Michigan residents can make some money by collecting red pine cones. Several Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) locations will be accepting a bushel of red pine cones for $100 from September 1-30.
Red pine cones are described as having craggy, reddish bark and 4- to-6-inch needles that grow in bunches of two. However, Scotch and Austrian pine cones, which have similar characteristics, will not be accepted. Cone scales, which are individual plates of a cone, should be closed, with a little green or purple tint. Pine cones with brown and open scales will not be accepted.
Cones should be picked from trees, because ones found on the ground are likely too old or wet. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recommends picking them from red pine trees where branches extend close to the ground.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will accept a bushel of red pine cones, which is approximately two 5-gallon buckets. They should be stored in a cool, dry place in mesh bags. Onion bags will be available at DNR drop-off locations. Burlap or plastic bags should not be used because they can hold moisture, which can ruin the cones.
The red pine cones can be dropped off by appointment at select DNR Customer Service Centers and Wyman Nursery:
- Newberry CSC (906-291-0126)
- Wyman Nursery (Manistique) (906-341-2518)
- Gaylord CSC (989-619-5519)
- Roscommon CSC (989-390-0279)
- Cadillac CSC (231-878-0669)
Pickers are asked not to bring pine cones to other DNR Customer Service Centers without making an appointment first.
After the pine cones are dropped off, they will be put into machines that warm and shake them. This allows the seeds within to drop out and be stored until planting time.
Red pine seed is currently in high demand. The tree species is used to make forest products including lumber, posts, and pulpwood.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources locations will pay $100 for a bushel of red pine cones from September 1-30.