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Red Pines With Their Tops Lopped Off Are Being Put to Good Use

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As you drive through Northern Michigan, you might notice some strange looking stands of red pines.

You’ll see the forestry project near Roscommon, Manistique and Wolverine. Despite the sad look of pines with their tops sheared off, the DNR says it plays an important role in seeding new trees. When tops are cut off red pines, the bottom branches become bushy and generate cones that are more easily harvested for their seeds.

“We know it looks strange right now, but it will look better as the trees respond and as we continue to manage those seed collection areas” said Jason Hartman, silviculturist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.


Red pines are an important part of Michigan’s environment, infrastructure and industry. They typically grow 50 to 80 feet tall, and can even reach 100 feet. That makes them perfect for utility poles. They’re also used for lumber and paper, and they provide food and shelter for animals.

The DNR says they plant around four million red pine seedlings per year in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula. Cones are collected in September, dried and then frozen for future use.

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