Wisconsin DNR offering money for properly collected red pine cones
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking help in replenishing its supply of red pine seeds. They are offering to pay $125 a bushel for properly collected red pine cones.
Red Pine are the number one conifer for timber production in Wisconsin and in recent years, many red pine plantations have reached maturity.
“A lot of the large pine plantations were planted in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s and trees don’t live forever, we need to harvest and utilize them and then we need to replant and the only way to do that is to produce the seedlings to replant with,” said DNR Forest Regeneration Specialist Jeremiah Auer.
Jeremiah Auer says due to the lack of good cone crops over the past couple of years, the supply of red pine seeds at the state’s nurseries are dwindling.
“Red pine, white pine, jack pine are native pines, those are the most popular seedlings that people purchase for industry, for private landowners, for everybody and so we need a lot of seed to produce that many seedlings and we’re talking 1.5 million seedlings a year usually between red pine, white pine and jack pine, so it’s quite a bit,” Auer said.
Auer says September is the ideal time to collect red pine cones because that’s when they turn from green to purplish brown.
The DNR is seeking cones at that mature stage, yet before the scales open to release the seeds.
Auer says every year, the DNR purchases seed from native trees and shrubs to meet reforestation goals in Wisconsin and he’s hoping more people will consider becoming a seed collector.
“As far as those folks that pick, it’s not a big community, it’s kind of small and it’s just fun, it is a lot of work so it’s not a get rich quick type thing, it takes a lot of effort to do it, but I do it, I think it’s kind of rewarding,” Auer said.
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