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I'm trying to build a self-contained automated tree farm with redwood trees. The main problem I have is how to replant saplings. So I thought I would use a BuildCraft filler with height 1 to fill in the area with saplings. The problem is that in testing, a filler will only plant a single sapling and never move beyond that:

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You can see the result in this image. The filler is programmed with nine bricks in fill mode, and powered by a full redstone energy cell. If I take the redwood saplings out of the resource area of the filler and use cobblestone for example, the area is instantly filled up as expected. But then if I use redwood saplings, it stops like the picture above with just a single sapling in the corner.

Is there a way to get this to work, or is there some limitation to a filler that prevents using saplings? Is there another method in Feed-the-Beast to replant saplings over a large area?

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Are you against using Forestry's tree farms? –  SevenSidedDie Apr 6 '13 at 20:24
    
@SevenSidedDie: No - but they only seem to support regular saplings. I'm just trying to get massive scale up on charcoal production, so I thought using large trees would be significantly more efficient. –  mellamokb Apr 6 '13 at 20:30
    
A Forestry multifarm well-fed with fertilizer can do about a tree a second. I believe it's a bit of a logistical challenge to set it up so that it will run indefinitely, but it's possible, and fast. @Unionhawk's done one on the Arqade FTB server, I believe. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 6 '13 at 20:33
    
@SevenSidedDie: Wow, I've never heard of multifarms before. I'll have to do some research. –  mellamokb Apr 6 '13 at 20:34
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@mellamokbtheWise If want to go non-standard for your tree farm, try this quarry and terraformer based tree farm –  fredley Apr 8 '13 at 10:48
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3 Answers

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As has been pointed out in the comments, you want a

Forestry MultiFarm

These can be set up such that they require only a regular supply of apatite to keep running indefinitely. Two such farms will produce enough wood to make more than enough charcoal to keep a full size high pressure boiler running full time.

This can be achieved by:

  • Auto crafting fertilizer on an auto-crafting table, drawing from two chests, one for dirt and one for water.

  • Connect a wooden pipe, with an autarchic gate set to pulse when fertilizer < 25% to automatically craft when needed.

  • Use whatever system you like to keep your apatite chest(s) full.

  • Autocraft plant balls from output saplings, and macerate these to generate dirt.

  • Once the system is up and running, it will provide ample power for itself and a large surplus.

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a steve's carts tree farm is probably your best bet for a fully customizable resizable tree farm that grows anything.

the cart assembler will need the following attachments:

logger
compact solar (sides)
internal inventory(for storing logs, extra saplings, and apples during its 'lap')
solar engine (normal, not basic, this goes on top)
basic coal engine (a backup incase things go horribly wrong with the solars)
a cargo distributer and manager (naming isn't right, i havent played ftb in a while)

the cargo manager will be used for pumping the logs and extra saplings out of the system and into a larger storage (mine used ED barrels and the log one filled up)

the rail system only needs one special thing

 advanced detector rail

that needs to be next to the cargo block setup, its what makes the cart stop/load/unload into the system

you can make the rail system any size you see fit, provide the cart with a few saplings and a handful of coal into the backup engine and leave it to its work.

you might want to set the priorities on the engines just to be sure the coal engine will not burn unless needed.

setting up the cargo manager/distributor is pretty straightforward, go to the steve's cart wikia or watch one of direwolf20's video on it (he's done a few) if you are confused.

I would also like to point out if you DO use redwoods with this system, you WILL have more logs than you know what to do with. My system used normal trees of a 20x20 fully covered (zigzaging tracks) and the ExtraDimensional barrel I had for the logs filled up in a matter of days, even though it was being used to power my max size steam boiler.

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I don't think a Steve's Cart will handle the 2x2 requirement for redwood planting, but as you note oak trees will work fine to keep a solid fuel boiler running (particularly if run through a powered furnace for charcoal). Additionally you can use the excess of saplings you have with a fermenter and still to generate biofuel for a second, liquid fuelled boiler (the apples from oaks can also be squeezed for mulch which saves using fertiliser in the fermented; but I've found there is not enough apple juice to use that consistently in the fermenter). –  Richard Apr 22 '13 at 8:21
    
yeah, I forgot about the 2x2 redwood, you could use firs then if you really want a plethora of wood. As I said before though, steve's cart system is completely custom unlike forestry multifarms which have a fixed size... After a while using this system, I expanded to to 50x50 and added 3 more max size solid boilers. This power plant was enough to supply the whole server (granted it was only like 8 people) with power. definitely run the logs through a powered furnace or a solar furnace if you want max efficiency. –  Rapitor Apr 22 '13 at 13:10
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This is far from optimal, but I have designed my own farm entirely from scratch using deployers to place the saplings, transposers to pick up fallen saplings, and pneumatic tubes to transfer the saplings into the deployers to keep them supplied. It was relatively simple to setup once I had a prototype working. It's 100% automated and decently efficient:

Above-ground view of Tree Farm. Roughly 50% of plantable area is taken up by equipment. Everything is powered by red-alloy wire, which is fired off by a 30-second timer on the bottom right. The goofy-looking cobblestone sprinkled throughout is to prevent leaves being generated on the second layer, because it will destroy the red-alloy wire (in fact you can see that happened in the tree in the back, so it's not perfect).

Above-ground view of Tree Farm

Below-ground view of the Tree Farm. Every transposer feeds into pneumatic tubes that service the nearby deployers. This keeps the deployers consistently supplied because the tubes evenly distribute among the 2-4 deployers next to the transposer. The logger in the middle then cuts down the trees and outputs into an array of barrels.

Below-ground view of the Tree Farm

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