Load the roll of fabric on the machine and place the fabric plate behind the roll. Next, place the fabric tension spring and the retaining pin. The fabric spring tension can be adjusted by turning the spring to tighten or relieve the tension on the roll of fabric. Very little tension, if any, is required except in windy conditions.
Thread the fabric under the stainless steel rod in the back of the chute. The rod in the back of the chute transitions the fabric from a horizontal to a vertical position. Pull the fabric towards the front of the machine and close the fabric chute door.
Tip the machine slightly forward with the hydraulic top link cylinder (required when using a tractor) when attached to the three point hitch of a tractor or, when using a skid loader, use the bucket cylinder. Lower the machine into the ground to the desired depth of installation. Unroll the fabric so there is slack between the roll of fabric and the chute. This will allow the ground to grab the fabric before the roll of fabric starts turning. Let the tail of the fabric drag until the desired starting point is reached. This way there is no waste of silt fence material at the beginning of each run. When one person is operating the machine, the fabric can be staked down to start and when two people are operating it, one person simply holds onto the end of the fabric.
As the machine moves forward, the fabric is grabbed by the ground as it comes out of the fabric chute. The unique positive feed design keeps the fabric tight at the top and bottom, eliminating the saggy or wavy look some silt fence installations have. Silt fence can be installed as fast as the power unit can comfortably be operated. When using a tractor, a hydraulic top link cylinder is required to adjust the plow to follow the terrain of the ground. This keeps the machine from nose diving into the ground or coming out of the ground. With a skid loader, the bucket cylinder is used to follow the terrain of the ground.
When the end of the silt fence is reached, the fabric can be cut off above the chute and run out. It can also be cut from each side of the fabric approximately 1/3 of the way to the center. After the cut fabric comes out the back of the chute, it can then be cut all the way through and the machine lifted out of the ground. Ending the run this way does not require the fabric to be re-fed through the chute.
Pack the silt fence in using the power unit to drive down each side of the silt fence. The Silt Fence Plow shears a 2″ wide trench upward disturbing a minimal amount of soil. The disturbed dirt is loosened to create optimum soil conditions for mechanical compaction.
After the fabric has been properly compacted, it cannot be pulled out of the ground. In most cases, if the silt fence has to be removed, a log chain needs to be tied to the fabric and it is pulled out by a power unit. Removing silt fence this way can disturb the soil greatly. When silt fence removal is required, some people attach a blade to a weed eater and cut the fabric off at the top of the ground and leave the underground portion untouched.
When using steel posts, they can be driven into the ground with the bucket of a tractor of a skid loader. Steel posts can be recycled and used over many times. Wooden posts are generally driven with a sledgehammer or a pneumatic post driver.
When attaching the silt fence to wood posts, it can be stapled directly to the posts or wood lath can be used to sandwich the fabric for better holding. At least 5 staples are required per post and the posts are to be spaced, depending on the amount of water flow the area will receive, 4 to 8′ apart. Always place posts on the downhill side of the fence to support the fence. Posts need to be driven in the ground as deep as the fabric is sticking out of the ground.
When attaching the silt fence to steel posts, it is recommended that 2 to 3 zip ties be used in the upper 8″ of the fence and tied diagonally to the post for better strength (most common ties are automotive zip ties). Always place post on the downhill side of the fence. Posts need to be driven as deep in the ground as the fabric is out of the ground.
Loaded up and ready to go to the next job.