ST. PAUL -- The Department of Natural Resources is seeking the public’s help in collecting black spruce cones to alleviate a shortage of black spruce seed in northwest and northeast Minnesota.

To address this, the DNR needs an additional 800 bushels of black spruce cones within the next few weeks. The DNR relies on individual collectors to provide cones to the state forest nursery.

“This shortage will significantly reduce our ability to seed new black spruce forests this spring,” said Mike Reinikainen, forestry silviculture program coordinator for the DNR.

The nursery dries the cones, extracts the seeds and sells the seed to land managers. Approximately 6,000 acres of black spruce in Minnesota are replanted each year with seeds from the nursery.

The DNR can direct people to areas where they can find black spruce cones and will purchase those cones for $70 per bushel.

Before collecting cones, people should contact one of the following DNR seed-buying stations for for more information and directions on how to present cones for purchase:

  • Northwest: Warroad area office, (218) 386-1304; Baudette area office, (218) 634-2172.
  • Northeast: Orr field station, (218) 757-3274; Littlefork area office, (218) 278-6651; Tower, area office, (218) 300-7821; Two Harbors area office, (218) 834-1420.
  • North-central: Hibbing area office, (218) 231-8022; Cloquet area office, (218) 878-5640; Minnesota State Forest Nursery, (218) 652-2385; Bemidji area office, (218) 308-2065; Deer River area office, (218) 246-8343; and Northome field station, (218) 897-5254.

Cones may be collected on the collectors’ property or on state forest land. To be eligible for purchase, cones must be high quality, ripe and free of stems and debris. The DNR will need black spruce cones through the end of February.

More info: mndnr.gov/forestry and click the “Black spruce cones needed now” link.