Seed Bank for Oregon Trees . . .

By Jan Jackson –

Douglas fir cones ready for harvest in J.E. Schroeder Seed Orchard in St. Paul, Oregon.

Piggy banks, food banks and tree seed banks all protect their contents for a later day.  For seed banks, that later day comes when family forest operators (someone who owns 5,000 acres of trees or less) are ready to replant. It’s the best thing a commercial forest-rich state like Oregon can do for sustainability.

J.E. Schroder Seed Orchard, whose members are made up of large timber companies around the state. Seeds grown here are used to meet the state mandate that that every landowner, large and small, replant after every harvest.  Six percent of the seed Schroder’s grow is designated for family forest operators and held for them in the seed bank.

Processed and ready to plant Douglas fir and western red cedar seeds.

The Oregon Seed Bank (OSB) began in the mid 1990s to  assure that appropriate, climatically adapted tree seed is available for Oregon family forest landowners. It is supported by the Oregon Department of Forestry and federal grants provided by the USDA Forest Service. The major tree species available include Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, and Willamette Valley ponderosa pine. In addition, OSB provides seeds for western larch, incense cedar, western white pine, sugar pine,  Port-Orford-Cedar, noble fir, Sitka spruce and red alder.

Seeds stored in long-term storage at J.E. Schroeder Seed Orchard.

After the cones are harvested and air-dried in bags, they are sent to a seed processor. Once the seeds are removed, they are bagged and returned to the seed bank for storage. Once purchased, the seeds can be grown into seedlings in a nursery or planted directly into the ground.

Growing, harvesting, storing and making perfectly chosen seeds  available to those who need them, are just a few of the many ways Oregon protects its commercial forests. It’s all part of keeping Oregon green and prosperous.


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Photos by Jan Jackson


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