Send holiday greenery while respecting phytosanitary regulations

AUGUSTA – The holiday celebrations for many Maine residents aren’t complete without decorating with wreaths, trees, and other decorative plant materials grown in Maine. Sharing this tradition by sending wreaths and trees to our friends and families across the country can help us feel more connected even though we may not be together during the holiday season. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would like to remind shippers of Mainer’s Holiday greenery that they can save time, money and avoid product loss by shipping only material healthy plant.

“Shippers should be aware of the many state laws and regulations regarding the movement of plants and forest products,” said Carole Neil, assistant horticulturalist in the department. “Many states are closely monitoring shipments to prevent the introduction of invasive insects and plant diseases. By planning ahead, Maine shippers can expedite deliveries in this time-sensitive industry, ”said Neil.

Departments offer this advice for wreath and tree shippers:

• Import regulations may vary from state to state; senders should check the regulations of the destination state before sending plant material. A summary is available on the DACF website at maine.gov/dacf/php/horticulture/wreaths.shtml.
• Carefully inspect plant material before packaging to make sure it is free from insects such as scales, egg masses or other damage from pests.
• Clearly label packages containing holiday plant material, starting with “Grown in Maine”, followed by the country of origin and the name and address of the shipper.
• Labels should also indicate the contents of the packages, including the different types of greens, nuts, fruits and cones used to decorate the wreaths.

“Import requirements for cut trees and holiday decorations, including greenery, ornamental nuts and fruits, exist to protect regional agriculture and natural resources from the risk of plant pests,” explained Sarah Scally, horticultural assistant. “An insect or plant disease that occurs in Maine could potentially be invasive in other states. Unfortunately, despite the quality of Maine’s products, some shippers have taken notice of these regulations the hard way and have seen shipments delayed, impounded, or destroyed. We want to avoid any loss by spreading the word now. “

Senders with questions can call 207-287-3891 or email [email protected].

For more information on the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, visit maine.gov/dacf.

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