Local N.C. Forest Service puts seed need to public

By Chris Berendt

September 11, 2013

Tree seed collection time is right around the corner and the Sampson County office of the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS) is in need of the public’s help.

“The North Carolina Forest Service, specifically the Sampson County office, is looking to increase the seed yield that it submits to our nursery and we feel that we can do this by reaching out to the public for help,” said Benjamin Watkins, assistant county ranger for Sampson.

Every year, county and district staff of the Forest Service collects seeds of varying tree species so that Forestry Service nurseries around the state can meet the seedling demands of the public. Many may have seen some of the Sampson county staff around Clinton collecting acorns and hickory nuts. This year, the Sampson County NCFS office is looking to expand its reach and increase the total number of pounds collected — thus the need for the public’s assistance.

“We are asking landowners if they would be willing to allow us to come onto their property to identify a proper seed source tree and collect seed from it throughout the fall months,” Watkins said. “Once a proper seed source tree has been identified, we accept any amount of seed from that tree whether it was NCFS personnel who collected it or the landowner.”

For landowners willing to collect and donate seed, there are a few things that Forestry staff have asked them to do to maintain the health of the seed. For collection and storage, staff has asked that seeds be stored in plastic bags or containers that can be covered to reduce moisture loss, especially if extended travel in the back of trucks is required.

Double-weave plastic bags commonly used for grain seeds are a good way of storing, preventing excessive drying, while allowing adequate air circulation. Buckets and any plastic containers (such as garbage cans) are also suitable in the field, since the acorns will be in them only a few hours.

Tree seed the Forest Service needs includes: Bald Cypress; Black Locust; Black Walnut; Eastern Red Cedar; Chinese Chestnut; Mockernut Hickory; Pignut Hickory; Shagbark Hickory; Chestnut Oak; Cherry Bark Oak; Southern Red Oak; Water Oak; and White Oak.

For more information, call the N.C. Forest Service office in Sampson, at 910-592-4515.

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at