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Collect Tree Seeds for Cash
Indiana Ag Connection - 09/14/2018

Indiana's state tree nurseries in Vallonia and Medaryville may pay you to collect certain tree seed throughout the state.

Each year, the nurseries, part of the DNR Division of Forestry, plant millions of seeds to produce tree and shrub seedlings for conservation planting within the state. Each year much of the seed the nurseries use is supplied by collectors from all over the state. DNR Forestry pays seed collectors on the basis of "pure live seed." That term means the seeds must be from the required tree species, and cannot be infected with disease or infested with insects.

DNR Forestry's goal is to produce 2-3 million seedlings each year for conservation plantings. Because of natural factors, achieving that goal requires planting about 8.5 million seeds. DNR Forestry, which operates the nurseries, orchestrates statewide seed collection with the goal of diversifying the seed source. Such diversification allows the nursery to grow seedlings that will be well adapted to grow into mature trees throughout the state.

Some of the seeds being sought, and the price per seed offered, include black oak, black walnut, pin oak, red oak, shumard oak, and white oak (2 cents per each qualifying seed); and bur oak, chinkapin oak, swamp chestnut oak and swamp white oak (3 cents per each qualifying seed). A complete list of species needed, prices and dates needed is at dnr.IN.gov/forestry/9799.htm.

Some pointers for collecting:

- Always call first to see if the seeds you plan to collect are still needed.

- Collect only seeds and fruit -- no leaves, sticks, or trash.

- Keep species separate -- if you're not certain that two (or more) trees are the same species, keep them in separate containers.

- If you are not certain if you have the proper species, email a photo of the seed/fruit, leaves, bark, and twigs to the address below for identification.

- Most of the listed species are ripe and ready to collect when they fall off the tree.

- Healthy acorns (with the exception of bur oak) will fall free of the cap.

- Keep the seeds/fruit cool until you can deliver it to us -- an air-conditioned basement is good for a short period of time.

Contact the Vallonia Nursery, 812-358-3621, vallonianursery@dnr.IN.gov, or the Jasper-Pulaski Nursery, 219-843-4827, or jaspernursery@dnr.IN.gov for more information.

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