Collecting Conifer Cones

If you are collecting cones for the Minnesota State Forest Nursery, contact your area forestry office for a list of tree species and quantities accepted and the dates and times when cones will be purchased. Refer to seed zone map for more information. Collecting, storing, and delivering large quantities of high-quality cones, you are helping to grow coniferous forest adapted to Minnesota.

Species

Crop freq.

(years)

Time to collect cones

Cone ripeness

Bearing Age (minimum years)

Range of pds/seed/

bushel

of cones

Average

seeds/

pound

Average seeds/oz.

Production

cycle (years)

Flowering

Dates

Tamarack

3–4

August

Tan

20–40

0.25–0.75

280,000

17,500

1April– May

Balsam fir

2–3

August

Purple–Brown

15–20

2.0–2.5

60,000

3,750

1May

White spruce

2–6

August

Tan

20–25

0.4–1.2

180,000

11,250

1May

White pine

3–10

 

September

Reddish– Purple

5–10

0.6–1.0

22,000

1,375

2May–June

White cedar

2–3

 

September

Tan

20–30

1.0

320,000

20,000

1April–May

Jack pine

3–4

September

Tan

3–15

0.4–0.8

110,000

6,875

2April–May

Red pine

3–7

 

September

Purple

20–25

0.5–0.8

50,000

3,125

2May–June

Black spruce

4–5

 

September

Purple

30–40

0.25–0.75

380,000

27,375

1May–June

Red cedar

2–3

September

Blue

10

7.0–9.0

40,000

2,500

1April–May