Rules tightened for southbound plants
will be a few more hoops to jump through for gardeners who
want to buy their plants in Canada. New federal rules prohibit
any live plants, bulbs and seeds from crossing the border
without a bill of clean health.
In previous years bedding plants and tulip bulbs from Canada destined for the United States havent had to meet the same requirements as perennials and woody plants examination by a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspector and a phytosanitary certificate. Now all plants from Canada will need to be inspected before they can cross the border.
Regulations requiring phytosanitary certificates for all plants are not new, but theyve been selectively enforced where the risk of bringing in plant disease was minimal. Agriculture officials decided to harden up the rules based on a report from the National Plant Board that recommended more vigorous measures to keep offshore pests out of the U.S.
What theyre trying to do is make all ports around the country consistent, said United States Department of Agriculture inspector Wayne Stowell. In the past weve made quite a number of allowances for Canada because they didnt import that much plant material. Now theyre as cosmopolitan as we are and bring a lot of plants in from places like China and India.
Gardeners who want their plants from Canada can make arrangements with CFIA at 604/666-2891 to inspect the plants, or buy from a nursery that makes arrangements for regular visits from the inspectors. The inspection fee from CFIA is CDN$12.35 for non-commercial shipments, Stowell said, and increased volumes could mean delays in getting the plants inspected. It makes bringing a friend a chrysanthemum a little pricey...