© 2022 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Tree-mendous Haul For NC Forest Service

António Pena

An unusual North Carolina Forest Service program has staff compete to collect tree seeds. After a fertile year, the service is touting the results.

James West manages a nursery and publishes a most-wanted list—both for the North Carolina Forest Service. The list names types of seeds state and county forest officials might find as they patrol the woods. They bring them back to grow into seedlings in the nursery, West says.

“It’s really interesting to watch how much comes in,” says West. “Some of the counties actually have a competition among themselves.”

It’s called the Golden Nut, and the Forest Service awards two per year—one to the most productive county and the other to the most productive Forest Service district office. West says the competition gets intense.

He also expects the relatively mild weather the past two years will contribute to a record haul of about 40 tons of seeds from more than 50 species.

Landowners buy the seedlings to restore wetlands or depleted forests, to grow for timber, or just for aesthetic purposes. The forest service typically earns $1.4 million, most of which covers the cost of the program.

2014’s Most Wanted Tree: the northern red oak.