Planting in Australia

What it's like

Outlined below is a description of the work, the conditions we work in, the qualities we are looking for in prospective tree planters and the payment system.

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Tree planting

Tree planting is challenging physical work requiring a good level of physical fitness. Trees are carried around the waist in a special harness while planting. Planters carry up to 200 seedlings at a time while walking along prepared mounds in the plantation.

Using one of a variety of planting tools, each suited to different conditions, trees are planted in the ground at 2 to 3 metre spacing. Each tree planter averages from 1500 to 8000 trees per day depending on the conditions. This may seem like a lot of trees, but with proper training most motivated people can learn to plant this many trees in two to three weeks.

While a good level of fitness is required, you do not have to be a champion athlete- we have trained people of all shapes and sizes to plant at this level. More important than physical fitness is your level of motivation. As payment is piece rate, based on the number of trees you plant each day, tree planting works best for highly motivated people. Tree planting is described by many people as the most challenging work they have ever done, but the rewards can be high with experienced planters often making over $300 per day.

On some contracts you will need to do fertilizing work. This is similar to tree planting, but with different tools. Granular fertilizer is carried in a backpack and applied through a hose from the back pack out a special tool beside the planted trees. It too is piece rate and you can expect to earn about the same amount of money as planting.


In most cases you will be working, living and traveling with at least one crew of ten to fifteen people. We work on a contract basis – a contract being one tree planting project for one client. Contracts run from 2 to 3 months on average. We ask you to complete at least one planting contract by committing to working with us for three months. You will need to be able to travel from planting site to planting site while you are working with us, often interstate. We often work in one remote location after another finding different accommodation as we go, but on some jobs you will work out of the same accommodation for a whole contract, however there is no way that we can guarantee this. While we arrange sleeping quarters wherever we can, you must have a tent and sleeping gear for those situations where you need to camp. You will need to be able to commit to a three-month period of work and to traveling with your crew before we will hire you.


We arrange accommodation at a cost of about $15 to $35 a day, we deduct these amounts from your earnings. At remote sites we set-up and operate camps for our workers. Tree planting is weather dependent, and there may be times when we are asked to stop planting temporarily until conditions are favourable. You can expect one or two of these stoppages on most, but not all jobs. They range from one or two days to a week or even more in extreme cases. Weather conditions are very unpredictable, making tree planting contracts equally unpredictable- it is very important to us that you understand this aspect of the job, and that you commit to completing the whole contract or at least three months before we take you on. In ideal situations we work five days on and one day off then five days on and two days off.

You will need to be able to work in all weather conditions and at all times of the day and even at night sometimes, as we try and work when conditions are most favourable – not for us necessarily, but for the trees. Good tree planters need to be motivated, hard working and tough. They also need to work well in a team, get along with their fellow planters, and know how to have fun- it isn’t all hard work! Working on a tree planting crew is a challenging, intense experience, but as you can imagine some of your best friends and memories will be made while tree planting. At Outland we are committed to providing a working environment, which is safe and fair and fun.


Payment is based on the number of trees you plant each day. The tree price times the number of trees will be your daily earnings. The tree price ranges from 8¢ to 50¢. It depends on the planting tool used and the planting conditions- mostly the quality of ground preparation. It is generally set for the contract and does not change. On most contracts the tree price is set so that average earnings for experienced planters are around $250 per day.

Motivated and experienced planters can and do make over $300 per day.

The conditions which determine how many trees you will plant are many and include things like: the weather, the ground preparation, your condition and motivation, how well your crew is working together, the ability of your supervisor, and the condition of the tree stock and many more things as well- and they will change to some extent every day. Your planting totals will change everyday. Good planters learn to be as consistent as possible no matter what the conditions, but in planting you will have good days and not so good days. Some of the variables you will be able to control and some you will not. Planting is a variable occupation, by its nature, and again it is very important to us that you understand this before we consider hiring you.

Injury Prevention

Getting the Best Experience

Given the unpredictable and variable nature of tree planting, we recommend that you complete at least three contracts with us. This way the ups and downs can be averaged out over more planting days. If you work only one contract with us and it is a tough one, then your experience with us may not be as good as it could have been. Planting can be tough on a given day, paddock or contract. To maximize the benefit you receive from working with us you will need to be able to work through the tough bits and on to better conditions. We cannot be too clear about this aspect of the job! We expect you to work through tough conditions and we expect that you intend to do at least two contracts with us. Otherwise it is very difficult for us to ensure that you will get the most out of your planting experience.

It is important that you consider how the variability of tree planting work will affect the amount of money that you will need to complete a contract. We pay a portion of your earnings into your account each fortnight, with the balance paid to you within thirty days of the end of the contract. You will need to start with enough money to support yourself until you earn some money, keeping in mind that you will not make money during stand down periods, and that your first two or three weeks will be spent learning and getting up to speed.
In the winter our projects are located in NSW and WA and in the summer we mainly work in Northern NSW, and Far North QLD. For all projects, free transportation is provided to the job locations from our Billinudgel office with pick-up points along the way.

Outland Resources is an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome interest from applicants regardless of gender or race.

Still interested?

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Apply now to join the team

Interested in becoming a planter? Apply now, we'll support you through your application process and answer any questions you may have to get you started on your rewarding tree planting journey.