I couldn’t find much on the internet, but I believe treeplanting started or matured the fastest in New Zealand, where they would have run out of trees much earlier than in larger countries. For many years in Canada, and apparently still the practice in the US, trees were planted in unison by a row of tree planters. They would all move forward a few steps and plant a row of trees together, waiting for the slowest planter before moving on to the next row. On the highway you could drive by these planted rows and they would appear like spokes in a bicycle, the perfect rows flashing by you. One day a Dutchman named Brinkman approached the government with a proposal to charge the same price for the same number of trees, as long as his crew was able to plant their trees in their own method.
Drawn from replant.ca
He trained a crazy crew who set out to fill a logged clear cut, each planter planting their trees on their own, and they planted so many trees per day that everyone’s head turned, until the whole industry was soon following their practice.
With row, or “cattle” planting, the government would try to wow city dwellers with an attractive hourly wage. But the high numbers planted by those planting on their own and paid per tree meant they were making a lot more money per day, as were the company owners. Capitalism and the lust for greater profits naturally led the industry to shift towards this practice.