skip to main page content  District
in the Field
Inspection Site
design graphic  

Storage and Transport

Handle bags of cones carefully—remember they contain living tissue. Drying racks are preferred for temporary storage of cones, but districts with small collections may use other makeshift methods of storage. No matter how cones are stored, they must be protected from the rain, direct ultraviolet light, wind, heat, and animals (squirrels, birds), while allowing air to circulate. Good airflow helps keep heat and moisture from building up inside the bags. Seeds in immature cones are more likely to be damaged by heat than are those in mature cones. Heat combined with moisture may lead to mold problems.

A seed lot usually includes many bags of cones. It is best to keep seed lots sorted to avoid confusion during cone processing.

If the cones are damp, spread them out and let them dry to avoid mold. If cones are transported while they are damp, let the nursery know so workers will open the bags promptly.

Guidelines for Interim Storage

These guidelines are from A Field Guide to Collecting Cones of British Columbia Conifers.

Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, Sitka spruce, white spruce, western larch, and true firs—Heat is likely to build up in filled sacks. Do not transport or store the sacks where they are exposed to heat. Good air movement is necessary even during transport and throughout the collection process if it will be longer than an hour or two. Make sure that the bags have space between them. Turn the bags over weekly to ensure that cones dry evenly. The cones of the true firs will disintegrate in the bags.

Ponderosa pine, western white pine, and black spruce—Cones of these species are not as sensitive to heat as those of other species. Cones generally will not be damaged if they are tightly packed for a few hours during transport, but should be spread out to allow air movement for storage over longer periods. Do not pile up bags of cones and leave them for several days.

Lodgepole pine (closed cones)—Closed or serotinous lodgepole pine cones may be stored for several weeks to several months without damaging the seed. The cones will stay closed during storage. Do not expose the cones to direct sunlight that will break the resinous bond that keeps the cones closed. Cone sacks can be more than half full if all the cones are serotinous. Cone bags may be packed tightly for extended periods (a week or more) with no damage to the seed.

design graphic Top

Back | Next

Cone Collection Home

Reforestation Toolbox Home