Share Maine holiday cheer, not pests
AUGUSTA, Maine – Invasive pests can hitchhike in or on wreaths and holiday plants destined for friends and families or they can hide in or on firewood brought from another state or Maine location to light a holiday fire.
The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Horticulture Program asks everyone to safeguard the nation’s trees and plants by shipping healthy plant material.
Help protect the holidays from invasive pests:
- Check state-by-state plant material regulations on the DACF website.
- Carefully inspect plant material before packaging to ensure they are free of insects such as scales, egg masses, or other pest damage.
- Label packages containing holiday plant material clearly, beginning with the statement, “Grown in Maine,” followed by the county of origin and the shipper’s name and address.
- Labels should indicate the contents of the package(s), including the different types of greenery, nuts, fruits, and cones used to decorate wreaths.
- Changes were made in 2019 to the federal gypsy moth program. All Maine wreath and tree shippers must comply with gypsy moth regulations when sending plant material outside the gypsy moth quarantine area. A map of the gypsy moth quarantine area can be found here. Contact the Maine USDA-PPQ office at 207-848-0000 for more information.
- Firewood should be sourced as close to where it will be burned as possible. Purchase heat-treated firewood if it must be transported longer distances.
“Shippers are required to honor state laws and regulations regarding the movement of plants and forest products,” advised Carole Neil, DACF assistant horticulturist. “States closely monitor shipments to prevent the introduction of invasive insects and plant diseases. By planning, Maine shippers can speed up deliveries in this time-sensitive industry.”
“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, DACF assistant horticulturist. “An insect or plant disease that occurs in Maine could potentially be invasive in other states. Despite Maine products’ quality, 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 are invited to call 207-287-3891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about gypsy moth compliance agreements, contact the Maine USDA-PPQ office at 207-848-0000. For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to www.maine.gov/dacf.