Direct tree planting restoration systems are frequently used for recovering degraded tropical landscapes. Although manual planting tends to be more viable economically and logistically over small areas, in large restorations the use of agricultural equipment that optimizes effort is preferable. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficiency of the two native tree species planting systems—manual and mechanized—used in the restoration of Atlantic Forest landscapes that have been converted to pasture. In recently abandoned grazing areas with abundant cover of the exotic grass Brachiaria humidicola, 393 seedlings of 6 species were planted in two treatments: a mechanized planting system (soil prepared with a rotary tiller attached to a tractor; seedlings in polypropylene tubes) and a manual planting system (holes dug with a manual excavator; seedlings wrapped in polyethylene bags). After 12 months, survival (manual: 85%; mechanized: 71%) and growth rates (RGRheight: manual = 0.88 ± 0.06 and mechanized = 0.98 ± 0.06 cm/cm; RGRdiameter: manual = 0.77 ± 0.05 and mechanized = 0.86 ± 0.05 cm/cm) were high in both treatments, but no differences were found between them. Both planting systems proved efficient for planting native tree seedlings in pastures. The excellent results demonstrated in this study by the mechanized planting system are important because this cheap and readily available technique provides a good, but less frequently used, alternative to the manual planting system.