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How Does a Ditch Witch Work—Is it Right for Me?

Did you know the Ditch Witch was the first mechanized compact service-line trencher, and it was created in 1949? Until then, digging trenches for jobs like laying down water pipes relied on exhausting manual labor.

If you have a job that requires digging small trenches, the Ditch Witch can save you hours of work. But how does a ditch witch work? Read on to learn about these time-saving trenchers.

image - How Does a Ditch Witch Work—Is it Right for Me?
How Does a Ditch Witch Work—Is it Right for Me?

How Does a Ditch Witch Work?

A Ditch Witch trencher uses a vertical bucket line to dig a trench. The average Ditch Witch has a 12-foot continuous conveyor chain, a feature the larger-scale trenchers also possess. The chain has 24 small digging buckets with knife-like blades attached to the chain to dig out the dirt.

The buckets are attached sequentially to the Ditch Witch’s conveyor chain, which loops to pull them down and remove chunks of dirt.

They carry the soil up, dumping it in piles on the ground. As you continue working, the cycle begins again and the buckets bring up more soil. With a Ditch Witch rental, you can usually dig a trench 12 to 48 inches deep and 3 to 16 inches wide.

Ditch Witch Trencher Operation

A 7-horsepower internal combustion engine powers the typical Ditch Witch. The engine transfers power through a drive belt, as a lawn tractor’s engine does.

The operator sits at the top of the Ditch Witch, using hand controls to determine the depth of the hole and the angle at which the machine digs it. Its lightweight frame and four wheels give it excellent mobility. It is the perfect option for digging trenches in confined spaces.

Although Ditch Witches are sturdy and dependable, a common issue people operating them face is broken transmitters. Knowing where to buy subsite transmitters is vital when relying on a Ditch Witch.

Ditch Witch Uses

A Ditch Witch performs the same jobs as steam shovels and wheel trenchers, but they do so at a smaller scale. If you need to dig small trenches to carry water, telephone, and power lines, you want a Ditch Witch.

Because they are easy to operate and offer excellent maneuverability, Ditch Witches have commercial and residential uses. Homeowners use them often to install lawn sprinkler systems and to plant trees.

A trencher like a Ditch Witch should not be used to cut through roots because it can damage the mechanism.

Renting a Ditch Witch can cost between $130 to $300 a day, depending on the exact model. Renting it by the week usually offers more economical rates. If hiring someone to operate the machine, plan on spending between $40 and $75 per hour.

Easily Dig Trenches

If you have ever asked yourself “how does a Ditch Witch work?”, the answer shows you how helpful they can be.

If you need to dig small trenches, the Ditch Witch is the right choice. Because it can tackle even tight spaces, it works as well for residential projects as for commercial ones.

To learn more about renting equipment for home improvement projects, turn to our Home Improvement page!


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