World-Record Planting Frenzy

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Saskatoon man plants 15,000 plus trees. Not only did Ken Chaplin unofficially break the world record, he buried it and left it in his dust.

The 31-year-old Saskatoon-based tree planter set an unofficial world record for the most trees planted in one day by one person.

For 19 hours Saturday at Lily Plain on Greg Road approximately 20 kilometres west of Prince Albert, Chaplin took up the challenge of planting an average one tree every 4.5 seconds, or 798.4 trees per hour.

His incredible mark of 15,170 planted trees smashed the last record of 12,380 set by his twin brother Curt. Prior to that, a Prince Albert planter had held the record at 10,500.

Most planters plant between 1,200 to 2,000 trees per day in a 10 hour period. That itself is a wearing experience on the body, Chaplin added. Chaplin was the first to cross the 10,000 mark when he broke the world record five years ago.

In order to institute his record into the Guinness Book of World Records, Chaplin had to have two independent people completely removed from the situation to witness the event.

tp3His girlfriend and father stayed with him all day to help with the process. They made sure he had boxes at the end of each row so that when he landed he could bag up and keep the flow going.

The world record attempt has been three years in the making, said Chaplin. Two years ago when he tried, he had tendonitis so bad in his wrist he could not move his arm. Last year the ground wouldn’t cooperate. But on Saturday, the conditions and setting were right for Chaplin to reach his 15,000-plus tree accomplishment.

“The terrain was like a table top, planting on a billiard table. I didn’t fall down, I didn’t trip,” he said.

However, in contrast to the perfect conditions, Chaplin paid the price for his back-breaking effort. By the end of the day tendonitis flared in both arms and hands. One of his fingers didn’t work too well either, he said. “I’m not paralysed but it’s not bending that well. One toe has a blister the size of a quarter on it as well,” he added. “I probably ate a bottle of Ibuprofen (Sunday).”

As reward for accomplishing the new standard, Chaplin received a contract payment of $910 for his days work – six cents per tree.

He also considered it his official retirement from tree planting when the light finally faded away Saturday. “I’ve done it for 15 years now during the summers, and this was my final goal. I just put the bags away and definitely decided this will be it,” he chuckled.

Chaplin is confident in his decision, saying that it would take “the planets to align” to recreate the ideal situation he experienced over the weekend.

Chaplin leaves Wednesday for Los Angeles where he works on the CBS television series Judging Amy as a key set production assistant.

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