Transporting citrus on plane across state lines?

Marrme(6)March 27, 2014

Hey all,
I live in the cold cold state of NJ but I may be going to CA in a few weeks. I'm hoping to pick up a few varieties of four winds trees while I'm there (their 20-30 dollars per tree shipping plus my inability to pick out the shape of the trees I want is killing me) and pack it in my luggage to bring it back to the east coast. Does anyone have any experience doing anything similar? I know all their trees shipped to me has that sticker on it that clear it as disease/insect free.
Thoughts?? Thanks!!!

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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

If your states is not quarantine then your ok buy if you check it in a bag it will get smashed and killed airline are NOT careful With bags or packages. You might just could carry it on don't know.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 12:47PM
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krismast(6 S.E. PA)

Check with your airlines to see if they allow you to carry on plants. If you want to follow the law to the letter you will have to have your plants inspected by the state before you bring it into New Jersey. "All nursery stock shipped into New Jersey must be accompanied by a valid certificate stating that the authorized authority of the state where the stock was grown has inspected the stock and that the stock was found to be free from dangerously injurious plant pests." If you buy them directly from four winds they should be able to inspect them for you. I don't know if four winds has direct buying or not. Even if you can pick up directly from them you shouldn't travel through the state with them at all due to the quarantines currently in place in CA.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 1:21PM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

I'm pretty sure Four Winds does not sell directly to the public in California. However most independent nurserys in Northern California will have them for sale. But they're sold in 5 gallon containers, not the 5" liner pots, so you would have to lug a large pots onto the plane; they weigh about 15+ pounds each. Or you would have to bare root them ahead of your flight, and wrap them well so they don't dry out. They retail for about $30-37.

And Kristopher is right, you would need to get them inspected and get a certificate; probably wouldn't be able to get one as you couldn't buy them direct from Four Winds and the retail nursery wouldn't have it, Four Winds would, I think. I don't know if you could get a copy. I'd call them first and see what could be done, they are pretty nice to deal with on the phone.
And yeah, can't travel with them from northern CA to southern CA.

This post was edited by BarbJP on Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 13:53

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 1:47PM
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I was hoping to go to an independent nursery to pick out my trees, bareroot them, wrap them in wet newspaper and haul it back home with me. I've heard of people doing that and I thought that because NJ isn't a citrus state, they would be less concerned about inspecting them. :/ I'm really hopeful as I'm kind of getting tired of paying $60 for my Four Winds Trees (including the shipping) so $37 sounds excellent to me!

Thanks everyone for your input! I'm going to contact Four Winds and my airline (once I get the tickets) :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:37PM
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krismast(6 S.E. PA)

Nj might not be a citrus state but there are plenty of other pests and diseases that can travel on plants. All states have laws regulating the interstate movement of plants. I don't think every nursery has inspection certificates but I might be wrong. That's another problem you might encounter. I'm almost certain big box stores won't be able to help you. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 2:45PM
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I know that Four Winds has the inspection certificate when they ship it to me but you're probably right. If I can't, I'm going to try ordering from McKenzie in South Carolina (spoke to Stan).
I also sent an email to Four Winds asking their advice.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:05PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Marme, you cannot move citrus out of the state of California. In fact, you cannot even move it out of most counties, now. Inspected and treated citrus is just for sale in the local area. I cannot drive up to Los Angeles, and bring citrus back, nor can I take my citrus out of San Diego county. I would call the CDFA and ask them, directly. Explain what you want to do, and where you live. Let them guide you. The fines for transporting non-inspected citrus across state lines is hefty.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: CDFA Contact Information

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:51PM
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I just came back from Portland with a suitcase full of plants. TSA never even opened it. I also had some in my carry on. Again, not inspected. I had phyto certs. just in case, but they didn't even ask. My conclusion: TSA agents are not Ag. inspectors, and unless you are going through customs, as in an international flight, I doubt your plants would be rejected. This is my personal experience. I cannot vouch for what other states or airlines will do.
Also, my suitcase was an old Samsonite. No smushing :)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:51PM
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Wow, I didn't know that! I contacted Four Winds and they said I can buy the trees from North CA but once I do, I can't bring them into South CA, I have to go directly home. They also advise me to contact NJ authorities to make sure. This stinks. I suppose I'll be ordering from McKenzie after all. I'm super jealous of all you people from those citrus states! :P

Thanks for all your advice everyone!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 6:29PM
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What would be stopping you from shipping your plant home with UPS? Might be cheaper then some most baggage charges.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 7:49PM
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krismast(6 S.E. PA)

Ups from ca to the east coast isn't going to be cheap. You'd have to ship it 2 day delivery an they're not very lightweight. If you would do that you would be better off letting four winds do all the work, in my opinion.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 8:10PM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

I've no idea about citrus or the regulations, but I have transported plants (from SE Asia, 14+hrs) in my main baggage all you need to do is bareroot them (maybe have a small amount of soil or sand, bind it in paper towels or newspaper and then wrap in foil. Make sure the body of the plant is in the middle of the bag with a towel or other soft items either side and that the bag itself isn't under filled so nothing moves about.

Most plants should be fine this way I would imagine


    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 4:51AM
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I think Kris and I are on the same page, I think it would still be more labor intensive and not cost effective to ship it. Plus, I'd have to time it just right, so I suppose I would just let Four Winds do all the work.

Thanks for your input Nick! You're much braver than I. If I did that, I'd be nervous the whole plane ride that I'd come get my luggage and there'd be security waiting for me. :) Just because I'd be scared I didn't follow some rule somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 11:09AM
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