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Tree Planting

 

Machine Planting

Machine planting (also called wildland machine planting) is a planting process in which a mechanical planter is pulled behind a bulldozer or tractor.  As the planter is pulled, it opens a furrow in the soil, receives a seedling from a rider in the back of the planter, positions the seedling into the furrow at the correct depth and spacing, and packs the soil around the roots of the seedling ensuring it is properly planted.

  • Typically performed from October-early April depending on the type of seedlings to be planted
  • Typically leads to high survival rates when compared to hand planting
  • Can be limited by steep and/or rocky terrain
  • Provides beneficial but inexpensive soil tillage - approximately 8-12 inches versus 24 inches with a ripping operation
  • May be paired with a banded herbaceous or fertilizer application in a single pass
  • Typically leads to a more consistent stand structure as trees mature

Machine Planting

When pulled by a bulldozer, a V-blade is used to clear debris from the path of the planter, ensuring good access to the soil surface and proper operation of the planter.

 

Hand Planting

Hand planting is conducted by labor crews who install trees using a planting tool (dibble bar or hoedad).  Using seedlings carried by planters, a small opening is made in the soil, the seedling is placed at the proper depth into the opening, the opening is then closed with the planting tool and the planter’s heel is used to compact the soil around the root zone. 

  • Typically performed from October-early April depending on the type of seedlings to be planted
  • Hand planting is used following ripping and/or bedding operations
  • Interplanting of areas with low first-year survival is always performed by hand

Hand Planting

Hand planter using a dibble bar.