AUGUSTA — Many Maine residents’ holiday celebrations are not complete without decorating with Maine-grown wreaths, trees, and other decorative plant material. Sharing this tradition by sending wreaths and trees to our friends and families across the country can help us feel more connected even if we can’t be together this holiday season. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry wants to remind Mainer’s sending holiday greenery that they can save time, money and prevent product loss by shipping only healthy plant material.

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

The departments offers this advice for wreath and tree shippers:

• Import regulations can vary from state to state; shippers should check destination state regulations before sending plant material. A summary is available on DACF’s website at maine.gov/dacf/php/horticulture/wreaths.shtml.
• Carefully inspect plant material before packaging to ensure they are free of insects such as scales, egg masses, or other pest damage.
• Clearly label packages containing holiday plant material, beginning with the statement, “Grown in Maine,” followed by the county of origin and the name and address of the shipper.
• Labels should also indicate the contents of packages, including the different types of greenery, nuts, fruits, and cones used to decorate wreaths.

“Import requirements for cut trees and holiday decorations including greenery, ornamental nuts, and fruit exist to protect regional agriculture and natural resources from the risk of plant pests,” explained Sarah Scally, assistant horticulturist. “An insect or plant disease that occurs in Maine could potentially be invasive in other states. Unfortunately, despite the quality of Maine products, some shippers have learned about these regulations the hard way and have had shipments delayed, impounded, or destroyed. We want to prevent any losses by getting the word out now.”

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

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to maine.gov/dacf.

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