DNR to Purchase Pine Cones From The Public This Fall

September 25, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) offices in Manistique and Marquette will once again purchase clean, unopened red and jack pine cones this fall to collect seeds needed for reforestation efforts.

pine cone collection“The annual pine cone buying program provides an opportunity for residents to contribute to the DNR’s rejuvenation efforts and help produce millions of seedlings that will help sustain Michigan’s state forest land,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division (FRD) and state forester. “The DNR’s regeneration efforts have been successful for more than 30 years. With help from folks collecting pine cones, the outcome of this program can be enjoyed for years to come.”

The DNR will pay between $30 and $35 a bushel for high-quality cones. The seeds contained in the cones will be placed in cold storage at the DNR-operated Wyman State Nursery until they are needed. The Manistique-based facility produces between 5 million and 7.5 million seedlings annually to help replenish Michigan’s forest land. To produce those seedlings, seed stock must be collected every year.

While the pine cones collected have traditionally come from the eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, the DNR is looking to push cone collection in the western U.P. this fall.

“The western U.P. has some of the highest-quality jack pine stands in the state,” said Tom Seablom, an FRD timber management specialist in Marquette. “The DNR would like to start an annual collection program from this area so other areas can benefit.”

The DNR offers the following tips for people who want to start collecting pine cones:

  • Look for squirrel caches.
  • Pick cones off the tops of trees from recent timber sales.
  • Remember that only cones that are tight (unopened) and clean (free of sticks, debris, rot, decay and fungus) will be accepted.
  • Keep the cones cool to ensure that they do not begin to compost; the seeds will die at high temperatures.

After the DNR purchases the pine cones, they are dried and the seeds are extracted and cleaned.

People interested in picking and selling cones should contact the FRD staff person in their area for more information and to get the dates each office will be buying cones. In Manistique, people can contact Richard Mergener at 906-341-2518; and in Marquette, folks should contact Tom Seablom at 906-250-5714.

For more information about the DNR’s reforestation efforts and state forest planning, visit www.michigan.gov/forestplan.

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