American company Carlton has been in the business of manufacturing stump grinders since 1952 and offers a wide range of units from a petrol-powered 13hp pedestrian model to a massive 250hp machine with remote control. In between, there is something for everybody.
Last autumn Orange Plant announced it had taken on the distributorship for Carlton stump grinders. Modified to comply with European legislation, the machines are marketed under the Carlton Europe brand.
The SP5014TRX is the latest stump grinder from Carlton Europe. It is superbly compact, tracked and radio remote-controlled. The unusually short track base is surprisingly stable and helps manoeuvrability - a potential benefit if working in tight spaces.
This unit employs a rubber high-track system incorporating multiple idler rollers and spring tensioning to keep the track at optimal efficiency for running and tracking. We did find some ground disturbance, but wet weather the previous few days had left the ground soft at Westonbirt.
There is a choice of engines for the SP5014TRX - either 33hp or 44hp Kubota diesels or 35hp Vanguard petrol. We use the latter.
What really impresses is the teeth. This is Carlton's Razer cutting wheel and when the teeth are in good condition they will shave off 120mm of stump in a single pass. They are aggressive. We are impressed by the arc. This machine has a cutting sweep of 50in (127cm).
If we have a complaint, it is about the guarding. "The top guard is fixed and solid, and it keeps catching on the stump," notes Jane. He admits that he is not a fan of remote-control units that use paddles. "They are either on or off," he adds.
Jane is also disappointed with the working depth. The SP5014TRX only works down to 14in (35.5cm) below ground level. That might be sufficiently deep for most needs, but not for the team at Westonbirt. They like to ensure that all the stump is removed and even trace the roots out to reduce the risks of pests, diseases and regrowth.
Engine 44hp Kubota diesel (30hp Kubota diesel or 35hp Vanguard petrol optional)
Cutting wheel 21in (53cm) diameter Razor wheel, 1.25in (31.7mm) thick, with 36 carbide-tipped Sandvik teeth
Cutting depth 14in (35.5cm) below ground
Cutting height 34in (86cm) above ground
Dimensions (LxWxH) 213x134x247cm
List price £26,495 or £28,175 with Vari-Track, both + VAT
Contact Carlton Europe (a brand of Orange Plant) - 0191 236 7795
Tested This Issue
Carlton SP7015 TRX
The Review Panel
Dan Goulbourne, trainee arborist, Westonbirt Arboretum
Andrew Jane, operations support officer, Westonbirt Arboretum