Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tree Planter Training, Learning How To Plant

I've been working on a series of tree planter training modules for the past three years, to replace the videos that I originally put online in 2005.  Those video had been getting thousands of views every year, but they were very low quality.  It was time for an upgrade.

My training series consists of a total of twenty modules.  The first eight videos (which are the focus of a different post) are meant to be watched a couple months before the season starts, by people who are potentially interested in applying for a job as a planter.  Those videos are designed to let you know what you're getting yourself into if you decide to spend a summer in the bush.

The focus of the last twelve videos (the ones in this post) is more specifically related to the process of understanding the characteristics of trees, learning how to actually plant them, meeting quality & density expectations, and all the other "hands-on" stuff that you'll be expected to know as soon as you strap your bags on.  Although this series was produced in British Columbia, most of the information is also highly relevant to planting in other Canadian provinces (except maybe for the procedures for assessing quality & density).

The content in these videos is not targeted solely at inexperienced job applicants.  I'm 100% confident that all current experienced planters will find things in these videos that they didn't know.  You may wonder why I feel bold enough to make this claim?  Simple: because I learned hundreds of new things myself while putting all of this training material together.

These twelve videos are about four hours and twenty minutes in total length, so you'll need to set aside an entire afternoon or evening to watch them.  I'd suggest that you watch them with a pen and paper, so you can make notes about questions that you can ask recruiters or crew bosses at the companies that you apply to.  You should also bookmark this post, because you may want to come back and watch some of these videos more than once.  If you watch them well in advance of the season and this is your first year, you'll probably want to watch them as a refresher just a day or two before you hit the field.  Several companies are showing these as start-up training material when you first arrive to your new job.

In 2018, I'll be publishing a full hard-copy version of this information, which will be available for purchase from Amazon.  For now, you'll have to make do with the videos or the text that I've posted online.  For more information about this entire training series (including text transcriptions), visit:

Without further ado, here are the last twelve videos in the training series.  I hope you find them to be useful.

Basic Silviculture Knowledge
Contents:  Stocking standards, basic seedling physiology, tree structure, shade tolerance, environmental factors affecting growth, basic soils & planting media, seasons.

Stock Handling
Contents:  On-site seedling storage, handling seedling boxes, correct handling of seedlings and bundles.

Common BC Coniferous Trees
Contents:  Pine, spruce, fir, and other important species.

Planning Reforestation Activities
Contents:  The Pre-Work conference, the planting prescription, potential non-planting components, block boundaries, mixing species.

Planting Gear
Contents:  Planting bags, your shovel, miscellaneous planting gear, gear demonstration, non-planting gear.

Planting A Seedling
Contents:  Selecting the best microsite, microsite preparation, opening the hole & grabbing the seedling, planting the tree & closing the hole, planting demonstration.

Meeting Quality Requirements
Contents:  FS 704 system overview, throwing plots, specific faults, damage to seedlings, microsite selection, planting quality.

Spacing, Density, & Excess
Contents:  What's in a plot, plotted versus planted density, target spacing and minimum spacing, excess, missed spots (a quality fault), penalties.

Site Preparation
Contents:  Untreated (raw) ground, trenching, mounding, scrapes, windrows, drag scarification, chemical scarification, prescribed burning, selective harvesting, assessing a block.

Maximizing Productivity
Contents:  Staying organized, efficient planting techniques, efficient work strategies, staying focused.

Behaviours & Attitudes
Contents:  Maintaining the health of the ecosystem, responsible behaviour, safe behaviour, respectful behaviour, treatment of co-workers, stashing.

Contents:  Field practice, career options, final advice.

Here are some additional links and resources that might be of interest to potential planters:

Getting a Job:  replant.ca/jobs
Photo Galleries:  replant.ca/photos
Planting Books:  replant.ca/books
Message Board:  replant.ca/phpBB3
Instagram:  instagram.com/replant.ca

Regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced planter, if you're applying for work at a new company, use the following list of questions to help determine if that employer would be a good fit:

If you're trying to figure out what you'll need for gear, here's a PDF that might help:

Ok, I think that's the main stuff for now.  You may wonder why I'm offering all of this stuff for free?  You may think, "what does he want in return?"  Well, that's a good question, because I actually DO want something in return:  I want you all to share this with as many other potential planters as you can.

Also, if you'd like a copy of this material in book form, it's available from Amazon (plus the book includes quite a bit of additional information that isn't included in the videos).  Here's a link with more information:  www.replant.ca/stepbystep.html

- Jonathan "Scooter" Clark 

PS:  Here's a link to the other blog post which outlines the first eight videos in this series, the "Pre-Season Overview" videos:

PPS:  If you'd like to have access to transcriptions of the video contents, you can find them in all the posts in this forum:



PS:  Many thanks to the WFCA (Western Forestry Contractors' Association) which helped get this project started several years ago, through a grant from the BC government.  Here is the WFCA's website link:

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