How to Plant 20 MILLION TREES – Smarter Every Day 227 #TeamTrees

How to Plant 20 MILLION TREES – Smarter Every Day 227 #TeamTrees

– Hey it’s me, Destin. Welcome back to Smarter Every Day. There’s a really cool thing happening on the internet right now
and we want you to be a part. It’s called Team Trees
and the goal is simple. 20 million trees by 2020 and we actually have a
mechanism to do this. If you go to the Arbor Day Foundation has agreed to plant one tree in the ground for every dollar that’s donated there. That is a huge opportunity and internet content
creators from all over, every genre of content,
were all working together to do this but we need you. We need you to help us do this by going to and donating. Let’s say that we’re all on
board and we’re all awesome and we make this happen. $20 million go to the Arbor Day Foundation and they’re gonna plant 20 million trees. How do we do that scientifically? In order to figure this out, I wanna go look at this whole concept through the eyes of my granddaddy who attempted to plant hundreds of trees in a field back in the 60s. My dad was there and he
remembers exactly what happened. (beep) – Early 60s, ’61, ’62, Daddy
had a group of students from Auburn come and
plant some longleaf pines. They planted them in different methods, some in a hill, some in a
furrow, hundreds of them. And only two of them lived. – Why did Auburn University come here to plant trees in this field? – It’s not native to this
area and Auburn wanted to see if a longleaf pine could
survive this far north. – [Destin Voiceover] The fact that longleaf pines were planted
here is super interesting because Granddaddy’s land was just north of the natural range for that species. Whenever I travel to different
regions of the world, I love to discover what
tree species thrive in that environment, whether
it be a strangler fig in Peru, a baobab tree in western Africa, or the famous Recoleta rubber tree in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Certain species of trees always seem to thrive in certain areas. To learn more about why certain thrive in certain environments, I went to Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences where I met with Dr. Becky
Barlow and Dr. John Kush. Both are experts in sustainable forestry and both know a ton
about the longleaf pine. – [Destin] How does a
person find the right tree for the right location? Let’s say someone lives
in Ohio for example, or they live in, I don’t know, Wyoming and they need to figure out the exact tree they need to plant on their property. – The first thing that they need to do is, like Dr. Kush was saying, you need to think about the soils. You need to think about
what soils you have. You need to think about
what you are willing to do from a management standpoint. How active are you willing to be in the management of your property? Some people are just, wanna
plant it and walk away and not have to do anything to it. And that’s okay too and
there are certain things you can do from that standpoint. But most of the time, you’re
gonna have to plant it. Then you’re gonna have to monitor it and you’re gonna have to
maybe do some thinnings in there to make sure that the trees have enough
water, light, nutrients to grow, because they
start to get too crowded and then they’re gonna
start to die naturally. And so you wanna thin it so you don’t have that natural mortality. You can actually capture that mortality. – [Destin] So there’s science to it. – Yeah, a lot. And you also need to know about the trees. You need to think about the
tree that you want to plant and think about its life history, its silvics is what it’s called. – [Destin] How do you spell that? – S-I-L-V-I-C-S. It’s kind of its life history. Where does it normally occur? Where does it naturally occur? How does it grow? How tall does it get? Does it need a lot of sunlight
or can it tolerate shade? It’s those things like that
that you need to understand about the trees that
you’re wanting to plant and then making sure you, again, that’s how you match
the tree to your site. – [Destin Voiceover] Dr.
Kush pulled up a soil survey from Granddaddy’s land and explained that the
different types of soil affect how trees grow differently. He said the main factor,
however, was probably that Granddaddy planted
them in a grassy area where the weeds probably
choked out the trees. – [Destin] So longleaf pine. – Longleaf pine. – [Destin] What do I need to know? – Burn it. (Destin laughs) – What? – Burn it. – [Destin] What do you mean? – Plant it, burn it. – [Destin] What do you mean? – You gotta use prescribed fire, get your little area cleaned out, get your trees planted,
wait a year, burn it. – [Destin] So you’re talking
about the undergrowth. – The undergrowth. – [Destin] Okay so you’re not saying, “Cut the tree down and burn it.” – No, don’t cut the tree down. Please don’t cut the tree. We’re doing too much of that already. – [Destin] Okay so fires
can be a good thing if they’re done correctly,
is what you’re saying. – Fires are a excellent
thing if done correctly. But we have to do it correctly. – [Destin] What do you mean? – You have to prescribe,
get your conditions right, prescribe the fire, get a burn permit from the Forestry Commission
and do what’s right for nature. You’re just mimicking what nature did. If we weren’t here it would be happening. If you have nobody here,
get away all the people, all the roads, and you just
have wildlife out there, a lightning strike hits
a tree, starts a fire. It’d go for miles, tens of
miles, hundreds of miles. So the southeast was
seeing fire very frequent and thus you had longleaf pine there. – [Destin Voiceover]
Dr. Kush explained to me that the longleaf pine is different. He explained that it
has adapted the ability to actually be burned during
its first few years of life. Dr. Barlow and Dr. Kush took me outside to see actual longleaf pines
and explain how they work. – We actually have a longleaf
pine in the grass stage here. – [Dr. Kush] I planted
this four years ago. The idea of trying to bring
longleaf pine back to this site. It passed the stage where it doesn’t really put
out any woody extension growth like all trees do. It waits for its chance to
take fires for a couple years and then that central bud,
it will one day decide that it’s time to come
out of the grass stage and off it will go. – [Destin] Really? That is not,
– What that– – [Destin] That is not what I think of when I think of a small tree. – It is not. Any longleaf pine this size can take fire. Any other tree will die. – [Destin] So that’s
why it exists like this. – That’s why it exists like this. And then when it comes
out of that grass stage, it’ll put on four or five
feet of growth in that year, get its quote unquote head above the fire, and it just hangs out for the next three, four hundred years. – [Destin] So this is just a
completely different strategy for survival?
– Absolutely. Unique in the world. – [Destin Voiceover]
When the longleaf pine is in the grass stage, it’s busy
making a very deep taproot, which also means it’s drought resistant. Check out the comparison
of this loblolly pine and this longleaf pine. – This is only two years old
and that’s four years old. – [Destin] We’re in 35 days of drought. Did this die recently? – Yeah this probably just happened within the last three or four days. – [Destin] Oh really?
– Yeah. – [Destin] So we’ve got
some real data here. – This is real data. This is actual. – [Destin] Loblolly pine
died because of the drought. The longleaf pine is just kicking it. – He’s just hanging out saying, “I’m not quite ready to come
out of the grass stage.” What that trigger’s gonna
be, nobody knows but– – [Destin] At some point
its gonna figure it out. – My guess just based on the size now, it’s gonna come out next year. – [Destin Voiceover]
Odd as it might sound, talking to Dr. Kush and
Dr. Barlow taught me that one of the reasons
Granddaddy’s trees might have died would’ve been lack of fire. Four days after visiting
Auburn University, I’m driving across northern Florida. Trees on the left side of
the road are tall and healthy but they have burned trunks. Trees on the right side
of the road are crowded and they look like scrub brush. It all clicked when I saw this sign. – I could not have
planned this if I tried. Turns out, there’s a place down here called the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. They’re all about the longleaf pine and I have to show you what I learned. These people are awesome. This is Ashlyn.
(Ashlyn laughs) I just found this place. And I’m seeing that right there, which leads me to believe that
you guys believe in burning to promote longleaf pine
health, is that right? – Very controlled burning. – [Destin] Controlled burning.
(Ashlyn laughs) But the whole idea is to get the fuel at the bottom of the ecosystem to take out all the scrub brush right? – Exactly, yes. – [Destin] Cool and you said
there’s somebody I can talk to? – Yeah definitely, we’ll find Bob. – ‘Kay we’re gonna go see Turtle Bob who knows about burning longleaf pines. – Hi.
– [Destin] Nice to meet you. So you know about burning longleaf pines? – Well, we’ve burned a few. (laughter) – [Ashlyn] Planted a few as well. – Fire is important to keep the longleaf pine ecosystem alive because to start with, it
requires bare mineral soil to start germinating. And then what it does
is it opens it up enough for gopher tortoises to survive. Gopher tortoises have
to have an open habitat. – [Ashlyn] This is a gopher tortoise. – [Destin] And these are the turtles, or they’re not turtles, they’re tortoises, that make the burrows right?
– Yes. – [Destin] And they make the burrows as a result of the longleaf pine? – They do make it in
that nice open sandy soil that can be found in the
longleaf pine ecosystem. And they dig those burrows
really far into the ground and it’s not only important for them, but they are a keystone species because they’re gonna dig those burrows which can house up to
200 or 350 other species, especially during those fires. – [Destin] She’s waving. – Those animals need places to go. Really good place to do that is gonna be a big hole in the ground. – [Destin Voiceover] Ashlyn
took me out into the forest and showed me several young longleaf pines in the grass stage and
then the secondary stage known as the bottle brush phase, which then leads to the sapling phase and finally the mature trees. Ashlyn took me out further into the forest to show me the holes that
the gopher tortoises dig and this is where it all came together. Because this tree can survive fire, the underbrush gets cleared away which paves way for this turtle to gain access to the forest floor where it can dig these holes. As Burning Bob explained, these holes support
hundreds of other species that’re then able to
live on the forest floor, which creates an ecosystem which can sustain even
larger umbrella species such as the black bear. So it isn’t about a single tree, it’s about an entire ecosystem. An ecosystem which takes advantage of one particular tree’s
ability to survive fire. – [Destin] So this is what
the natural forest looks like? – Yes, if we didn’t burn
it, lightning would. And then it would eventually
have this nice open clear area. Lots of room for the wildlife to live in compared to this side.
– [Destin] But this side. (Destin laughs) – Lots of different kinds of trees. We’ve got some slash pines,
we’ve got some oak trees, yaupon hollies, taking
over, kind of crowding out some of those other pine trees
that would typically be here. And then there’s a ton
of leafler on the ground. We actually call that
pine straw our fuel load. If lightning were to strike that right now it would burn entirely
too hot entirely too quick and would definitely turn into a wildfire which would be very bad. – So if I were to decide to plant a tree, what would you tell me? What do I need to know? – I would say plant a longleaf if you live in an area
that’ll sustain a longleaf. You’re gonna need to
be upland, not too wet. Definitely stick to the native plants. – So look at the local
environment and the ecosystem and identify the silvics
of the trees in your area and figure out what trees will grow there and then pick something
like that, you’d say? – Yeah, something that’s a lot of different animals are gonna use. – Okay, so think about
the whole ecosystem. Don’t just think about the one tree. – Yeah, it doesn’t have to look pretty but it has a job. (laughter) – that’s the whole
point of this entire video. We’ve partnered with
the Arbor Day Foundation because they are the experts. They understand the silvics, they know exactly what tree
to plant in what location, and the goal is simple. We want to raise $20 million
for 20 million trees by 2020. And to do that we’re gonna need your help. And I would encourage you to
consider going to and donating or right
here on the YouTube page, there’s a donate button below. If you use that, YouTube’s gonna pay for the transaction fees. This is a huge thing that
we’re all doing together. It is rare to have the opportunity to plant one tree for one dollar so I’m gonna take advantage of that. I don’t know if you’ve
ever planted a tree. It’s kind of expensive to
go buy an individual tree and put it in the ground
but at this kind of scale you can literally plant a thousand trees for a thousand dollars or a hundred trees for a hundred dollars or 10 trees for 10 dollars. Your money goes a really long
way to help the environment. So if you’re interested in
doing that, or click the button below
to donate here on YouTube. In fact, the sponsor for
this video, Hello Fresh, they’ve agreed to donate
$5000 to plant 5000 trees. (beep) This episode of Smarter Every Day and my donation to
is sponsored by Hello Fresh and you’re gonna help today, Dad? – I’m gonna try. – [Destin] I don’t ever think
you’ve cooked in front of me. Maybe–
– Hot dogs and eggs is all I know. – [Destin] All right okay, there we go. Today we’re gonna do
pineapple poblano beef tacos and we’re gonna cook for Mom. You think we can do this? You’ve assemble spacecraft. – I have. – [Destin] We can do this. Got our meats, got our ingredients. Let’s get to chopping. Hello Fresh is a home
meal kit delivery system that sends you fresh
ingredients to your house. You can cook it, it’s really simple. Just follow the instructions and you can make a delicious
meal for your family. Poblano.
– Poblano. – [Destin Voiceover] If you
want to make Hello Fresh at your house, you can get
it by going to and using the promo code
smarter80 at checkout. That gets you 80 bucks off the
first month of Hello Fresh, which is like eight free meals. That is a lot of food
and a lot of savings. – Drizzle? Oh. – [Destin] Oh?
– Oh? (laughter) – [Destin] You’re the one I got it from. (Darryl laughs) Hello Fresh is now from $5.66 per serving so you can feed your family delicious food at an affordable price. All right, moment of truth. What do you think? – It’s good. – Big thanks to Hello
Fresh for sponsoring this. Big portion of this sponsorship
is gonna go towards trees at (beep) Please consider going to and joining Team Trees. Also go check out all these other videos these other creators are making. We’re all in this together. We are trying to do this
huge movement together and we need you on Team Trees. So that’s it! I’m Destin, you’re
getting smarter every day. Have a good one. Bye.

100 thoughts on “How to Plant 20 MILLION TREES – Smarter Every Day 227 #TeamTrees”

  1. If you're awesome and want to "join" #TeamTrees, use the first link in the video description or you can click on the YouTube donate link above! My favorite thing about this whole movement is that tons of people are coming together from all over the internet to unify for a common goal. I genuinely get excited when a diverse group of people come together to do something amazing, and I believe this could be our moment. If you're a working adult, please consider donating in a big way to this. I can think of no more efficient way for your dollars to be converted into ACTUAL, REAL LIFE TREES! LET'S plant 20 Million trees!!

  2. This fundraiser is amazing, but trees would be able to expand on themselves if not humanity cuts brace yourselves 3,5 – 7 BILLION trees per year. We would have to plant 20million trees EVERY day to coop with the 7 billion per year (worst case) as / 20.000.000 = 350. and a year consists out of 365 days. Many companies get rich destroying the environment, destroying the planet. And as grand as this collaboration is, the problem lies in those woodprocessing companies who make billions and billions.

  3. Throughout the world, about 900 million trees are cut down annually. This equates to about 2.47 million trees cut down every day

  4. Plant trees in the Cities over the concrete and blacktop. Having tree coverage from direct sunlight helps a lot. Liberate Amazon from Brazil. That is the first biggest solution to this tree issue!!!

  5. Destin, why is it that when I spin a UK 10p coin my friends and I only see the tails side of the coin when looking from the side but when we spin a 5p coin looking from the side results in us only seeing the heads side of the coin?

  6. Planting is not a big deal
    The real deal start after planting
    The establishment of sapling is vital so do manage to alter the micro climate by enhancing the environment

  7. Great initiative. Too bad they don’t mention that not 20 million trees grow up to full size trees. They will plant them tight and eventually only the biggest will make it. But better than nothing. Just know it won’t be 20 million full size trees. The question that is, on how many acres/hectares will those trees be planted.

  8. I'd like to make a donation. But the economy of our country is very bad right now. I live in Turkey . I hope the dollar drops and I can support this project.

  9. This video didn't mention how insignificant 20 milion trees really are. To put it in prespective, every day 41 milion trees is cut. Planting 20 milion trees is a good start but certainly isnt enough to change the world.

  10. Dr. Kush and Dr. Barlow are two of the most influential professors I've had in my college career. Great people who love their jobs helping students learn and who love long leaf pine very much. War Eagle!

  11. 20 million "trees". Sounds great. What sort of "trees"? There are economic advantages to planting certain trees over others. Say … 20-million fruit & nut trees instead of hemlocks or Australian pines. Just saying…

  12. How about planting a thousand trees correctly instead of a million badly?!?
    I am a US Treestorian & Arboricultural engineer and suggest you do a planting smarter everyday video.

    At least little Arborday trees are bare-root whips. Where one can stretch Roots ALL outbound like guy wires on a Tower antenna, and plant its stem at original birth grade level in ground, where green trunk tissue turns into Brown taprloot tissue.

    Then a LITE sprinkle of large bark mulch chips totally FLAT around drip zone of tree.

    DO NOT Build any mulch or soil bucket or NO doughnut mound around base of tree to help pool irrigation water. Higher walls above the ground will suffocate tree's root system underneath from oxygen which above-ground produces for below-ground to breathe.

  13. What a wonderful idea!

    A great way to give back to the environment and provide job security to families.

    For those unaware of the forestry term "thinning" spoken of at 2:50 , around here it's after the pines are roughly 10-15 years old and the trees are crowded up and fighting over resources. Logging crews come in and "thin out" the plantations by harvesting every other tree to allow the surviving trees to thrive until the next harvest.

  14. I understand how to plant a view trees. But how do you fit 20mio of them in a ecosystem? How much land do you need, how much nutrition / care do you need afterwards. Would be awesome if you could touch this topic.

  15. We're planting a billion trees and it's going to cost like 180M NZD so if you're paying a US dollar per tree you're getting ripped off.

  16. Guys, please come plant trees in Panama City, Fl. After hurricane Micheal we lost all of our trees. We need trees!! If you know how to request this fundraiser to come here with trees let me know!

  17. All Eucalyptus or gumtrees here in Australia can not only survive fire, they actively promote fire. They evaporate out their eucalyptus oil (yes!) on hot days (hence the Blue Mountains outside Sydney are called that, as the oil in the air turn into a blue haze from all the evaporated oil), hoping that a fire will start due to a lighting strike. The oil will help the fire to spread and become more intense. The fire will burn all trees with bark on their stem, but gumtrees drop their bark, so they can survive the fire. The gum-nuts also only germinate after a fire, so their offspring takes over burnt areas from other species after those have been killed by the fire.

  18. Some facts for your consideration:
    -There are ~3 trillion trees in the world. Yes, 3,000,000,000,000 or 150,000×20,000,000
    -Humans cut down ~15 billion trees every year and replant ~5 billion.
    -Trees germinate nauturally, producing millions of seeds throughout their individual life spans.
    -Proper forest management – rather than hands off conservation – dramatically increases the economic and environmental value of existing forestland, as well as practically eliminates the threat of destructive and avoidable forest fires.

  19. So, I know everyone is using this as a way to boost their charitable giving on their taxes, but how do I know what organizations to go to to get official receipts of donation? I don't want to donate and not get the tax benefit that everyone else is getting for doing this.

  20. I will be surprised if a decent percentage of the donated funds actually go to the cause they are supposedly being generated for.

  21. Why haven't any of these scientific types gone through the logistics of planting 20m trees for $20m. Seems to me like planting a single tree for a single dollar only works on the small scale. Does the arbor day foundation really have the resources to plant 18,000 trees per day for three years, for $1 per tree? Seems incredibly unlikely.

    I would never think for a second that a single one of the youtubers supporting this plan would do so with bad intentions, but I feel like they are inadvertently making a promise that won't be delivered.

  22. Hmm, I'd like to plant trees in my yard. I wonder what I should plant, living in Ohio. "What should someone plant living, in say, Ohio?" Thanks!

  23. @SED 1:22 How did you get that map of Longleaf Pines growing area in your region? Can you tell me a specific website or something?

  24. Great initiative of doing something good.
    20 000 000 trees would take approximately 12 121 hectares, or roughly 30 000 acres of land. Would the trees be planted on protected lands, or private lands?
    I wouldn't like to see the trees been cut down in 20 years!

  25. It’s crazy seeing Destin go from visiting my school to visiting the biophilia center literally 15 minutes from my house. WACK

  26. How does the Arbour day foundation support theor claim that $1 = 1 tree? I haven't been able to see it online anywhere.

  27. Great inititive…and good start!
    Some questions 1. Where, who and how will they plant the trees? 2. How do they ensure that the trees grow to mature age? Are they being planted as new forests or into existing ones?
    Also supposedly there are about 3 Trillion Trees, Pakistan has planted over 1 Billion trees, so 20 Million sounds great, but needs be scaled around the world.

  28. The Australian Aboriginals used extensive burn-offs to reduce undergrowth so new grass would grow and attract kangaroos etc. Some Australian trees will only germinate after being in a fire.

  29. Am i the only one who thinks 2millions is a very low number compared to all the views this already got from all the channels?

  30. 20 M trees is a nice goal. BUT I'd like to know HOW these trees will be planted (monoculture ?) and in what purpose (biodiversity or logging ?).
    The best way to have a sustainable forest : just wait and see, nature will grow by itself the most adapted trees for the area.


  32. 3.5 to 7 billion trees are cut down a year according to Rainforest Action Network 🌲 😞 20 million is surely something. Thank you everyone for contributions.

  33. Best two professors at Auburn right there! I am one of their graduate students, so I am a bit biased. Even saw my name on the Longleaf Pine Stand Dynamics Lab tag – so proud to be a part of that! (I don't remember signing a release though? lol j/k.)

  34. China has been doing from a long time .. and has actually planted billions of trees check out Anton Petrov he talks about it

  35. Destin please buy a gimbal! This was really hard to watch because of the picture moving so much. ☹️ Check out the Weebil S, it's very strong and compact.

  36. Here mostly we plant palm oil tree.we make oxygen,we save ecosystem,we got animals living on it but,why does some goverment condemn this type of tree?

  37. So knowing that new trees take a little over 20 gallons of water a week for there first 2 years of growth, where are we going to get the roughly 42 BILLION gallons of water from?

  38. I'm curious about the actual scale of 20 million trees. What would be the amount of effective land area that would be covered by 20 million trees? (understandably, the density of trees would vary by species)

  39. I live in the Florida panhandle and grew up next to a greenbelt that routinely received controlled burns. I became quite accustomed to having a smoke-filled backyard at certain times of the year. I knew that it was to clear out the underbrush but didn't know that it was specifically for the longleaf pines. Very cool

  40. I don't know how it is in the rest of the world, but in Switzerland planting trees doesn't make much sense. We have quite the population density and it is strictly regulated, where living space, farm land and forests are. I think the forests are slowly growing to the determent of the mountain meadows. The only place where planting trees would kind of help are gardens. But in the living-zones we always have to make higher housing density, since our population is growing. Because of that houses with big gardens will eventually get replaced by several houses with smaller gardens. And the tree will get removed.

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