Plant Inspection, Certification and Quarantines


All locations that sell plant material are subject to inspection. Inspectors check that plants are healthy and look for pests, including insects, diseases and weeds. They verify that plants brought into New Mexico from other states are in compliance with various quarantines and are certified appropriately by their state of origin. Similarly, they certify plants grown in New Mexico for export to other states, assuring the destination states that New Mexico plant materials are also pest-free.

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Phytosanitary/Origin Certification

You may need a state or federal Phytosanitary Certificate or a Certificate of Origin, depending on the destination and type of shipment. Prior to issuing the certificate, NMDA must receive a completed Application for Phytosanitary and Certificate of Origin. An inspector will then check the plants or plant products to verify that they are pest-free. There is a nominal charge for the inspector’s travel and time to perform this type of inspection, as well as a small fee for the certificate itself.


Japanese Beetle Exterior Quarantine –  Infested nursery stock and grass sod are one of the primary ways this pest moves into areas where it does not already exist. This quarantine helps prevent Japanese beetles from becoming established in New Mexico. See also the National Plant Board’s Japanese Beetle Harmonization Plan.

Cotton Boll Weevil Quarantine – There are restrictions on the movement of most raw cotton products, and the machinery associated with growing and harvesting cotton, from areas that have not “functionally eradicated” cotton boll weevil.

Pecan Weevil Exterior Quarantine – Pecan trees in soil from the southeastern US, including east Texas, cannot be shipped into New Mexico. All other pecan trees must be accompanied by a certificate of origin or treatment.

Pepper Weevil Interior Quarantine and Plowdown –  Pepper fields in the regulated area must be plowed down every year by February 1 to reduce overwintering populations of pepper weevil, and residues from pepper processing plants cannot be transported out of the regulated area.

Pink Bollworm Permanent Plowdown – All cotton plants in New Mexico must be plowed and buried by February 1 of each year to reduce overwintering populations of pink bollworm.

Red Imported Fire Ant Interior Quarantine  – Within New Mexico the county of Dona Ana is quarantined to prevent the spread of imported fire ants.  Shipments of nursery stock, sod, soil, baled hay and straw, and soil moving equipment originating in Dona Ana County must be certified to be free of the pest. In the case of nursery stock, this is verified by the presence of a shield-shaped stamp from USDA on boxes and/or shipping documents which accompany these items.

Imported Fire Ant – A USDA shield-shaped stamp with the abbreviation of the originating state in the center must be present on each box or on the shipping documents. This indicates that the plants have been treated to control imported fire ants. It must be included with shipments from the southeastern portion of the U.S., including southeast Texas, as well as Orange County and portions of Riverside and Los Angeles Counties in California.

Phytophthora ramorum (Sudden Oak Death) – Nurseries in regulated areas in California, Oregon, and Washington that ship host or associated plant nursery stock must have paperwork which carries a Federal shield to prove that they are not infested with this disease.

Federal Noxious Weeds – Plants listed under this regulation cannot be shipped into New Mexico without an NMDA-approved permit.

For more information contact NMDA’s Entomology and Nursery Industries Section at 575-646-3207.

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