Plant Industry - Nursery Regulatory Services

Nursery Regulatory Services

Nursery and Collected Plant Certification

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Protection Specialists inspect over 10,000 acres of nursery stock each year. This acreage is grown by approximately 1,400 nurseries ranging in size from 0.2 to 450 acres. There are approximately 2,700 nursery dealers distributing plants throughout the state.

A certificate is required to distribute or sell nursery stock or collected plants. Nursery stock is defined as all wild or cultivated plants or plant parts, trees, shrubs, vines, bulbous plants and roots, grafts, scions and buds. Included in this definition are strawberry plants, turfgrass and bulbs. Also included are vegetable and tobacco plants when required by other regulations. Excluded are other annual plants, cut flowers, true seeds, decorative plants or plant parts without roots not intended for propagation, and perennial plants intended for indoor use that are produced in North Carolina. A collected plant is nursery stock ( other than currently certified nursery stock ) which is dug or gathered.

When nursery stock is grown at a location for distribution or sale, that location is considered to be a NURSERY.

Nurseries are further classified as CERTIFIED ( one or more acres in size or sells outside the state ).

REGISTERED ( less than one acre in size and does not sell outside the state ).

INSTITUTIONAL ( owned or operated by a governmental agency ).

A NURSERY DEALER does not actually grow nursery stock but obtains certified nursery stock and/or collected plants in North Carolina or from other states for resale.

The holder of a COLLECTED PLANT certificate has given satisfactory evidence that plants collected by him are not in violation of any plant pest regulations. It is more a registration procedure, and there are no inspections required.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Protection Specialists conduct the inspections for plant pests at the intervals indicated below:


Certification or Inspection Request

When requesting a nursery certificate or inspection, please provide your name, phone number, and the name of the county where the nursery is located. Submit this information by email to:

Nursery Certificate Fees:

CERTIFIED (inspected annually; expires Sept.30)  
First acre or fraction of salable stock $100.00/year
Each additional acre of salable stock $ 3.00/year
REGISTERED (inspected once every three years; expires Sept.30) $ 20.00/year
INSTITUTIONAL (inspected annually; expires Sept.30) none

Nursery Dealer Certificate:

For each sales location (inspected annually; expires Dec.31) $ 50.00/year

Collected Plant Certificate:

(issued annually; expires Sept.30) $ 20.00/year


Please feel free to download our Nursery Regulations Brochure as a quick reference guide.

Check out the Plant Protection Specialist's Work Areas to find out who to contact to assist you with your nursery certification questions.

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