Spotlight on Pottiputki tree planters
Pottiputki tree planters were developed in Finland in the late 1960s to enable rapid and optimised planting of containerised seedlings with reduced effort and improved ergonomics. Since its introduction, the Pottiputki has become a tried and proven tree planting tool across the world.
Is the Pottiputki right for your project? Firstly, the Pottiputki is a planting, not digging tool, so the ground being planted needs to be prepared in some manner, be it ripped or cultivated to enable the Pottiputki to easily penetrate the soil. It isn’t suitable for planting in unprepared or hard ground. If the ground conditions are suitable, you then need to select the Pottiputki size to suit the tube stock you are planting. If the Pottiputki is too small the seedlings won’t easily slide down the tube, and if it too big you may get sideways movement as they travel down and may not end up being straight in the planting hole. The most popular sizes are the Pottiputki 55 for 40 cell Hiko trays (these are the round cell 5x8 in a tray), and the Pottiputki 63 for standard Forestry Tubes (the square 50x50x125mm individual tubes).
Once you have selected the correct size Pottiputki, how do you actually plant a tree with it? Well that is the relatively easy part. Simply set the depth limiter (the black angle piece on the bottom) to the planting depth you require - the default is usually fine. Position the planter where you want to plant the seedling, then push your foot down on the depth limiter to insert the mouth of the planter into the soil. Once in position, push your foot down on the red arm at the base to open the jaws, which creates a hole in the soil. Drop your seedling down the tube, give the Pottiputki a small twist and remove it from the ground. Firm the soil around the seedling with your feet, then close the jaws of the Pottiputki by pushing on the thumb releaser at the top of the Pottiputki. You’re now ready to move onto the next seedling!
Experienced planters can plant upwards of 2000 trees per day, but if you are new or don’t have a crew to replenish your seedling supply you might achieve a few hundred per day. But your back will love you for not bending over all day!