The season starts, and you’re gearing up. You’ll pretty much always have gloves on your buy list every year.
In truth, along with boots, gloves are amongst the most important gear you’ll have as a tree planter.
They’ll keep your hands warm on cold days, protect your skin from slivers, and help you put trees in the ground without ripping your hands apart.
For some of us, just one type of glove won’t be enough, we’ll have to get a glove setup that will alternate from one situation to another.
3 Traits of Good Tree Planting Gloves
So what makes a good glove for tree planting?
- Dexterity: Thin gloves let you handle and plant trees into the ground with ease.
- Warmth: You want to keep your hands from freezing on cold days, so you have to prepare accordingly.
- Protection: You also want to protect your skin from slivers, rocks, and even herbicides in some provinces.
I think dexterity and protection are primordial for the majority of planters, while warmth may differ from one planter to another.
For example, my hands keep their warmth well, even in cold weather I don’t need to worry about it.
You should consider how well your hands hold warmth in general, and prepare for cold days according to your situation.
Now let’s take a look at what a setup could look like:
A typical Setup
First, you want more than a single pair of gloves. You’ll easily go through many pairs of gloves in a season.
For some of us, pairs last only a couple of weeks, and for some people even less time.
In general, I go through a minimum of 10 pairs of gloves in a 20-week season.
In truth, your gloves’ lifespan will usually depend on the type of land you plant in.
For example, rocky land will destroy your gloves in a matter of days, while black earth, swamps, or sand won’t be rough on your gloves as much.
I don’t have specific brands to recommend, but I can show you the types of gloves that work.
Good Options for Tree Planting Gloves
These right here are the bread and butter of tree-planting gloves. Most tree planters buy a large pack of these for the season and call it a day.
You can order them at about $2.44 a pair on Amazon.
Here’s how I rate these:
They’re small enough to give you great dexterity, honestly, the only more dexterous way to plant would be to use duct tape finger or nitrile-only gloves.
They do protect you well, but they’re not tough and will tear fast.
On cold, wet days, they won’t keep your hands warm at all.
I see fewer people using these because it brings the dexterity down but personally have used them quite a lot since I started planting.
You can get those for $2 a pair as well on Amazon.
Here’s how I rate these:
Personally, I don’t feel the dexterity goes way down with these, but there is a difference since they are bulkier. You might have to open your tree hole a bit larger because of them.
In terms of warmth, it’s cotton and thicker than nylon gloves, so they keep your hands fairly warm.
When it comes to protection, these are great. They’re actually very durable, the cotton will take some time to rip and the latex coating stays strong even in harsh conditions.
I’ve had these gloves last more than a month, usually only with some tears at the knuckles.
Double-dipped gloves are a go-to for rainy days, they keep your dexterity while insulating your hands.
They’re not cheap though, they go for $15-$20 per pair depending on where you get them.
Here’s how I rate these:
They’re made strong and will likely last for many trees. The double nitrile coating sure adds durability.
Dirt doesn’t come through the glove which means you’ll keep your hands clean while planting. The only thing is that your hands won’t breathe and will likely stink at the end of the day.
If you really suffer on rainy days, a good pair of showas might just make it up to you.
Now I don’t suggest only using these to plant, as they’ll rip right away. Instead, use them along with another pair of gloves you might have.
I see people wearing a pair of these under their gloves to keep their hands warm.
These gloves usually only come out during cold weather. They insulate your hands super well.
You can get a 100-pack box for $12 on amazon.
How I rate these:
If your hands tend to get cold easily, then I recommend buying a box of these and your hands will thank you.
This is another case where you don’t want to wear only a pair of these for tree planting.
Typically they will come out only on cold days to keep your hands warm.
You just remove the top piece, and slip these on over a pair of nylon gloves. They’re great because they’ll actually keep your dexterity up while keeping your hands warm.
You can order a pair for $22 on Amazon.
Here’s how I rate these:
It’s not a bad idea to have a pair of these in your bag when you’re early or late in the season.
While it can be, it’s not always as simple as putting two gloves on and going at it. While there’s nothing wrong with that, with time, you might develop your own glove-wearing style.
What defines this is usually simple: Are you ambidextrous or do you plant with one hand?
My advice: If you are starting to plant now, learn to plant with both hands. It’s not hard to become an ambidextrous tree planter if you learn to do it from the beginning.
It’s when you already have the planting flow with one hand, that it’s hard to go ambidextrous.
If you’re ambidextrous, then your glove-wearing technique should be simple. You’ll probably just use the same type of glove in both hands.
But if you plant dominantly with one hand, you might want a glove with padding on your shovel hand and a thin glove on your tree hand.
Others may go gloveless on the tree planting hand, duct tape their fingertips, and put a glove on the shovel hand to prevent blisters.
In my opinion, start with gloves on both hands and experiment when you’re used to it.
My advice: Don’t mess with protection, wear gloves. I had an untreated sliver that turned into skin cancer, so please, please take it seriously.
You can do a few things to help your gloves last longer, and it doesn’t take much effort.
Tricks to Strengthen Your Tree Hand
The glove on your tree hand will take the most abuse. There are spots you can reinforce on your gloves that will make them last longer.
These are the usual weak spots on your gloves, where tears will happen:
If you can reinforce these areas, you can make your gloves last a lot longer.
A good way to do that is to tape your fingers with duct tape.
For real, if it’s not for your gloves, you’ll probably find a use for duct tape when you’re out in the bush.
Washing Your Gloves
I have gone my whole planting career mostly without washing my gloves. I have done it a few times, but I find it’s really not necessary.
Some gloves will break apart much faster after they go through a wash-and-dry cycle.
What I can say is that you don’t really need to wash them. Your gloves won’t stink, and they’ll get dirty again in your first bag-up.
But in the end, do what you prefer. It can be nice to always have a soft, dry pair of gloves to start the day.
Keep in mind that if you hard-dry your gloves daily, the nitrile or rubber coating will crack faster. It’s a similar concept with boots, where if you dry them too fast, the leather will get damaged and crack faster.
While this is by no means a must-follow guide, it should help you plan ahead for your tree-planting season.
There’s nothing wrong with using old pairs of gloves you had kicking around as well. It’s not necessary to buy everything ahead of time.
Although if you want to be optimized, then it’s a great idea to follow the advice here.
My Personal Glove Setup
To give you an example, I’ve been planting for many years now, and here’s the setup I will use this season:
- A 12-pack of nylon nitrile-coated gloves.
- 2 pairs of thick cotton gloves.
- 1 roll of duct tape.
Now I don’t need to worry about the cold because my hands always stay fairly warm but I would add a pair of those wool gloves if I needed it.
Additionally, I’m ambidextrous, so I won’t be using duct tape much, but some may need more than a roll for the season.
Those nitrile-only gloves are cheap and numerous, I really suggest them if you rather skip the wool gloves.
Well, that’s it! These are the best gloves for tree planting, in my opinion.
That’s what I recommend, and if you have any questions or tricks to add, feel free to comment down below and we’ll chat!
Protect your hands while planting my friends.
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