The goal of the Tree Improvement Program is to provide a continuous supply of high quality seed to the state nurseries. Species in the program include black walnut, red oak, white oak, bur oak, swamp white oak, cherrybark oak, white ash, and sweetgum. The improved seedlings grown from this high quality seed are distributed to Indiana landowners. As a result, future forests will grow faster, straighter and be less susceptible to various insects and diseases.
These seed orchards, however, do not provide enough seed for the nursery's demands. The Division of Forestry must also purchase seed from local collectors. These collectors are ordinary citizens who gather seed from neighborhood trees in their spare time. They are paid according to the amount of "good seed" (viable seed) that they bring in.