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Christmas Tree Inspection & Certification

Field of Christmas trees
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Christmas Tree Inspection & Certification

Federal and State Quarantines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has implemented the Federal Spongy Moth Quarantine to limit the spread of this invasive pest. Since Michigan has confirmed spongy moth populations in every county, the entire state lies within the area regulated under the quarantine and all plant material, including cut Christmas trees shipped from within Michigan to areas outside of the quarantine zone must be inspected and have proper certification before transport. 

USDA Spongy Moth Quarantine Map

In addition to the Federal Spongy Moth Quarantine, some states have implemented additional quarantines that may apply to Christmas trees imported from Michigan. Contact or talk to your local inspector for more details.

Shipping Christmas Trees Within Regulated Areas

If cut Christmas trees are intended for use within the regulated area, it is not necessary to have them inspected and certified for spongy moth. All of Michigan lies within the area regulated under the Federal Spongy Moth Quarantine.

Shipping Christmas Trees Outside Regulated Area

Cut Christmas trees shipped outside the regulated areas must be accompanied by a certificate issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) or the USDA. Each separate drop shipment, whether it is one tree, 10 trees, or a complete semi-trailer load must have its own separate shipment certificate. Certificates are issued only after the trees pass inspection by MDARD.

  • Cut Christmas Tree Field Inspection Application Form
  • Prior to an inspection, growers should complete a Cut Christmas Tree Field Inspection Application form and send it to (preferred) or mail to P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909.
  • One form should be completed for each separate field. All trees included on one form will be treated as one field. If spongy moth egg masses are found, the entire field will be subject to restriction.
  • Cut Christmas Tree Field Inspection Application forms must be emailed or mailed to the regional office no later than July 31. Forms received after that date might result in delayed inspection scheduling.
  • Compliance Agreement for Cut Christmas Trees Form
  • Bill of Sale 

Inspection of cut Christmas trees will be charged at the current hourly and mileage rate. See the Explanation of Inspection Fees for additional information. 

Wreaths, Boughs, and Grave Blankets

Holiday greenery such as wreaths, garlands, and bulk boughs can harbor spongy moth egg masses. Firms manufacturing products from these branches should discuss the risk of spongy moth spread via their product with MDARD. MDARD supplies training and compliance agreements for firms who make these products.

Potted or Balled and Burlapped (B&B) Christmas Trees

Trees sold as potted trees or as B&B trees are considered “nursery stock” and must undergo an inspection regardless of their intended destination. Sellers of nursery stock are also required to be licensed with MDARD. See the MDARD nursery licensing website for additional information.

Additional Resources