The Magic of the Pines

Near where I live is a forest of pines. They are magical. When they are mature, they begin to produce pine cones, tight, woody cocoons for their seed. These coccoons will hold the seed safely for years, until there is a fire. The heat of the fire caused the cones to open so the seed can be released to replenish the forest.

Today, I am cooking a turkey for an Easter dinner. As a side dish, I am cooking a handful of pine cones so I can plant the seed for my yard. The recipe is simple:

  • place the cones on cookie sheet
  • place the cookie sheet in a 300F oven for ten minutes or until you can see the cones mostly open
  • pour the cones onto a cool surface
  • when cool, shake or tap the cones to collect the seed
  • plant the seed a few millimetres deep in moist peat moss
  • in a few weeks transplant the seedlings into sandy soil making sure to give them plenty of light and water
  • expose the seedlings to Nature gradually and transplant to your site when sturdy enough and growing conditions are good
  • for the first year or so be sure they don’t die in drought


Pines grow slowly but IMHO are one of the finest trees for a yard.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to The Magic of the Pines

  1. Ivan wrote, ” buy your trees without worrying about violating any laws”.

    In Manitoba where I live, the electrical utilities normally run their power lines down public access lands called “road allowances”. Where there is a power line on a road allowance, ordinary citizens are encouraged and welcomed to dig up trees that may eventually interfere with the power lines. Harvesting a handful of pine cones from such public lands is not a violation of law.

    Manitoba Hydro gives advice to owners of real property to avoid conflict with power lines.

    Further, “if a plant is not listed under The Endangered Species Act or is not in a provincial park or provincial forest, a person may pick flowers, collect the seed or relocate plants for personal use. The majority of plant species fall into this last category. Even though there are few legislated restrictions that currently apply to these species, discretion in picking or removal is encouraged and expected.

    Do not pick or dig up any plants in a Provincial Forest. Taking, cutting, removing or destroying any flora within a provincial forest is prohibited under The Forest Act without a permit, unless plants are located on a road allowance or a hydro line right-of-way and will be kept for the picker’s own use.”

    Jack Pine are not endangered in Manitoba. We have millions of them growing over tenss of thousands of square miles of forest. The government of Manitoba serves the people instead of enslaving them. My ancestors came to Canada for freedom, not slavery.

    Have no fear that my miserly nature will harm local business. My “little woman” plans to buy hundreds of expensive trees from local businesses. She even paid people to tell her where and what to plant… She paid local businesses to haul soil to our property for the purpose and to spread it into a graded lot with really ugly “berms” on it for trees… Fortunately, I have special permission from “the little woman” to plant my garden as I see fit and it will have all kinds of plants beneath her status: caragana, pine, oak, hazelnut, raspberry, rhubarb, mere lilies etc. I merely harvested seeds that were surplus to Nature’s needs. The pine was down already but was not completely dead and had hundreds of cones on it. My caragana seeds came from a local hedge.

  2. Ivan says:

    Or you could just go down to the local nursery, like a normal person, and buy your trees without worrying about violating any laws. Who doesn’t want to support their local businesses while preserving the local ecosystem?

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