Indiana’s state tree nursery in Vallonia will pay you to collect certain tree seeds through the state if they seeds meet DNR specifications.
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, white oak, bur oak, chinkapin oak, swamp chestnut oak and swamp white oak. See the table on the website here for current pricing and collection dates.
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 the office – an air-conditioned basement is good for a short period of time.