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The Minnesota Man Who Planted 3.5 Million Eastern White Pine Trees

Referred to as a ‘legendary lumberman’ in a recent profile on his family, Jack Rajala planted 3.5 million eastern white pine trees in Minnesota with methods so successful, his sons have found themselves with an overabundance. ‘Grandpa Jack’ passed away from an aggressive brain cancer in August 2016, but his legacy lives on in the form of both his five-generation family lumber business, Rajala Companies, and the woods he stewarded.

Minneapolis-St. Paul news team Kare 11 reports that the secret to Jack’s success is a technique called bud capping, wherein pieces of paper are stapled around the tree’s top bud to protect it from hungry deer. Now, his grandsons carry the technique on, pruning the best white pines and marking them with pink ribbons while thinning the rest.

While bud capping is actually a pretty common technique, often recommended to reduce deer browsing damage, not many people can say they managed to plant millions upon millions of trees in their lifetime. Rajala had planted 14,000 seedlings by hand weeks before he was diagnosed, and died in his home overlooking those trees.

Watch this master of Eastern White Pine discuss his techniques in this 2010 video.

Image via MPR News.