The flip side to getting seeds for your forestry projects is helping the Seed Bank collect seeds from your area. If you want to help ensure the widest array of genetic diversity of seeds from your zone, you can help out by allowing seed to be collected on your land.
Collecting high quality seed involves more effort than simply going into the woods and collecting cones. Conifers produce viable seed only once in seven to fifteen years. Then, when there is a good crop coming, the cones must be collected in the one to two weeks when they are at their peak maturity. The seed is collected by trained contractors, then the seed must be certified by a Registered Professional Forester.
Since prime cone collection season happens at the same time a fire season, CalFIRE foresters may not be available for identifying good crops or certifying the seed, so they and their sister agencies are considering developing a network of private landowners to watch their area and report a possible candidate cone crop.
If you want to participate, look in your forest in mid to late summer and report to the Seed Bank (L. A. Moran Seed Bank – 530-753-2441) if you notice a particularly heavy cone crop developing.
If you want to allow collection on your land, here is what to look for:
- Seed must come from many different individual trees to maintain genetic diversity
- Good seed trees are dominant or co-dominant, at least 12” in diameter and of seed bearing age. They are good-looking, healthy and vigorous with a straight stem.
Collection guidelines limit collection to 25 to 50 bushels per location, 2 bushels per tree in a stand, where each stand is separated by at least 200 to 300 feet. This means, the collection area needs to be large.
There will be a workshop on cone collection in early summer. For information, call Teri Griffis at 530-753-2441. For the full Forestland Steward article, go to http://ceres.ca.gov/foreststeward/pdf/news-winter2013.pdf
I have noticed on my land that the redwoods have been golden with pollen and my sinuses have been in a state of outrage for a month. It will be interesting to see what the cone load looks like later…