Ditch Witch Trenching Tips


Old 09-21-15, 06:48 PM
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Ditch Witch Trenching Tips

Not sure if this goes in this area or elsewhere but...

I'll be renting a ditch witch tomorrow morning to install 3" PVC tube with a strainer on one end underground in a pit of stone and then running to a ditch in the front yard and daylighting in ditch slope.

The main trench 50ft is a straight line shot and my property slopes very well to the ditch. I assume I just set my chain level and leave it as I reverse back while cutting and my trench floor will be appropriately sloped (matching surface slope)?

There's a small 8ft section I have to trench that's on mostly flat ground. Any tips on digging a sloped bottom? Seems tedious to reverse the machine and slowly drop the chain an inch over the 8ft. Seems like the machine will be bouncing around more than that...

Pictures in THIS thread.


Last edited by Mike7143; 09-21-15 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 09-21-15, 07:55 PM
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Best advice I can give is do not start right next to the house. The chain will grab and pull the machine forward a bit before it starts digging. How much control you will have will depend on your soil.
Old 09-21-15, 08:34 PM
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I'm sure the guys that run one all the time can do better, but I usually overdig the whole trench by an inch or two, lay the pipe in, use a little pile of sand or gravel every 10 feet or so to get the slope I need, and then go back and dump in enough sand/gravel to support the whole pipe. Seems if I try to dig it just the right depth, I end up spending a lot of time scraping out the odd clods of dirt, roots, whatever. This way it goes pretty quick. On your little level section I'd just dig it to the deepest depth and adjust the slope with sand.

If you use sand, wetting it down good with a hose when you've half covered the pipe will wash it solidly under the pipe so it's supported well.

Don't hit any gas lines!
Old 09-21-15, 10:32 PM
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Don't hit any gas lines!
I was thinking the same thing when I read this thread.
Did you call for markouts ? If you didn't, make darn sure there is nothing that can be hit or the utilities will have a field day.
Old 09-22-15, 06:35 AM
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Thanks for the tips! I've already had utilities marked so yeah, hopefully I don't hit anything!
I'm going to try my hand at making the trench exactly what I need for depth. Worst case is I spend a little extra time like carbide said.


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