The crop at Vallonia State Tree Nursery is tree seedlings, shown here. Many of the planted seeds were brought to the nursery by Indiana residents who collected the seeds. (Courtesy photo)
The crop at Vallonia State Tree Nursery is tree seedlings, shown here. Many of the planted seeds were brought to the nursery by Indiana residents who collected the seeds. (Courtesy photo)
Hoosiers might be able to make some money if they have certain trees on their property while also helping Indiana’s state nurseries.

Each fall the Vallonia and Jasper-Pulaski state tree nurseries ask residents to collect seeds from native trees, for payment. The catch is the nurseries take seeds only from certain species and the acorns, nuts and other seeds must be collected properly.

“First of all, you’ve got to know what kind of seed it is,” said Bob Hawkins, nursery section supervisor at the Vallonia nursery.

Hawkins said it’s always best to contact the nursery first so officials can let people know if more seeds are still needed. They can also help with identification of the trees. Anyone who needs help can contact the nursery at 812-358-3621 or vallonianursery@dnr.in.gov . If the person has a leaf or twig or sample of the seed, they are encouraged to send a photograph or bring over a sample and the nursery officials will help identify the tree species.

When seeds are brought in, Hawkins said workers first open up some of the seeds to see if they are viable and free of diseases and pests. If they are, then calculations are made to determine the number of good seeds in the batch and the person is paid. The price per seed can range from $0.0126 to $0.0375 per seed. That may not seem like much, but when up to 330,952 seeds (for white oak) are needed by the nursery, it can add up quickly.

“If it’s not a good seed year and the seed is not abundant, then we will pay more for those seeds,” Hawkins said.
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