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The State Forest Nursery has urgent need for Jack pine, red pine, and black spruce cones

The State Forest Nursery needs to acquire hundreds of bushels of evergreen cones within the next few months to meet state and county orders for spring 2022 reforestation efforts, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

DNR foresters coordinate the seeding of approximately 5,000 acres each year to reforest DNR-managed land. Seeds are also planted at the nursery to grow tree seedlings, which are used in reforestation efforts on public and private land across Minnesota.

Most of the nursery’s seeds and cones are purchased from the public. Prices paid to private individuals for seed collection range from $20 - $150/bushel, depending on the type of cone.

“We rely very heavily on the public to supply seeds and cones to the State Forest Nursery,” said DNR Forestry Silviculture Program Coordinator, Mike Reinikainen. “Gathering seeds and cones is a great outdoor fall activity that helps produce future forests, plus it’s a good way to make some extra money.”

While a variety of tree seeds and cones are needed, black spruce, jack pine and red pine cones are in particularly high demand. Because black spruce cones can be challenging to reach, DNR staff can direct people interested in gathering these cones to timber harvest locations where black spruce tops have been left on site. 

Before collecting seeds or cones, contact one of the DNR seed drop off locations for more information, including instructions on how to present cones for purchase.

Seeds and cones may be collected on your own property or on state forest land.

Jack pine and red pine will be accepted through November, provided the cones have not opened. Black spruce cones will be accepted through February 2022.

To learn more, visit the DNR’s Seed and Cone Collection website.