Do You Want to Pick Cones?

Before you start collecting cones come to the VFM office to learn what to look for in a quality cone. Call ahead to make an appointment at (705) 560-6363.


Cone Picking

VFM is responsible for maintaining an adequate supply of tree seed to meet its forest renewal obligations.  Contractors are hired to collect, measure, identify seed zone, store, and ship cones to the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus (near Barrie).  The Seed Plant extracts seeds from the cones and stores the seed in frozen storage.

VFM purchases white pine, red pine, jack pine, and white spruce cones.  Red pine is the most sought-after species on the Sudbury Forest.  It takes some expertise to identify tree species and to recognize ripe but unopened cones.  Jack pine is the simplest species to pick because viable seeds remain stored in closed cones on the branches for many years.  The other three species provide a relatively narrow window of opportunity for collection.  Cones must be picked after the seed is adequately ripe, but before the cones open and release the seeds.  These windows are a little bit different for each species, but last about a month and a half some time between August and October.

Cone collecting can be done at an active logging site with approval of the harvester.  This is the most common method for collecting jack pine.  However, the most common technique for collecting the remaining species is to raid squirrel caches.  It is expressly forbidden to cut down trees for the sole purpose of collecting cones.

Individuals holding cone-picking contracts may pick all the cones themselves, or may buy cones from the general public.

If you are interested in picking cones, please call VFM at 705-560-6363.