Anyone driving a few miles on Interstate 95 understands why people call Maine “the Pine Tree State.” Evergreen trees thrive in Maine’s cool climate and rocky terrain. It is a tradition across the state to use those evergreens to make holiday decorations each fall. Wreaths, kissing balls, and swags are some favorites. These are traditions we love to share with friends and family across the country and world. Spread the cheer, and send wreaths and other evergreen decorations as gifts!
However, if you plan to send wreaths to family and friends out-of-state, it’s important to follow a few rules. Doing so will help prevent the spread of plant pests, avoid shipping delays, and avoid the possible destruction of the plant material upon arrival at its destination. These rules apply to everyone shipping Maine wreaths and plant material, even hobbyists.
Choosing Real Maine holiday decorations
Nothing smells better than fresh evergreen boughs, whether crafted into wreaths, swags, or other arrangements! When shopping for fresh greenery, look for material that is fragrant, pliable, and bright green. Often you will find wreaths and other decorations featuring dried flowers, berries, and other materials. Look for decorations that are securely attached.
Locally crafted decorations are available across the state. Find them at farm stores, pop-up displays in town, farmers’ markets, and retail stores. Ask the vendor to make sure they were grown and crafted in Maine, and support local businesses in the process. And if shipping decorations through the mail or delivery service, remember to take a few extra minutes to label the package.
Why is it important to label?
When shipping wreaths and other plant material out of state, it’s important to label the package carefully. If not, you run the risk of:
- Delays at the destination when the package arrives improperly labeled.
- Possible destruction of the items you are shipping if they aren’t labeled correctly.
- Potential fines for improperly shipping plant material.
Advice for shipping holiday decorations
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Horticulture Program has this advice for Mainers shipping wreaths and other decorative plant material out-of-state:
- Carefully inspect plant material before packaging to ensure there are no insects, egg masses, or other pest damage.
- Clearly label packages containing holiday plant material. Begin with the statement “Grown in Maine” followed by the county of origin and the name and address of the shipper.
- Indicate on the label which types of greenery, nuts, fruits, cones, etc. decorate the wreaths.
- Import regulations can vary from state to state. Be sure to check the state regulations for the destination before sending plant material. A summary of plant health regulations relevant to holiday decorations is on the Horticulture Program website and in this November 16, 2020 DACF Bulletin.
- Mailing plant material internationally is more complicated. Contact the Horticulture Program for further guidance before attempting to send plant material out of the U.S.