallet truck using the tail lift.

    I looked at the soft ground and thought to myself that he couldn't seriously be considering trying to manoeuvre the loaded pallet truck on it.

    He pulled the first set of wheels onto the soft ground and it would not move any further, so he actually got into the lorry and drove it forward pulling the tails lift out from under the hand pallet truck, which promptly sank into the ground. By the time he had walked around the back of the lorry all you could see was the handle sticking out from under the pallet of bricks.

    He looked at me and said "Are you going to help me to move these bricks?".


    I went home and left him to it, sometimes a initial bit of hand mauling can save a lot of hassle later.

  • PRO

    I just get bulk bags delivered to customer's site and man handle into wheel barrows for spreading over the lawn. I have considered a pallet type truck too but the small wheels is a no no for most sites. For smaller lawns, I have put a few 40litre builder's tubs filled with top dressing into the van so more of less same approach as buying in the 25kg bags. It's more expensive to buy the 25kg bags though but factoring in the labour to fill up the tubs, its not a huge difference. I would like to know if there is a solution to this as what do landscapers do via their typical 3.5t Transit type open trailer vans? How much can the tail lift take on these vans?  

  • PRO

    Andrew - how are you getting the bags in the van in the first place - via the supplier on pallet truck? 

  • PRO

    We have access to a fork lift truck & driver at our site, so they can load a pallet or bag if need be.

  • PRO

    Hi Andy,

    Not sure if you can remember but at the UKLCA meeting there was a guy in the hallway who had basically a sack truck that he had adapted for the bulk bags. Not sure if that would help. Otherwise is a cut the sides and shovel into the barrow.

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