Nursery and Shipment Inspections
The mission of the Nursery Inspection Program is to prevent the introduction and spread of agricultural pests and protect agriculture and the consumer against economic losses resulting from the sale of inferior, defective, or pest-infested nursery stock. The Nursery Inspection Program is an integral part of the State's agricultural pest prevention system. Nursery inspection and regulatory activities have prevented numerous pests from being disseminated throughout agricultural and suburban communities by prevention and/or eradication of pests at the nursery level. The quality of nursery stock has improved as a direct result of the regulation of nursery stock.
Nursery Stock License for Growers of Plants, Flowers, and Foliage
Nursery Stock is defined as any plant for planting, propagation, or ornamentation where “Plant” includes any part of a plant, tree, plant product, shrub, vine, fruit, vegetable, seed, bulb, stolon, tuber, corm, pip, cutting, scion, bud, graft, or fruit pit.
If you intend to sell nursery stock you are required to obtain a California License to Sell Nursery Stock. However, there are a few exemptions to this requirement including the following:
You may qualify for a fee exempt nursery license if you will be selling less than $1,000 of nursery stock per year and will not be shipping out of the county. Please fill out and submit to our office the Fee Exempt Nursery License (PDF). If you require a standard Nursery License, those are handled through the California Department of Food and Agriculture. You will be contacted by our office after applying for the license in order to schedule an inspection of your nursery.
Shipping Nursery Stock into California
Per California Food and Ag Code 6421, each shipment of plants which is brought into this state shall have legibly marked upon it in a conspicuous manner and place all of the following:
(a) The name and address of the shipper or owner.
(b) The name of the person to whom the shipment is forwarded or shipped or the name of his agent.
(c) The name of the country, state, or territory where the contents were grown.
(d) A statement of its contents.
Please refer to the National Plant Board’s website for specific commodity quarantines and shipping restrictions into California.
Shipping Nursery Stock Out of County
If you ship nursery products to other counties, states, or countries, you may need an inspection and one or more of the following:
Certificate of Quarantine Compliance
State Phytosanitary Certificate
Federal Phytosanitary Certificate
California Nursery Stock Certificate
Be participating in the Snail Free Nursery program
At least 48-hour advanced notice is required for certification inspections. Inspection fees may apply.
Current quarantine information on interstate shipments can be found at the National Plant Board’s Laws and Regulations webpage.
See the Plant Quarantine Manual webpage for within-state shipping requirements.
Receivers of Plant Shipments
Persons or companies receiving nursery products not labeled with a California Nursery Stock Certificate must call our office at 707-464-7235 for inspection and release. Shipments which have a Hold for Inspection label affixed to their bills of lading must also be inspected.
Incoming plant products must be kept in an isolated holding area away from production areas to prevent possible pest infestations. Some shipments may need to be held for several days pending lab analysis of samples taken during inspection. Items may not be sold until the shipment has been released by an Agricultural Inspector.