Plantninja is moving to a bigger and better space!

December 5, 2008

Thank you all for following this blog experiment so far. Enough of you have paid attention to warrant a move to a real space on the web.

Therefor, I am pleased to announce the launch of Your definitive web resource on all things tree planting.


p.s. All the content has been moved to the new site, so check there for older posts.


Back in the saddle.

November 17, 2008

New posts coming, I promise. Pics, links, and hopefully gear deals. Stay Tuned.



July 14, 2008

Sorry for the hiatus, but there is planting to be done. Look forward to pictures, videos, stories, and hopefully some guest writers to come in the off-season. And of course the usual info and gear updates.


Planting slang.

April 27, 2008

Here is a fun list of tree planting specific terms that may help you rookies decipher a sentence like “There’s cream behind that slash pile, now get your ass out of the crummy and POUND!”

This list has been straight plagiarized from T. Colin Strong’s study on the tree planting specific lexicon that we all know and use, despite the bewilderment of our non-planter friends.

The whole paper can be read here.

1) easy-to-plant land? cream

2) difficult-to-plant land? shit, schnarb

3) the debris left on the ground after logging? slash, sticks, litter

4) the land on which you plant trees? block, piece

5) the layer of moss and twigs above the soil? duff

6) vegetation on the land you plant? green, natural

7) dark, wet soil? organic

8 ) sandier soil? mineral

9) ground left just as it was after it was logged? raw, unscarified

10) the person who runs a single crew? foreman, crew boss

11) the person who runs a group of crews? supervisor

12) someone who plants many trees a day? highballer

13) a first-time planter? rookie

14) an experienced treeplanter? vet

15) the vehicle that brings you to and from your worksite? crummy

16) what you use to carry the trees while planting? bags

17) where you do Number Two in camp. shitter

18 ) painful afflictions of the hand? the claw

19) numbness in the foot? Christmas toe

20) trees that come with exposed roots? bare root

21) where you store trees during the day? cache

22) the bag from which you pull trees while planting? draw bag, trigger

23) rolls of long, thin fluorescent plastic strips? flagging tape

24) a bent root? j-root

25) when trees arrive in the box with bent roots? nub

26) trees that come encased in dirt, with minimal root exposure? plug

27) the truck in which trees are stored? reefer

28 ) a poorly planted tree? slut

29) single-person, four-wheeled off-road vehicles? quad

30) where you get and eat your food in camp? mess tent

31) the act of planting a line away from the existing line of trees? ghost lining

32) planting as hard as you can? pounding

33) the start-of-contract morning meeting with mill representatives? pre-work

34) redoing work due to poor quality? replanting

35) the action of kicking away debris to clear the ground? screefing

36) hiding or throwing away trees? stashing

Sign up to The Art of Treeplanting

January 3, 2008

On a totally unrelated topic… please sign up to the blog! If I know how many people are reading it, I may be persuaded to write a little more frequently. There is a little orange icon in your address bar (if you are using Firefox… which you should be) that will allow you to add this blog to the blogreader of your choice. You can also click Here.

Recipe: To plant a tree

November 15, 2007

Recipe: To plant a tree by Robin MacDonald

Take one tree in hand. With your foot, screef away the ‘litter layer’ and make a ‘C’ cut into the soil with your shovel. Place the pod into the ground making sure that it sits vertical. Close the hole with your hand creating a vapor seal around the pod. Be sure that the lateral is visible and that the tree points to the sky. Space the next tree 2.2 meters away. Repeat 2000-4000 times per day for 3 months.

The perfect tree
The perfect tree

Caution: Rain, hail, snow, wind, small bugs, big bugs, round bugs, green bugs, rotting logs, swamp, sun, stinging metal, poison ivy, bears, and rocks will interfere with your work. Be patient. All these elements will pass. Or not. Whatever. Deal with it. You can’t bring your mother to the block.

5:30am: Wake up.
Wake up.

I open my eyes, unzip my sleeping bag and am greeted to a new day by the bitter cold. I look at my alarm clock and the temperature reads, “2 degrees Celsius”. I think it’s mocking me. I put on 2 wool sweaters and leave my toque on. I find my crew at the mess tent and pound back 2 sausages, pancakes, porridge, eggs, coffee and water. I’ll need the nutrients to make it to 10am when I’ll down a PB and J sandwich; the first of three I packed for lunch.
With eight of us packed into a Ford 350 Super duty pickup truck our foreman, Dave, hits the gas and we’re rolling down a logging road. Most in the truck use the drive to catch a few extra minutes of sleep before the official start of the workday. Although, if you ask me, work at this camp begins when I wake up.

The Pirate Crew
The Pirate Crew

Today, we’re only driving part of the way to the block. The access road has been deactivated and will be flown the rest of the way via helicopter. We pull up to a flat spot on the road where the chopper will be able to land and begin to unload the 20,000 trees our crew will plant that day. The chopper buzzes overhead, pulling up dust and debris with its huge rotors. It lands on the road in front of us and I think this is so cool. Loaded up with our daypacks, shovels and 4-6 liters of water, the first 4 board the chopper and head out. The ride today will take us over two mountain ranges in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia. White caps, river valley’s and pine and spruce forest fill the landscape.

The Heli Show 2
The Heli Show 2

After we land someone says, “I think this is what the army must be like.”
For the next 8 hours we plant as hard and as fast as we can. We put our heads down and ‘pound!’ With the planting bags filled with 400 trees they can weigh 40 pounds or more, although, we never did break out a scale. At 4:30 we run out of trees and the helicopter returns to take us back to the trucks.
Arriving back at camp, we’re covered in blood, sweat and tears. Mud sticks to our skin and is caked under our nails. We head straight to the kitchen for dinner. This is our reward: a hot meal and maybe even a hot shower (if the pump is working) at the end of the day.
After dinner we sit around the bonfire, sharing stories of the day, complaining, laughing and bonding. At 9 o’clock, people start to head back to their tents. Only 9 hours until we get up and do it all over again. Today, I’m physically drained. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and dream of helicopter bugs, buzzing around my ears while a bear sits on a stump in front of me reciting poetry. I think the bush is starting to get to me…

Be sure to check out “The Nata 2007 DVD Trailer” by Justin Cheshire here:   

Photos provided courtesy of Devin Glage, James Herbison, Gwyneth McMillan and Mary Smith.

It’s official!

November 15, 2007

Word came down the grapevine recently that I will be running a crew for Nata in the 2008 Spring/Summer season.  I will be posting on this blog info that I feel will be essential for you (the planter) to use in preparation for your upcoming season. Be sure the check back often around February when I’ll be in full posting swing, and will know a lot more information about next season.