Transporting plants to a new location sounds like a relatively harmless act, and it is just that in most circumstances. You do, however, need to be aware that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has regulatory oversight over plants, especially when it comes to interstate transport. As part of your preparation process, you should familiarize yourself with current quarantines and the lists that define pests, diseases and noxious weeds in order to avoid any headaches later on.
If you select a well-qualified, specialized plant transporter, they should be knowledgeable about what you can and cannot transport to certain areas. You should still pay attention to regulations – trucks carrying live plants are subject to inspection by USDA officials, and if plants do not meet requirements, they may be subject to seizure. This is especially important if you are moving your plants as a part of a household move and you are not able to select a service provider who is very experienced in shipping plants.
The internet provides an assortment of articles and guides on this subject, but some of them can be inaccurate due to the rapidly changing nature of government regulations. Here are some of the more authoritative guides on subjects pertaining to the transportation of plants:
- State Noxious Weed List: Downloadable spreadsheets
- An up-to-date listing of plant species that are prohibited in states
- State Quarantine Summaries: A constantly upgraded summary of current quarantines in states and can include some common plants at times.
- National Plant Board (NPB) Member Contact List: A listing of NPB member for all fifty states plus Puerto Rico – a helpful resource if you cannot find the answer to your question and need to contact the appropriate party for a specific state.