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Wreath and tree shippers should be aware of out-of-state plant regulations

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AUGUSTA As part of its commitment to supporting the state's farm- and forest-based businesses, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) has established a website outlining other states' restrictions on importing cut trees and wreaths.

Maine decorative-plant shippers who are sending Christmas trees and wreaths around the country for the holiday season can save money and lost products by noting important regulations enforced by other states.

States such as California are impounding and destroying shipments to prevent infestation by invasive insects and the spread of plant diseases, said Ann Gibbs, Maine state horticulturist.

'Import requirements for cut trees and wreaths with ornamental nuts and fruit arrangements exist to protect regional agriculture or other commodities from the risk of plant pests,' Gibbs explained. 'Unfortunately, some Maine shippers have learned about these regulations the hard way and have had shipments impounded and destroyed. We want to prevent any losses by getting the word out now. Our best advice is to check out-of-state orders in advance, especially those headed to California, and to make sure they are free of scale on the needles.'

Distributors also should identify their products clearly through labeling, beginning with the statement 'Grown in Maine,' followed by the county of origin and the name and address of the shipper. Labels should indicate the contents of packages, including the different types of greenery, nuts, fruits and cones used to decorate wreaths.

'This information benefits the shipper by speeding along deliveries,' Gibbs said. 'That is very important in this time-sensitive industry.'

An informational sheet, 'Know State Regulations When Shipping Wreaths and Trees,' is available on the ACF website at www.maine.gov/agriculture/horticulture/ship.htm or by contacting Sarah Scally at (207)287-3891 or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to http://www.maine.gov/acf.

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