Cone and seed collection

DNR forester and landowner walking in landowner's woodlands

Help harvest seeds for a greener tomorrow.

Do you know of a woodland or forest that produces large amounts of seeds or cones?

Before collecting seeds or cones, contact one of the DNR seed drop-off locations to check which seeds are needed and how to collect and process them.

The Nursery is currently in critical need of black spruce cones. Watch this video on how to identify and gather black spruce cones.

Only high-quality, ripe, closed black spruce cones free of stems and debris are eligible for purchase. Colorado blue, white, or Norway spruce cones are not accepted. The window to collect and sell viable black spruce cones is open now through February 2024.

Why collect?

  • The seeds and cones you collect play a crucial role in the reforestation of state forests, parks, schools, and private lands across the state.
  • We need your help collecting local seeds to grow trees adapted to our climate and produce more resilient forests.
  • The Nursery greatly depends on the public to maintain our seed supply.
  • Engaging in this activity can also be a wonderful family activity that offers a chance to earn some extra income. Prices for seeds range from $20 to $150 per bushel, depending on the specific tree species.

How it works

  1. Check the seed and cone collection map to identify drop-off locations for your area.
  2. Call the appropriate area forestry office drop-off location beforehand and ask what kinds of seeds and cones they need and how many. They may be at capacity for some seeds.
  3. Check our price list. Prices differ according to species. We need both deciduous and coniferous tree seeds!
  4. Check regulations before collecting. You may need a permit to harvest from public land (Contact your local DNR office). Minnesota state forests do not require a permit if you are collecting seeds and cones to sell to the Nursery. If collecting on private land, get permission from the landowner.
  5. Follow seed-collecting guidelines to ensure you collect clean, viable seeds that will grow into seedlings. Seeds are only viable under certain conditions and times of year.
    Tips:
  6. Store seeds and cones in a breathable container and in a cool, dry location. Deliver to a drop-off location as soon as possible. The Nursery will not accept low-quality seeds or cones.
  7. Make sure to know where the seeds were collected and the date, as this will be recorded when you drop them off at the area office.
  8. Once seeds and cones are checked for quality in the area offices, they will write you a receipt and a check based on the price list and the number of bushels collected. The DNR does not pay sales tax on seeds and cones.

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