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HOW AND WHEN TO COLLECT

White Pine Seed

This and next year's crop of cones. Large ones mature and ready for picking.

By F. W, RANK Massachusetts Stat.,JForester


Room 7, State House BOSTON, MASS., - - U.
S. A.

-^v

^^Z^^A

The Staminate
of the

(male) and Pistillate (female) flowers


Pine.

These appear a year before hence it is an easy matter to determine a year in advance of a seed crop.
the cones develop
;

White

aift

08

1?
'xH^^ AND WHEN TO COLLECT WHITE PINE SEED 5
J^

npHE

white pine {Pinus Strohus)

is

one
in

of the

most

common

trees

found
is

Massachusetts and
great economic
writer
finds

New
little

England, and

of

and

aesthetic value, yet the


is

that

known about

its

method

of propagation.

Even

teachers

and those

who have studied


in the
all

botany and nature study, and again farmers

and men who have worked


or at the lumber industry

woods
lives,

their

seem never

to

have given the matter any

thought or definite observation.

White pine
it

is

grown from seed only;

does not sprout from the roots


as our

when
1

cut,

hard woods.
.

White pine ^
from seed only

our waste and abandoned lands

In replanting J J J

with white pine, the


collect the seed.

first

step

is

to

Some

evidently

think pine trees

come from

nothing, or

were

created, perhaps, but this

is

not the

way
agriis

Nature does

things.

If

we

expect an

cultural crop, the kind of grain

desired

planted

just so

with growing the white pine.

Pine seed comes from the cones which

grow upon
^ ^ Seed

the pine trees.

The

cones are
trees

more abundant upon ^

of

comes
from pine cones

twenty years of age or more, and


^^g located near the top of the
tree.

Old

single pasture pines,

or those growing in clumps or along the

edges of the

forest,

and more or

less limbed,

commonly

called

"cabbage

pines," are usu-

ally the greater

seed bearers.

These

trees,

also, are the easier to collect the


It

cones from.

requires

two seasons

for the white pine

cones to mature.

The embryo

cone, which

^^^
seasons for seeds to mature

is

the pistillate (female) blossom

of the pine, forms in the spring of


j.}^g
!

year, at
i
i

which time
i

it
i

is

feri

tilized,

and can be seen through-

out that whole season as a small, upright.

so-called "Christmas candle,"


long.

an inch or so

When

vegetation starts the second

season, however, the white pine

cone takes
reaches
full

on

activity,

and by August

it

size,

which

varies from four to six inches in


this

length.

During

time the seeds form at


scales.

the base

and under the

The

cones

remain green

until the latter part of

August

or fore part of September, depending upon


the nature of the season,

when

they mature
the cones,

and turn brown.


while
still

When mature,
tree,

hanging on the
at

open up
first

(spread out their scales)

the

dry

period, thus allowing the seeds

which have

been concealed to drop


seed
is

out.

Each

pine
in

provided with a delicate wing,

some
scattered

respects resembling the

wing
seed

of a bee,

and

this assists the

by wings

Very

much

in

its

distribution.

With
travel for

scarcely any

wind the seeds

some distance before they reach

the ground, so with a strong gale at time of

shedding,

one can imagine

how

far

they

may be
way.

distributed.
is

The

finding of isolated

pine seedlings

often accounted for in this

The

prevailing

wind

at time the cones

are opening governs the territory seeded.


If
is

we

desire to collect white pine seed, that

it

important

the cones

be collected

before they open and lose their


cones
before

seed.
jj^g
.

Thi?

may be done
^f jj^g

in

Jj^tt^j.

pg^^-j

month
r

of
i

they open

August,

any

time

before

the

cones open.

There are various methods


the cones, but the best advice
is

of collecting
to get

them

somehow.
Methods
of collect-

Picking with a long

ladder

is

one
.,,

way

another, and
1

ing cones

^^^
is

'^"at

Will

rccommend

ir

itselr,
is

to find out

where lumbering

going on, and collect the cones as they


the trees.

fell

When

connected with the

New Hampnumber
of

shire College the writer tried a

ways

of solving this

problem.

One which

worked very
or five boys

nicely

was

to

send about four

up the

trees to pick the cones


to the

and throw them over the branches

ground, while another one remained upon


the

ground and gathered them into bags.


cones

The
ing

may

again be gathered
directly in a

by pickis

and putting

bag which

attached to the shoulder, similar to the


ner of picking apples.
bags, inexpensive

manOld gluten or feed and commonly available

about farmers' barns, answer very well for


this

purpose.
or quantity of cones
in

The number
can be gathered
the

that

a day will vary as to per tree,


.

yield
.

method
,
.

of

Mother
seed trees

gathermg,

etc.

As

white

pme

box-boards throughout New England are in great demand, and at a relatively

high price, even the old " cabbage pines,"


full

of limbs,

a few years ago

considered

valueless, are at present rapidly going to the

sawmill.

These old

trees in the past

have

been the great seed producers and mother


tr^es of our present forest stands.
If

they
look

are destroyed, however, where must


for our future pines?

we

One man,

with two

assistants, in

a seed

year spent nearly two days in cutting

down

about 50 pine
example
in collect-

trees

and picking

*^^ cones from them, and gathered

two wagon
^j^

loads,

some 50 bush-

mg

pine

before the cones were open.

When
opened, he had

they were dried out and

fully

100 bushels

of cones

and nearly 5 bushels

of uncleaned
to spread

seed.

His method of drying was

them

out where the sun could shine on them, raking the pile over often, covering

them with
If

a canvas at night and


the cones get
in
this

in rainy

weather.
It

wet they

close up.

took

case two weeks to get the seeds

from the cones.

White pine cone with scales open and seed gone. White pine needles grow in clusters of five.

10

After the cones are gathered

it

is

not
$
|

necessary that the seed be secured from

them
ecuring

at

once.

They may be

(Jeposited in
squirrels

any dry place, where

ii

cones

or mice are kept from

Ii^

them, and the seed thrashed out


later.

The

practice of using a
is

bag

to put

the cones in

convenient, for as they open


flailed at

up the bag can be


the seed
falls

odd

times and
is

out into the bottom and

readily collected.

Should one have a greenhouse,


ally
ripe,

it is

usu-

available about the time the cones are

and

if

they are placed here for a short

time, avoiding

any moisture

for a

few days,

the high temperature will

open the cones

very quickly.
practice

The

writer has

made

it

simply to place the bags in ther


flail

greenhouse, and then turn and


sionally,

them occa-

ii

when

the seed

is

easily separated,'

A hotbed or cold-frame sash could be made


to serve the

same purpose on a small

scale.

11

There are probably

many

other ingenious

ways

of extracting the seed

from the cones

hat will occur to different ones


DC equally good.

which

will

White pine seed has averaged


recent years

in price in

from $1.50 to $4.50 a pound.

During the spring of 1907 the


^"^^
3f

seed

price in large quantities ^

was $3.75

a pound.

White pine seed


tions,

if

given normal condi-

not too moist or excessively dry, retains its vitality for several years.

Vitality

yj^g reason that the seed has been


SO high
is

lo/yelrs

that the

demand has
in
this

increased

very

rapidly

country

lately,

and the few dealers have


their

practically

made

own

prices.

It is

hoped

that this brief

pamphlet

will

assist in calling attention to the

importance

Important
to collect
'^<^

gathering white pine seed of


,

each
,,

year,

when

it

is

truiting.

We

should ultimately consider the im-

12

portance of harvesting

this

crop,

just

the

same

as

any

other.

The

writer

would consider

it

great

benefit to

New
in

England, and Massachusetts


if

particular,

enough people

Pine

seed.

campaign

could be interested so that a regu


lar

pine seed campaign could be


this

kept up until the seeds of


tant forest tree could

most inporat

be purchased
is

50

cents a pound,

and

it

believed

it

can be

done.

With

pine and other forest tree seeds in

plenty, at reasonable prices, people generally


will begin to start small nursery

Beginnings
forestry

i^gjg

[j^

j}^gif

gardens and

fields,

which
lings

will in

tum

give us seed-

and

transplants at a

much

more

rational

forestry basis than they can

be obtained

at present.
to

There are from 20,000


pine seeds in a pound, and

30,000 white
customary
fon

it is

nurserymen

to plant this

amount upon a bea

13

4 feet wide and

50

feet long.

Under

nor-

mal conditions, which will be described in


a forthcoming circular, a person
^-3;' jeeds in
I

ought to raise 10,000 to


seedlings

5,000

pound

on

this

area.

With
usually

the
distance
D

above data, and knowing the


are
set,

apart that pines

by 6

feet,

one can

figure out for himself

he cost of growing his


It

own

stock of plants.

has been the endeavor of the writer to


a precise and practical

ell

in

way

just

how

and when
Reciothmg
ands
pjjjg seed.

to

collect

the white

^^^^

It now how many we

remains to be

can get

to

do

something

in this line.

All per-

-sons interested in reclothing

our waste lands,


aesthetic

and

in

establishing

economic and
this

forestry conditions

throughout

Common-

wealth

and

New

England, will find that

practising

and impressing the simple beginon others


will

nings of forestry

go

far

toward

an ultimate solution.

14

Expensive forestry seeds and seedlings


are the greatest

drawbacks

at the present

time to beginning forestry work.

Reason
for

j^^^

high

^^

remedy
'

it.

There an
fores

prices

few seedsmen who handle


tree seeds,

and the comparative!}


has

little

demand

until

now

made

the busiprices

ness an uncertain one,

and hence the

are high.
If

white pine

sells for

even $2 a pound,
live

no one cares to sow broadcast


per
acre,

pounds

as

is

recommended by some

seedsmen, as the expense makes the operation anything but practical. to use live or ten dollars'

No
worth

one cares
of seed

on

land that

is

in itself

almost valueless.
self,

Col-

lecting the

seed one's

however, obviates

this difficulty

and makes the conditions 'more

favorable.

There
Seed year

is

much
is

inquiry as to

white pine produces seed.


idea

how often Somehow the

quite firmly established in

15
the minds of
in

many

that a seed year once

seven

is

a fixed law.

From

observation

there seems to

be no

definite regularity in
if

Nature.
it

A white
maximum

pine, like other trees,

yields a

crop one year,

is

not

likely to

produce another heavy crop

in

from

three to seven, depending

upon the seasons


writer has seen

and other conditions.

The
one

two heavy crops


years apart.
also,
fair

in

locality only four

Examples are not uncommon,


tree

where a pine
number

may be
at the

fruiting

of cones

and

same time
fruit

have embryo cones which are to


following season.

the

Not

all

sections of the State are likely to

seed the same year, although they

may.

By

inquiry

it is

found that one section

have a heavy crop, while another


none.
In this

may may have

way

seed usually can be had

from some section each year.

The

seeds of spruce, hemlock, and other


collected in like

evergreens are

manner

as

16
Seed of
other

^^^ P^^^in size

Of
of
.

course, they vary

cone and seed and

evergreens

. v time or matunty.

Deciduous
easily

trees, or

hard woods, are also

grown from

seed,

and when one

gets

interested in collecting

and grow

Hardwoods
from seed

^^
step

white pme,

it

IS

only a

toward

later

interest

and

pleasure in the whole forestry question.

We

need

to cultivate as a people a great


life,

love for out-of-door


ing that
^ and Nature

and there

is

noth-

awakens

interest

and a

love for Nature herself

more than

the forests and their associations.

At
will

a later time a companion booklet on


of planting

methods

and caring

for seedlings

be

issued.

F.

W. RANE,
State Forester

State House, Boston, Mass.,

August

1,

1907