My husband and I are relocating to California from Texas, and we are
getting contradictory information about whether or which plants we can take
with us. My understanding is that you can take houseplants that have not
spent time outdoors or at least don't have any critters like fire ants in
them. Does anyone have experience with the border check point and what the
procedure is? I don't want to bring a bunch of plants and then have them
thrown out at the border, I'd rather give them away. Thanks for your help!
until soon, Hope
Hope, the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture has a web site
about their Pest Exclusion Branch. I see links from their home page
to specific pages about bringing house plants into California and
about the fire ant problem.
I guess she thought -- any bugs on the plants cannot survive such a
long journey on interstate 10 .... 8)
Probably in Texas right now there is no pending bug problems (like
California Med flies, or Washington apple maggots) and the agent
doesn't mind that much.
They do indeed have check points:
BORDER STATION INSPECTIONS
Vidal Border StationAgricultural inspections on all private and
commercial vehicles are conducted at sixteen border inspection stations
located on major highways throughout the State (six at the Oregon border,
five at the Nevada border, and five at the Arizona/Mexico border).
More than 33.5 million vehicles were monitored at the California border
agricultural inspection stations in the 2000 calendar year, including
24.5 million automobiles, 6.5 million commercial trucks, more than 706
thousand recreational vehicles, and more than 40 thousand commercial
buses. These figures represent an eight percent increase from the
There were over 70 thousand lots of prohibited plant material intercepted
at the border inspection stations. These lots were infested with plant
pests and/or were not properly certified for entry into California. More
than 5 thousand samples of suspected pests were submitted by border
station staff to the Department's Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch for
identification during the year.
Serious pest finds in the Year 2000 included gypsy moth, imported fire
ant, boll weevil, Mexican fruit fly, zebra mussel, pecan weevil, Japanese
beetle, Oriental fruit fly, Mexican fruit fly, European corn borer,
burrowing nematode, musk thistle and diffuse knapweed.
I have driven to LA a couple of times.
I can guaran-d__n-tee you, on I-10, they have STOP Signs at the border
to California! Permanent signs...looks like toll booths....but they
don't want your money...just your plants...Stop signs on the highway!
We stopped, the fella asked if we had any fruits or vegetables, we
looked at him funny and said, 'No!?!?!?'
He said, 'Ok' and we drove on.
About as weird as getting stopped at a border guard temporary
check-point this side of El Paso coming home and being asked if
everyone in the car was from the US!
Anyway, they will definately ask and they will definately throw them
on a pile of potted plants on the side of the road.
That said, I've never taken plants in so I wouldn't know how to get
them past the border. Maybe a phytosanitation certificate from a local
Yeah, I suppose it would! Well thanks for all the ideas.
I will let you know what the results are. I would like to take
at least my orchids and my lucky bamboo, considering how much it
cost to buy them!
Mail the plants to someone out there and if you dont know anyone, mail
them to someone who can keep them alive until they can ship them to
you. Plants survive large ziplocks with a couple of wet paper towels
On Wed, 23 Jul 2003 16:13:09 -0500, "John T. Jarrett"
My husband and I were traveling from Ohio to CA. in the late eighties.
We were in a motor home. They ask if we had any fruit are plants. I
said, no. Forgetting we did have fruit in the fridge. They searched the
motor home and took grapes and oranges. Told us we were welcome to pull
over to the side and eat it . Otherwise it was to be thrown on their
pile. They did take it.
If you have an address for postal mail, take and the day before you leave, clean
soil away, pack'm up and ship them via 1st class mail and you'll get them ok and
ready for planting.
"In this universe the night was falling,the shadows were lengthening
towards an east that would not know another dawn.
But elsewhere the stars were still young and the light of morning
lingered: and along the path he once had followed, man would one day go
Arthur C. Clarke, The City & The Stars
Bishop's Car Fund
Freelance Writers Shop
Telescope Buyers FAQ
See if you can have your plants inspected by an ag agent before you leave TX.
The plants need to be insect and disease free. It's not a big deal, but bringing
new bugs/diseases into Calif. could be. The ag agent would probably give you
a piece of paper that says your plants are clean.
Yes, the border cops in Calif. will ask you about plants. They're trying to keep
bugs/diseases out of the state. It's a big deal, since California is the
The last time I drove into Canada from Washington state, they took away a bag
of #1 non-certified potatos. They're trying to keep the potato blight out
and it's present in WA state. (That's the spud blight that caused a
million Irish to
starve to death, and another 1.6 million to move to America in the 1880's. Two
pairs of my great-grandparents left Ireland because of the pratie famine. Our
family who stayed behind all died of starvation.)
Take the plant inspection stuff seriously, because it *is* serious. Don't import
anything with bugs or disease. Call your state ag dept. and ask for an
or ask them what procedure they recommend. You may be able to ask the border
guys in Calif. for an inspection.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jan Flora) wrote in
Yes, that's why I'm posting to various gardening groups asking advice.
Sorry if I appear neurotic, I really don't want to have my plants tossed
in the garbage when I reach California! I'm leaning towards giving them
ALL away at this point!
You're not appearing at all neurotic! You come across as a decent
person who (a) doesn't want to bring pests into a State which, as
others have pointed out, is the fruit/veg basket for the whole
country, as well as abroad. And (b) doesn't want to get in trouble
with the Ag border e xaminers.
Seems to me that your bottom line should be to ascertain if the plants
HAVE pests or not. If they're pest-free, obtain an attestation to
that effect from a responsible Texas authority. As you mention that
some of them are valuable, it might be worth the trouble.
BTW - What part of Calif are you moving to? You realize that the
macro- and micro-climates vary WIDELY! Calif. is like a country unto
itself, both in terms of GNP, and in terms of great climatic and
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