Getting Started

specsThis section is for the first timers.

The rookies.

First I offer a basic How-To entitled “PLANT-FU” and below will be an equipment list, of gear to bring. If you want, or need to know good places to purchase this gear, check out the Gearing up Section of this site. If you have questions you can post comments, and either I or other vets visiting the site can respond and help you out. Also Vets if you are out there and have anything to add, post a comment and I will include it. Thanks, and good luck out there!

PLANT-FU

The Art and Discipline of Tree Planting For Money
A guide for Rookies.

Chris Montagner
Well first off. Welcome to tree planting you shiny new rookie you. Whatever brought you here, I hope it works out. Being a rookie is extremely tough, you have no start-point, you are beginning at absolute zero and even though at its core tree planting is very simple. Put trees where there are no trees. There is still a lot to learn. So I am trying to think of everything I wish I knew as a rookie, things I have figured out for myself, mostly things that other Vets (veteran tree planters) have taught me over the years, some things I’ve adopted, others adapted. Some things may seem like common sense but I am including them anyway. Also not everything will make sense at first, some won’t until you’ve already been planting for several days, in fact this is much more information than can be absorbed in one session. But my suggestion is print this, and keep it as a reference, and learn with it as you go.
I will start by quickly introducing myself. I have been planting for over a decade. Have planted in Ontario, all over BC and Alberta, and all over Scotland, l have planted over 2 million trees, and highballed a couple contracts, and companies. These days I plant as long seasons as I can possibly manage which lately is about 200 days a year. I am not the most experienced vet out there, or the fastest highballer, but I definitely know a thing or two about tree planting, so I am sure there are a few nuggets of information you will find useful in here. Not every vet will agree with all my methods, and many things I am sure you will adapt yourselves and change to more suit your styles, which is fantastic. I am simply trying to give you the best springboard I can whip up.
Occasionally we may need reminders but even the crustiest, most hardcore vet was a rookie once, we all were once. So we understand. Remember that, it will come in handy. Many things about tree planting you kind of have to figure out for yourself, but many can be taught. My goal with this is that you will have all the information you can from the get go, so that the rest will fall on you. Armed with this information, practice, hard work, and will power. The idea is you will be a guaranteed success.
There are many parts making up the whole that is a successful professional tree planter, But over the years I have decided I think they can be categorized by 5 main points. Everything explained later sort of ties in together and is interwoven with these 5 Categories:
Efficiency
Consistency
Motivation
Discipline
Adaptation
I will give a run down on each, and explain. And then cover many tips, methods, and strategies you may employ referring back to them throughout this guide. Along with these five points, and concerning them, from the beginning it is extremely important to develop good habits. Forcing yourself to do certain things and repeating them solidifies them until it is like second nature, like breathing. Developing good habits is another theme that will be recurring throughout this guide, as it is very important. Which is also why before I get into the meat of things I want to stress this, the most detrimental, first and foremost thing to learn, and habit to develop:
Learn to plant good trees.
Learn what a good tree is, learn what the specific quality specs are of your contract and what is demanded of you, and learn to do it right. Talk to your foreman. Ask questions. There are no stupid questions, the only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Though some of them are pretty funny. You should take absolute pride in your work. Know your trees are going to grow, and have long and healthy lives. First time, right time, every time. As the old adage goes, ‘ it takes just as much time to plant a good tree as it does a shitty one.’ If you know you plant good trees you never have to worry. And if you are always planting good trees, you will practice and practice and only be good at planting good trees. The most important habit to develop. Your Grandfather was right, anything worth doing, is worth doing right. You should be cocky about how good your trees are. As soon as the tree is in the ground it should be forgotten. You know it’s good, move on. You should already be thinking about the next one, or the one after that. BAM! good tree. Next one. BAM! good tree. Next one. You must be confident in your trees in order to fly.
There are subtle differences contract to contract on tree specifications and what is demanded but the basics usually remain the same.
A good tree is as follows:
Straight up and down,
Green side up
Top of the plug covered
Plug in straight
Plug not compressed
Tight seal holding the tree
No air pockets
Not in so deep that the trees lower lateral branches are buried
Planted In soil; mineral, or smearable organic.

Spacing and density can occasionally range greatly from contract to contract. The best way to figure this is to train your eye. In the beginning throw plots. Lots and lots of them. When you throw a plot don’t just look at your trees, and count them. look at the general area of the plot. how much area does it cover? What are your minimums? Is the land flat or on an angle? Look at the kind of pattern that develops in your area of trees when you are throwing good plots. Like looking at dice, you don’t have to count the individual dots to know you rolled a five or a six. You recognize the pattern immediately. It’s not hard to tell the difference between someone who is 5 foot 5 and 6 feet tall. You just have to train your brain to do that as if they were lying down. If you have yet to begin planting yet, and you are reading this. Density means how many trees per hectare are allotted or your specific block or contract. For example 1400 stems per hectare means you plant 7’s. Which means in a 3.99 metre radius circle or a “plot” you should have 7 trees usually no less than 2 metres apart from each other. Plots are “thrown” on your land to check your density by swinging a 3.99 metre cord staked to a reference point, usually a shovel in a circle and counting the trees within. If you are really keen and want to practice this pre-season you could make your own cord, map out the circle. And use for example 7 beer bottles placing them in different configurations within your circle. No less than 2 metres from each other.
Get imaginative about how you see density. For example sometimes I imagine that there are elastics attached to my trees so I plant one and stretch out to the next one, and spiderweb my way across the land. Find what-ever works for you, anything that helps you, use it.
Once You know how to plant good trees, you can start worrying about making money and getting faster, and focusing on the five main points.

Efficiency
This is the big one. The holiest of holies. Time is your enemy. Time is your friend. Time is your everything, and so should you time everything. Carry a watch. In absolutely everything you do you should be thinking about how to do it faster, with less effort, less energy expended, less motion. Always learning, Always improving. When you show up to the block, are your boots on ready to go? Are you already wearing your game face? Are you lifting up your shovel 2 feet off the ground when only 4 inches will suffice? A huge habit to enforce immediately is tree in hand! As soon as you hit the land, tree in hand. And soon as you plant you tree. Grab the next one. That’s the number one rookie slowdown in the beginning. Finally getting the hole open, and not having a tree ready to go in it. Are you hammer pounding your shovel into soil that can be penetrated by the gravity of the shovel weight alone? Or are you tentatively tapping around in land where perhaps your shovel should be coming down like the hammer of Thor. Less time, less energy, more efficiency, more trees, more money. If you are stopping in your piece because you ran out of flag and you need a new roll, since you are stopped and not planting, you should be looking ahead down your line, pre-planning your route, looking for spots. Does it look like you are going to have to stop again soon to switch bundles? Switch them now while you are stopped, are you thirsty and just going to stop again in a few minutes for a swig of water, or to pee even? Do everything at once. Always be moving, make each movement flow to the next, and hone each movement to be solely built toward production. Multi-task. Nothing is too minute, nitpicky or crazy. Seconds add up fast, and time truly is money. I will delve into many tips and points concerning effiency as we move along.

Consistency
A good tr’planter can set their watch to their bag ups and vice-versa. A consistent planter performs well, All day. Everyday. You don’t want to burn yourself out one day and be exhausted the next day. Same with your bag ups. Even, consistent, practiced, and paced. Eventually you should know almost to a tree exactly how many trees, minimum, you are going to plant that day within your first bag up. You want a measured pace, until you work into a rhythm. You want to increase your pace in gradual increments. Keeping your focus, and quality. If a slow tree stops you, and messes with your rhythm and time, speed up the next three trees and ease back into your rhythm. Same thing with large sections of slash in a piece. Some people like to tackle it in one go, and just get it over with, which I agree with but also sometimes I find this can severely slow my pace. For example it I work my slashy section over the period or three bagups, I can power through those parts without tiring and without diminishing the bag up times. The Rhythm you find should be one where you are always pushing yourself just a little more, but not so much that you over tire or burn yourself out. However you always want to save some energy for that final push at the end of the day, that’s the nothing to lose push, take a little more than you think you can do in that time frame, and get it done!

Motivation
Motivation can sometimes be one of the toughest factors. Basically it’s this, use whatever works and anything that works. Whatever gets you moving. If putting a duck on my head and blowing a kazoo while pissing into the wind made me plant harder I’d do it 3 times a day. Listen to music that inspires you, it doesn’t necessarily have to be fast music, just has to make you want to work. I like to listen to music that makes me feel badass and indestructible while I plant, like Biggie Smalls, or Nine Inch Nails. Pretend you are on TV. Or you are being watched by a hot girl, or boy, or whatever way your plot-cord swings. You basically should try to keep in good spirits as much as you can. HAVE FUN! in anyway you can while working. Negative thoughts, bad memories, and feeling down can be a huge killer. You want to keep positive and focused. Trick yourself if necessary. NEVER be a defeatist, if someone else can do it you can too! They aren’t magical. If you start your day thinking today is gonna be tough, well then you’ve already screwed yourself before even starting. EVERY day should be an attempt for your personal best. Like I said trick yourself when necessary. Bag-up seem endless and heavy? Concentrate on covering land instead, pick a point in the distance and motor over there like a tree fueled machine. Then when you arrive pick a new spot. Land seems endlessly long? Focus on emptying your bags. Though there are always exceptions, many people have a lot to say about a good anger pound. Be hungry for trees. Be competitive, pick someone faster than you and try to take them down. Watch them plant, and try to put in two trees for their every one. Bag up more than they do, and get it in faster. Make yourself want it. Why are you planting trees? Whether it’s for the money, or the sense of accomplishment, for fun, for something new, or just pure competitiveness find your drive and max it out. Set a high goal, here’s some kitten poster philosophy, Aim for the moon, if you miss, you will still end up among the stars.

Discipline:

It’s easy to say to do all these things. It’s easy to say you’re not going to take any breaks, or not have a cigarette until you have 1000 trees in, or not take your bags off all day. But actually going out there and doing them are two entirely different things. In the end, it’s all on you. You kinda have to be a bastard to yourself. Often being a successful planter means doing the exact opposite of what you want to do. When you want to sit down, you should bag up. When it’s raining and horrid and you want to hide under the cache tarp, you will freeze. You should just pound it out and keep warm. There is no real secret key to planting trees. What it comes down to is you have to work really really hard. Make a goal in the morning, one you wish to surpass. What do you need to do in order to accomplish this goal? Let’s say for example your goal is 2000 trees, and you are bagging up 250 at a time. You know that you have to put in 8 bag ups, in 9 hours, that means if you are planting 250 an hour then you have 7.5 minutes per cache break. the next step is of course DO it! Sacrifice is a huge part of the self discipline that you need to employ. You have to sacrifice something in order to plant a lot of trees, mostly your free time, and in some ways your body. If you end up sacrificing your tree quality when trying to go fast, then you just end up replanting. What’s the point in planting 3000 trees, if you have to replant the next 3 days? You might as well have planted 1000 good trees, and not feel like a shit-heel replanting. On really good number days, I typically am thinking about planting all day. If your mind is wandering too much then you have reached a comfort zone, time to bust out of it again. Constant movement, constant improvement. How do you face a challenge? If you hit a wall, are you going to mope? Or say Screw you wall! and blast on through. Your decision.

Adaptation:

Everything in tr’planting is changing, all the time, ever dynamic, ever new. Land, microsites, weather, numerous different waves of evil biting bugs, foliage, contract specs, camps, even crew members. Even every tree is different, each one has a slightly different challenge or method, and so you should learn how to plant your trees in many ways, foot closes (always your first step you your next tree), hand clo$ses, shovel closes, I even close with my knee sometimes in mounds. Different hole openings, c-cuts, direct deposits, maybe you even Have a dreaded screefing contract where you have to remove a swatch of duff or grass around each tree you are to plant. Will you foot screef? Hand screef? Or shovel screef? Follow a vet on your crew around and watch them plant. Try to figure out the decisions they make along the way as they plant. Observe technique, ask questions. Most would probably be happy to oblige, and in the end it will probably be a worthwhile investment. Whatever is closest , whatever is fastest, or most fluid. Sometimes you might have to plant 5’s in a band around your bushline, and 7’s in your piece, and 9’s in your burns. You never know what the next contractor will dream up for how they want the job done. Your job is to adapt your tree, and method to shape each situation, in order to keep your efficiency and thus profits to a maximum all the while maintaining and overcoming whatever new challenges are forced upon you. You must be able to adapt on command, Weather is big, the old adage ‘Don’t like the weather, wait five minutes” is silly true, you are basically gambling if you don’t have sufficient back-up layers, or wet-weather gear, or maybe sunblock, and bug-dope.
Assorted Tips:

At the cache:
When finished your bag up and reaching the cache the first thing you should always do is bag up again, this is one of those good habits you want to solidify. It gets it out of the way and done so as soon as you are ready to go, so are your bags. When bagging up try to have all the trees you are going to bag within arms length, and start with the furthest ones away while putting them into your bag. Everything is about efficiency and saving time. Have your flag ready, your water, and garbage box within arms reach so you can be drinking your water and depositing your wrappers all at the same time.. Always minimalize effort. If you are bagging up the same amount everytime, become an expert at it. Figure out how you best like your trees in your bags, and how you can pull them out, how they fit best, and to transfer them quickest and easiest. Figure out a system for yourself so that when you hit the cache it is automatic. When you are new at planting and you are slow in the land, the easiest way to make up time and make more money right away is unfortunately to have very quick cache breaks, to maximize the time you are out there working in the land. You should aim for 10 minutes at the very most, from getting out of your piece, to walking back in. A cache break is a break but think of it as a pit-stop in a race. The driver doesn’t get out of the car, and go for a coffee or nap. It’s part of the race, the timer is still running. Get everything you need done as quick as possible and get back on the track! Besides you shouldn’t be eating too much at one time anyway, you don’t want to be full. It’s better to eat small amounts, little energy packets, all through the day then sit down and have a large meal. A full stomach makes you sluggish. If you are a smoker try using your cigarette to time your cache breaks. Let your smokes work for you instead of against you. Get your trees ready, light your smoke, and get everything you need done by the time you smoke is finished. Then as soon as your smoke is done get out there!

Bag ups big vs small:

There is no better way, they are simply different effective styles, some people like many small bag ups, they are lightning at the cache, never remove their bags, and often don’t wear shoulder straps for freedom of movement, the draw of the cache break is not as strong so they can put in their numbers with many many bag ups. Some bag big in order to simply ensure they are in the land for long periods of time. However the bags are much heavier, and you must power through the beginnings in order to keep pace and not be out in your piece for too long, I’d say as a general rule, anything over an hour and a half is too long, and less than 30 minutes is too quick. Too long and you begin to tire out and slow down drastically, until the whole reason for bringing the big bag up becomes obsolete. too quick and you are wasting good time and energy that can be spent in your piece. Though even if the cache break is mere moments, sometimes that little refresh, or recharge is absolutely necessary.

Quick tree vs. Quick step:

There are two main parts to the act of planting a tree in which you can save time. Actually planting the tree, and getting to the next tree. I am a firm believer in the beginning it is extremely important to develop a quick clean treeshot first. Learn to plant a good tree, then learn to do it much more efficiently. Are you using 5 movements when it can be done in three? examine everything, remember you have all day to practice. The faster you are at actually planting the tree allows you to take time choosing your spots, keeping your head up your, and moving at a steady even pace. When trying to rush between trees I find is when I start making more mistakes, such as tripping and falling, messing up spacing, burning myself out, missing good spots and overworking by trying to trying to screef through duff, when if you looked around you’d see the dirt shot right next to it. If you get a quick treeshot and learn to keep looking out for best spots you can work at a smooth even pace. Then when you are comfortable you can amp up the pace for even bigger days, combine the two. A friend of mine who plants a lot of trees. His style is a super- quick multi-step little shuffle in between trees. I always assumed he used little steps to keep safe from tripping. You always want to be just outside your comfort zone. Speeding up in small incriments. pick up the pace, then smooth it out, pick up the pace then smooth it out.

Seeing Spots:
A large part of getting a quick tree and general efficiency is learning to pick spots. It’s hard to have a quick tree if you are screefing through duff, and sticks all the time hunting for soil. The more effort you put into seeing good spots, ie: exposed mineral shots, the better you will be at finding them. When you hit a creamy mineral shot pay attention to what kind of plants are growing on it, where is it in relation to the stump, is it a dip, or a mound, etc etc. Again, you have a lot of time to practice this Slightly irritating fact, in tough ground where soil is scarce, spiky evil plants hide soil. .
Mineral shots are the best for everyone, the planter, the tree, the contactor, everyone. The fastest soil, is usually the best for the tree, and if all you are doing is hitting mineral shots all the time. Everyone is happy. This being said, it’s hard to accomplish this if you are trying to force your spacing on the land. If you are trying to do this, you are basically relying on luck that where you want your tree there is soil. Let the land show you where to plant. Let’s say you are standing in an area. Always start with the best shot first, the nicest most exposed dirty high spot in the area, on your way there you should be looking for the second best spot in the area, or the best spot next outside of your minimums. Then on your way to your second “microsite” as we call them, you have already spotted a third. After a while of just hitting all the best spots, all the while keeping an eye on your line, as to where you are going in general in your piece. Perhaps you have a plot of 5 or 6 you have now planted in an area, and so on. Then maybe you’ll have to poke around for the last tree. Plant like an opportunist, even on your way to a predetermined spot, you might see a nicer creamier spot on your way, is it within your minimums? Is the area you are in still within your density? Hit it! Be dynamic As long as you are constantly looking around, like a paranoid deer in fear of predators, looking for soil shots, ways down your line, around slash, where your last trees are, it helps greatly keep your pace. Once you learn to heads up plant, you can dial in, and quality specs become prepared land. Contractor wants high spots? Easy that’s the first place you see anyway. Contractor wants you to plant along obstacles? Same thing stumps become mounds, and lying down logs become trenches.

Line PLanting:
Line planting is just as it sounds. 1 step 2 step .tree. repeat. Head down straight forward, in a single line. Solitary, focused. Though not always in the long run in the land when there are obstacles, and slash and other inhibitors, and game changers. When in cream, where you don’t need to pick a spot, because they are all good. Or say along a road, or along a creamy boundary, especially in situations where flagging is absolutely unnecessary, line planting can produce some of the quickest trees there are. Because you are basically replicating the exact motion over and over again instead of adapting to moving in different directions, you can refine your treeshot to be lightning quick. A direct deposit, both to the ground and your pocket. Whenever you get these opportunities, use them to work on your quick treeshot. Remember you are learning and adapting all the time.

Area planting:
Area planting is basically breaking your overall piece down in to smaller easy to manage little pieces, using things like fallen trees, or other natural boundaries. For example instead of crossing over that log every line, plant the area in front of it first, then you can curl around it and fill the area on the other side of it, smoothing out your line along the way. When I have a burn in my piece I do the same thing, I always plant it as one unit. Maximize it first by planting minumums around the border then filling the inside. Making sure to leave myself an exit strategy. Then after I know the whole burn is done and I can space off of it. Area planting is great for opportunistic planting as well, pick the best spots in your given area, work your spacing around them, then move on to the next area. Always maximize the area you have jumped in, let us say on a slashy piece I have to jump down into this triangular hole of logs to get some trees in, well I am not going to just plant one tree, after working so hard to climb down into that crevice. I will hit each furthest away point of the triangle, so I’ve pushed three trees in along the outside boundaries, maybe I even have enough space to dot one in the centre, then I flag the log on my way climbing out so I know I don’t have to go in there again, and then I’d simply space off the log. Also sometimes while planting up my line I will purposely veer off and ghost-line for a few trees (planting a line where there are no trees on either side of you that you are following) then I will turn back on myself and fill in the little pocket I have created, make sure if you are doing this you are not closing yourself off, always have an exit strategy. If you get very good at area-planting, you will not have to flag nearly as much, because the small chunks of land you cut out for yourself, you will be able to remember where you just planted in your “mini-piece” you have created, and just have to flag the outside boudaries of it.

Flagging:
If you are going to flag, flag fast! A lot of people argue that fagging is unneccessary, and that you should be able to see your trees, and that flagging is a waste of time. I think you should be proficient at both flagging and not flagging. When you are watching your line don’t just look for your flags, look for the trees they represent as well, and if you are finding you see your tree before your flag, or just as easily, well then stop flagging that area. Flagging should be done in that small window of time where you are moving between trees. It should flow with your motions and effect your speed as little as possible. I have very recently been sold by a good friend, who very consistently out plants the snot out of me, on pre-flagging. I used to plant my trees and flag behind me as I walked away. But this isn’t totally accurate and can be an issue in wind. Now I grab my flag first, palm it, then grab my tree on my way to my next spot. Then I plant my tree and release the flag as I am rising and moving away. There is no time lost, or as minimal as possible, and the flag is bang-on where the tree is. If you are ever trying to flag and find yourself struggling with your flag roll or pouch, don’t waste time. That tree gets no flag, keep moving, you’ll flag the next one. Also flagging only your outside line is effective, for example if you plant a line three trees wide and only flag the furthest line out. Flag the top of stumps, so you can see it coming from every direction. Never flag in mounds or trenches, unless you are crossing trenches.

Land Management:

If you are not managing your land effectively, I bet you might be working twice as hard to plant 1000 trees, as an experienced vet would for two thousand. And I don‘t even think that is an exaggeration. First things first, plant the back. The furthest area from your road, or cache. Get there and fill it with trees, and carry enough to get there and back. There are many ways to do this, as always. Most common is the L, or 7 I suppose too. Called this because you plant down your line, plant a line along your back boundary, effectively making a giant L or 7 of trees. When you hit your other side boundary you turn back on your line and follow back. Do this back and forth always keeping your line on your one side, until you figure you have roughly enough trees to make it to your line coming into your piece, and following it back to the cache. Ideally you want to be planting to and from your cache every time without dead-walking as we call it, which means perambulating without planting trees, and therefore without making money. This being said I find it is always a mistake to plant out your cache, I always try to save it for dead last. Which means for my first few bag-ups in the morning, I will walk a few steps in each time before planting, nothing crazy just a few quick power strides into my piece until I see that perfect spot I want my first tree to go in, then away I go, and that way by the end of the day I can still line from the same cache. I will include some basic diagrams of simple land management strategies as well. As a simple visual aid, will probably be much easier to understand.

Find Your Style.

How you think, and how your body works will define your style, and what is best suited for how you plant. You should capitalize on your natural inclinations and develop them. Are you tall with long legs? You can dominate in slash, because you can high step your way around as if it’s not even there. Short? No problem, you can shimmy into places others can’t, and you are always closer to the ground, if you are short, and stay low and don’t even get up from a crouch to plant multiple trees at a time, you are screaming them in. How do you move naturally? Build on that. Do you have big ol’ sexy hips? Maybe get rid of the shoulder straps. Good with both hands? Ambi-plant (ambidextrous) for Pete’s sake. Use both hands, and switch your shovel back and forth, drawing from both bags, always keeping the weight even, and never wasting time switching over bundles. I think if most vets could start again, they’d try starting planting ambi from the get go. Something I haven’t seen in a while, Spinners. for those who like quick, light bag-ups and don’t wear shoulder straps. Try losing the back bag, and then when you are light on one side, a spin of the hips, and you are drawing from the other. Reversible bags. There are multiple shovel styles as well. Some like the Staff shovel, it’s advantages are, firstly since the whole thing is a handle, it is effectively as long or as short as you want it to be, in rocky ground you don’t have to be even holding it when it strikes, its more of a toss, slide release, then catch. Also you can test spots from afar before you even reach them. And they make pretty cool spears. Some like lond d-handes, for power, stability when walking, and for testing spots from afar. But I stand personally by the little speed spade. The short handled shovel,The spoon. That is of course my personal opinion and style. But I obviously choose it because I think it has its advantages. First if you think about a truck gear shifter, that’s a long range of movement that has to be manipulated around in order to make your necessary motions.. Whereas a short shovel is like a sport shifter in a Porsche. Quick little movements. Some people say they don’t want to bend down that far. You have to bend down that far to plant your tree, you might as well open your hole at the same time. You are down there anyway. Also you never kink your shoulder while planting up steep hills. Also I never once (knock on wood) Have had tendonitis. I attribute this to having a loose grip always on my shovel, and the fact that when I do strike rock, the force is not perpendicular to the angle of my wrist, my whole arm is lined behind the shovel like an extension of my arm punching into the ground. Anyway point being, find what works best for you, and develop and expand on your existing natural abilities and inclinations.
Pair, or Partner Planting
When planting in two or with partners, etiquette is a huge must, you cannot plant the piece as if it was solely your own, because it is not. You cannot cream out that huge burn, you can cream out half of it. Be considerate to your partner. Plant lovely trees, give them a wide berth so they have play room in which they can plant, if you find yourself coming up close to them, turn back on your line for a few trees, before turning back again so you can let them establish some room. Communicate strategies, and areas, but quickly, for example. Planter 1 “Don’t cross this log, I can fill everything behind it” Planter 2 “Thumbs Up” When meeting up with a planter on a line there are two main things you can do, bounce or cross. Bouncing is as soon as you meet eachother and plant a treet next to eachother, you turn back on your line, but high five them first of course. One must have manners. Crossing is done when one planter hops over the other one and goes down their line. This is usually done if one planter is on their way into the piece, while the other is bagging out on their way to the cache, or if one particular side of a piece is much creamier/shittier than the other so each can have their equa fill of either side.
Sometimes, most often on the close-outs of blocks, when everything has come down to one or two remaining open pieces, you will find yourself in what we so eloquently call a Cluster-Fuck. Or sometimes called a Cattle Plant (make sure to moo) these can get confusing, and horrible, some planters get anxious with people coming up behind them on their line. Others slut in trees. These people are dicks. (slutting is a term usually used in reference to planting a tree quickly without regard for quality) and anything in between. It can become a bit of chaos. The best thing I can say if find your way to get space. If you are faster than most. Maybe run ahead to the front of the line and lead, and power ahead, but you better keep ahead. Or you can find yourself abreast with same speed planters and you can plant together as a wall or whether you are slow or super fast, you can always plant a wide line back and forth and stay behind the pack and fill as you go. Find your spot. Keep cool. And pound out that land stealing bounty like the little dirt pirate you are.

Achieving Zen

In planting you can have these moments of pure clarity, where you are locked in the present, there is no past, no future. You are in the moment, you are breathing trees, breathe in, draw a tree, breath out, plant. Athletes call this being in the zone. It is a great adrenaline fueled feeling, it makes my hands shake at the cache like you wouldn’t believe. And boy can it make you money. You can do things that previous you thought impossible, plant a bag-up in half the speed of your average and so on. This is something you can get better and better at achieving, inducing or at least replicating. When you hit it, recognize it, and try to follow any steps necessary to do it again and again. This is the reason professional ball players have lucky underwear. Find your lucky underwear and wear the stink out of them.

How to Highball

Easy. Just be sure there is no possible way anyone is working harder than you.

Well that’s it for now. But should for sure be enough to get you on your feet. I could write endlessly on thinking up little things to add, and more categorie, equipment, injuries, the many uses of duct tape. What is a Man-Pon and so on. But I think for now this is sufficient as a launchpad. I hope this has been useful to you and that it helps make you lots of money, and maybe takes out some of the surprises and challenges you may face pre-emptively. Or at least puts a smile on your face. Have a wonderful season, and a great day, bag-up, night off…you name it.
P.s. Sorry about all the terminology. There is a lot of it, but ask questions when you don’t know. Anyone would be happy to explain.
Keep Cool
-Chris

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