[BULBS-L] Importing Bulbs and Seeds

WDA aley_wd@mac.com
Sun, 25 Jan 2009 18:17:46 PST
DHS inspects cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, generally admissible cargo. It's true that 75% of PPQ went to DHS and as I mentioned before they are more proactive when they catch singular violators. They have also begun holding the importer responsible for the condition of imports. I work for PPQ. 
Propagative plant material is inspected at a plant inspection station by PPQ inspectors.

I'm not going to get into a  discussion about what you get away with because the government is overburdened with trying to catch the bad guys. 
I was at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, a meeting at ground zero about Phytophthoria kernovii- at the end of the tour of the grounds the representative from UK's plant protection organization cautioned everyone about becoming vectors by not being responsible  of foot ware because they probably have live spores on their clothing. If they were off to another garden they could possibly spread the spores and infect new gardens.
The representative from Australia  without hesitation took off her boots and threw them in the rubbish bin. Later she said that she did not want to be known in Australia as the person who brought P.k. to Australia. Better safe than sorry was her attitude.I took photos of  a Rhododendron in the garden that was over 100 years old. Largest I'd ever see well over 20 feet tall and 150 feet wide. It was infested with P.k. They tried to save it. It was later ground up and incinerated. As the old beech trees and acers begin to die. How did the pathogen get there? We don't know. What we do know is that there are a lot of hosts for just that one disease. It only takes the right plant in the right place to begin an epidemic. Question is what steps will you go to to make sure that your not remembered as the person who brought a new plant pest into your neighborhood?

I deal with people all the time who want special consideration and exceptions  to import prohibited plant material into the USA because they have their own reason to posses stuff that the US prohibits. People brag about what plant material they smuggle into the US all the time. Because it's not like drugs or guns it can't hurt anybody. As if they would never be held accountable for introducing  some exotic plant pest into the USA- you know stuff like med fly, bamboo rust, hosta virus X,amaryllis fly, phytophthorias, emerald ash borers, citrus long horn beetles, Asian gypsy moth and the list continues. 

The belief that US citizens have the right to bring anything into the country without checks and precautions keeps people like me employed cleaning up the environmental messes both from big businesses and individual importers. The rice panicle mite in Texas is a good example of Scientists thinking they knew everything and managed to introduce a rice pest with Mexican Paddy rice sown into the Texas rice belt. Or the collectors that went and gathered boxwood cutting in Greece and somehow managed to introduce a new boxwood rust into Longwood Gardens.

So you go and do what you believe is your right to do. There are plenty of people who take a more responsible approach to the importation of foreign plant material who will work to clean up those messes and try to make the system work better. God knows that people thought they were doing the right thing with Kudsu.

It is rather like the person who throws a cigarette butt on the ground when they are done with it. I guess they just believe that someone will pick it up eventually.

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