Making the difference in south Texas: Rock crushing and land clearing with Rotten Apple Services

Luis Apolinar came to the United States from northern Mexico as a teenager in 2004. He started his career as a ranch hand in the San Antonio area. Since that time, he has become a US citizen and founded Rotten Apple Services. Rotten Apple Services offers mulching, rock-crushing, land clearing, excavation and site prep, and pond and lake construction services.  

Luis’s experience as a ranch hand gave him a keen eye for land management and developed within him an instinct for the needs of ranchers in the San Antonio area. Luis now does frequent land-clearing and stone-crushing jobs, but this wasn’t always the case.

Early on, Luis only had a bucket, and he would pass all mulching job requests on to other contractors in the area. However, in 2020 he received a contract for an 80-acre land-clearing job. The job was big enough to justify purchasing a mulching head.


Today, Luis purchases his mulching and stone-crushing attachments from Tellus Equipment. He was effusive in his praise for the service from Tellus Equipment and from his FAE Territory Manager, Ryan Smith.

He spoke about the easy and quick communication with his contacts at Tellus and at FAE.
First of all, customer care, customer service, that's the most important thing. Of course, the attachments have to be good, but something's going to … happen to your machine sooner or later. So you want somebody to answer your calls. So they say ‘Hey, you know what? I'm going to talk to [your sales rep], and he's going to make it right for you … They respond, they get back to you. So they've really got their deal down to a science.”

On the quality of FAE products, Luis said, “The quality is a night and day difference from other brands…With most machines, the rotor lasts maybe six months … With FAE, it’s been with me two or three years … The machine is still as good as new … [and] we work them from 8:00 in the morning to 5:00 PM every day.

I asked Luis about his productivity on the job.
“Every area is different. A patch of smaller cedars and one acre of low brush in South Texas will go pretty quickly. If you’re in an area that’s very rocky, you have to take it easy. 
[South Texas is] pretty flat. That's a good environment. [If the] area is good [and] not so thick, I can do about an acre and a half from 8:00 to 5:00. If you're talking about cedar and hill country, pretty steep [with] a lot of rock, you have to watch your skids, your tracks. You can also flip over on the steep areas, so you can do maybe 1/4 of an acre to 1/2 an acre.”

Lately, stone crushing has become a large part of Luis’s business. The stone crushing keeps him busy during slow mulching periods. He explained his stone-crushing strategy.



With FAE, you have options - you can close the door for a finer product or open the door all the way and do one pass to keep larger chunks ... Some guys keep the door shut to produce a finer product, but it’s sometimes too fine when the first rains come.” By maintaining bigger chunks, he is able to prevent erosion.

Luis commented on an experience he had renting a PT-300 for some recent jobs.
“[I] loved getting to run the PT at a few jobs.  It was a rental, but [I] hope to get to see it in our fleet of machines full time in the future.” 

When it comes to competition, Luis is not overly concerned. 
“To tell you the truth, I don't really look at the competition because I do my own thing.
I'm never asking the customer if they got other bids. So what separates [us] from other businesses? It's just that I guess we do some good, high-quality work … I don't look at anybody like competition. Everybody wants to deserve the opportunity to make their life better. I'm trying to help [the customer] out, and I’ve always got to do the work for my customer as I would for myself.”

Luis takes pride in those times when he goes back to a job and finds the customer is still pleased and the property is still in fine order. At one such job, he was initially called out for just a few days. The customer was so impressed with his work that he kept him on for eight months removing trees, mulching, building ponds, and setting up fences and roads. Luis has maintained a strong relationship with the customer and continues to do work for him to this day.

What does the future hold for Rotten Apple Services?
Luis told me that he recently purchased a new rock crusher and that he plans to trade in his equipment for all new equipment in the near future. It’s safe to say that in all of his work, whether it be rock-crushing, land-clearing, excavation, or pond and lake construction, Luis and Rotten Apple Services will continue to make the difference.

Learn moree: PT-300