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Bringing Fruit and Nut Trees into Canada (from US)  RSS feed

 
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I have a question from someone doing permaculture in British Columbia.

For those who are working on food forestry in British Columbia, is there a legal way to bring fruit and nut trees from the US into Canada? Is the process extremely complicated or costly? The buyer would be purchasing from nurseries like Burnt Ridge, Raintree, and Onegreenworld, which all have good standing and certification but do not, unfortunately, ship to Canada.
 
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That's a good question! I've only ordered fruit trees FROM canada before. So I only know that that works as far as shipping them to the U.S.
 
James Landreth
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That's good to know. As an aside, I know that people order plants and seeds into North America from abroad on Etsy and Ebay all the time, but I doubt that the practice is legal
 
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James Landreth wrote: The buyer would be purchasing from nurseries like Burnt Ridge, Raintree, and Onegreenworld, which all have good standing and certification but do not, unfortunately, ship to Canada.



So are you buying for them and wanting to ship the trees to Canada?

I would suggest calling your local USPS Postmaster.  They will know the rules for shipping from the US to Canada.

If you are buying them then carrying the trees across the border you would need to call the Canadian Customs Authority.
 
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The process is somewhat tedious, but not that difficult.
First stop should be the Canada Customs Automated Import Reference System (AIRS), which allows you to enter the genus/species name to see the relevant regulations.
With the exception of Prunus and Pyrus, lots of fruiting trees and shrubs are admissible with only a phyto, which is provided by the originating nursery (there is almost always a charge for this).
Provided the plants don't require an additional import permit (again, discoverable via AIRS), you can get by with just the phyto.
At the border, it gets more confusing. You need to pull into the commercial vehicle holding area once through the border booth, and have to go to the office (where you'll wait with all the truckers), and fill out a form on the provided computer kiosks.
This involves a lot of information, including some specific codes and line items that can be intimidating the first time through.
The staff on hand will usually assist (somewhat) with this, but you have to have everything on the forms in order or they'll refuse to let you through.
You may or may not have an ag. inspector go through your load--if it's a lot of plants, expect to unload it all for them to have a look

Prunus is very difficult to import: you have to find a nursery willing to do the (to them) tedious and expensive treatments necessary to be admissible to Canada.

A few smaller nurseries in BC have been importing a lot of this stuff for a while, and pawpaws and certain fig varieties are available in B.C., sparing you the hassle.

Redhawk
 
James Landreth
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I'm open to either shipping them there or driving them across in a pickup truck. If we could find a decent American nursery that ships to Canada that would be great too. The problems that my friend is encountering is that a) there isn't as good a selection in BC and b) the more unusual and well adapted trees are very, very expensive.
 
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For small packages the simplest shipping method is to use the US post office. If you use another shipper they will charge a brokerage fee. In addition some shippers will charge you any possible import duty. For instance on a small value item you may not be charge import duties by Canada. But the shipper will charge you anyway. This also happens with eBay's Global Shipping Program. On eBay find a seller who ships his packages him/herself.

If it's a big package you should know that UPS will ship a 150 pound package from the US to Canada. I'd guess that would cover 99+% of all shipments.

edit:

Have you checked with St Lawrence Nursery. They're just across the river from Canada, so I'm guessing they know what they need to know to ship to Canada. They are though; in the northeast so shipping would cost you more.
 
James Landreth
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That's a great idea, John! I just sent them an email. Some of the varieties that they sell would do well in British Columbia, in spite of the bent they have towards extreme cold hardiness. I'll see what the owner has to say
 
James Landreth
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Also thank you Bryant, for your answer! I meant to thank you earlier. One nursery I talked to charges $150 per phytosanitary certificate, so it would be cost prohibitive with them. I'm going to keep asking around though.
 
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