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Mr. Smarty Plants - Taking plants to Alaska

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Wednesday - August 31, 2011

From: Fresno, CA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Laws
Title: Taking plants to Alaska
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

I am moving from California to Alaska, can I take live plants?

ANSWER:

Hello and welcome to Alaska (we live in Fairbanks);

There are no restrictions on bringing plants into Alaska, however, there are restrictions on taking plants into Canada. If you are driving and will be going through Canada you need to pay attention to the following:

This web site  will explain what you can and cannot take into Canada. Travelers are required to declare all plant, animal, and food items they bring into Canada.

Many agricultural items are restricted or prohibited entry to Canada because they may carry bacteria, viruses or pests. At some locations specially trained dogs are used to sniff out agricultural products concealed in luggage. Smuggling agricultural items into Canada is a federal offence and can lead to prosecution.

All plant material must be declared to Canada Customs at the point of entry. Authority to import plant material from all countries must be obtained in advance. A health certificate from the country of origin must accompany most imported plants, with the exception of houseplants originating from the continental US. For more information visit Canada's "Be Aware" web site.

With respect to Alaska, although we don't yet have the problems associated with invasive plants that are found in other areas, they are becoming an issue. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game points out that "many invasive plant problems began as desirable ornamental plants for sale in nurseries and garden shops. Purple loosestrife, for example, is sold as an ornamental plant but it takes over native vegetation in wetlands, and can clog streams".  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does have some information here.

Something else that you should consider is whether your plants can survive in Alaska. The Anchorage area is much more mild than the Fairbanks area. Go to US National Arboretum "Web Version" of the 1990 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map Plant hardiness zones to check on the plant hardiness zones in Alaska.

Good luck on your trip.

 

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