Send Holiday Cheer, Not Pests: Follow Out-Of-State Plant Health Regulations

Send Holiday Cheer, Not Pests: Follow Out-Of-State Plant Health Regulations

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DACF News Release

For Immediate Release
November 21, 2023

Send Holiday Cheer, Not Pests: Follow Out-Of-State Plant Health Regulations

Save time and money by sending healthy plant material and knowing shipping and labeling requirements.

AUGUSTA – Maine residents cherish their holiday traditions, and for many, decorating with Maine-grown wreaths, trees, and decorative flora is a cherished part of the season. Another annual holiday tradition is shipping Maine’s festive greenery to friends and family. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) emphasizes the importance of adhering to state laws and regulations to ensure the seamless transport of healthy plant materials, ultimately saving time, cutting costs, and preventing product loss.

“Shippers should be aware of the state laws and regulations regarding the movement of plants and forest products,” noted Carole Neil, Assistant Horticulturist with DACF. “Many 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,” said Neil.

 DACF offers this advice for wreath and tree shippers:

  • Import regulations vary from state to state. Check destination state regulations before sending plant material and be aware that regulations may change from year to year. For example, Wisconsin implemented an elongate hemlock scale quarantine this year and shipments from some parts of Maine are no longer allowed. A summary of plant health regulations for Maine-grown holiday decorations is at
  • Shipping internationally? Many countries prohibit most types of plant material from being included in holiday decorations. Some countries may allow some holiday decorations with the proper certification. Email for more information.
  • Beware of invasive plants! Asiatic bittersweet and multiflora rose have pretty, decorative berries, but both are invasive and should not be included in holiday décor. Better plant choices with colorful berries include winterberry and holly. 
  • Look for pests. Carefully inspect plant material before packaging to ensure no insects, egg masses, or other pest damage.
  • Clearly label packages. Begin 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 different types of greenery, nuts, fruits and cones used as decorations. 
  • Don’t forget about spongy moth! Spongy moth (Lymantria dispar, formerly known as gypsy moth) certification is required when sending plant material outside the spongy moth quarantine area ( Contact the Maine USDA-PPQ office at 207-848-0000 for more information.

“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 with DACF. “An insect or plant disease in Maine could 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 are invited to call (207) 287-3891 or email


Media contacts: Sarah Scally, Jim Britt