Nursery Inspection and Certification


General Information

The Insect Pest Law of 1901 is the basis for the current nursery inspection and certification program. This law was enacted at the request of the Connecticut nursery industry to allow them to ship nursery stock into states that had plant inspection laws. The legislation provided for scientific investigations of nursery pests and yearly inspections to help keep nurseries relatively free from pests. An application for nursery registration is mailed to each nursery early in the year. The prompt return of the application enables the efficient inspection of all nursery locations. Inspections are carried out during the growing season. Nurseries found relatively free from serious pests or diseases are issued a nursery certificate. If pests are found, the inspectors issue directions for their control. A reasonable amount of time is allowed for carrying out the treatments. Once control is achieved, a certificate is issued. Failure to comply means a nursery certificate will not be granted. Even with the varied and often ambiguous regulations of other countries and states, many nursery and greenhouse owners enjoy successful shipping and experience few unsolvable problems. We would be happy to supply further information to persons who are considering selling their produce out of state.

The USDA regulates the movement of field-grown nursery stock to states not quarantined for spongy moth (a.k.a. gypsy moth). For information, contact Erica Willey, USDA-APHIS State Plant Health Director, at (203) 741-5656.

An overview of nursery laws, registration and licensing

All sellers of nursery stock* in Connecticut must be registered with our office. If you want to grow nursery stock* for commercial purposes, you must register as a nursery. The nursery license covers growing and selling nursery stock. The dealers license only covers selling nursery stock. If you have any questions, please call us at (203) 974-8474 or write to us at 123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT 06511.

*The Connecticut statutes' definition of nursery stock excludes houseplants. Nursery stock is defined as hardy trees, shrubs, and vines grown out of doors.

There are different rules and definitions for nurseries, dealers, greenhouses and turf farms. (see below) The full Connecticut plant pest law also follows.

Any place at which hardy trees, shrubs and vines are propagated or grown out of doors for commercial purposes shall be considered a nursery, and such stock shall be regarded as nursery stock.

Registration. All nursery owners shall register with the Office of the State Entomologist each year, on or before July first.

Inspections. The State Entomologist or his/her assistants shall inspect at least once each year all nurseries at which woody field-grown hardy trees and plants are grown for sale or shipment. At this time, there is no charge for registration or for inspections.

Nursery certificates. Nursery certificates, which are valid until August 1st of the following year, are issued after inspections have been completed. Nurseries holding a valid nursery certificate should use the following form of certificate to accompany each package of nursery stock sold or transported. This certificate may be printed or stamped on labels or sales slips in type no smaller than 8 pt.

Nursery Inspection Cert. No.___________
This is to certify that the nursery stock of
(name) (address)
has been inspected and found apparently
free from dangerously injurious insects and
plant diseases.

Victoria Smith, Ph.D., State Entomologist


All firms, stores and individuals who sell but do not grow nursery stock shall be classed as dealers.

Registration. Dealers shall, each year, on or before March first, register with the Office of the State Entomologist, giving, the chief sources of their nursery stock and such data as he/she requires.

Inspections. Dealers do not get annual inspections, though we will visit if we have a reason. If for example, we know that an out-of-state nursery has shipped stock into the state that may contain certain insects or diseases.

Dealer permits. Dealer permits are issued as registrations are received. They are valid until March 1st of the following year.

Greenhouses are facilities where individuals either commercially or privately grow all their stock under glass or plastic year round. Plants grown in greenhouses for shipment out of the state are required to be inspected. Plants sold from greenhouse production for use only in the state are inspected if there is a special reason.

Owners of turf farms only have to register if they ship out of state. Plants are inspected and certified once a year.

Connecticut regulations require that all nursery stock shipped into this state shall bear on each package a certificate stating that all the contents of such package have been inspected by your State and/or Federal official and that the contents appear free from all injurious insects and diseases. If your nursery certificate has such a declaration, that is sufficient. Federal quarantines apply to plant material at its point of origin. Consult with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection and Quarantine ( PPQ ) personnel concerning quarantines in effect in your area.