Skip to main content

Christmas Tree Inspection and Certification Program

General Information

All species of cut Christmas trees are considered regulated commodities under the Federal Spongy Moth Quarantine. Christmas trees shipped to destinations outside of the areas regulated under this quarantine must be inspected and must be accompanied by proper certification. All of Michigan lies within the area regulated under the Federal Spongy Moth Quarantine. Growers and shippers should consult USDA maps and county lists for spongy moth regulated areas to determine if the destination of the shipments will be within or outside of regulated areas. In addition to the Federal Spongy Moth Quarantine states may have their own quarantines for other pests that may apply to Christmas trees imported from Michigan, especially for trees going to West Coast states.

Certificates for shipping outside the regulated area

Cut Christmas trees shipped outside the regulated areas must be accompanied by a certificate issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (or by 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.

Shipments within the regulated areas

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

Wreaths, boughs & grave blankets

In some instances, spruce, fir and Douglas-fir branches may harbor spongy moth egg masses. Firms that manufacture products from these branches should discuss the risk of spongy moth spread via their product with MDARD. Training and compliance agreements are offered through MDARD for makers of these products that would help them qualify for certification.

Potted or Balled & 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. See Nursery License Site for additional information on nursery stock.

Contact Information

Amber Neils, Export and Compliance Program Specialist
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD)
Phone: 517-449-0786