Licensing & Inspection
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Any business or individual in the state of Maine offering plants for sale must have a license to sell nursery stock (Title 7 MRSA sec. 2171).
- Businesses selling only cutflowers or cut Christmas trees do not require a license
- A license must be obtained for each location where nursery stock is sold; a single company with multiple outlets will need more than one nursery license.
- Businesses that are found to be selling plants and fail to obtain a license may be subject to a fine of up to $500.
Nursery stock is defined as (Title 7 MRSA sec. 2211):
- woody plants (trees, shrubs, vines etc.) and
- herbaceous plants (bulbs, annuals, perennials, vegetable seedlings, houseplants, etc.), but
- does not include cutflowers or cut christmas trees.
- Licenses are issued for the calendar year and need to be renewed each January
- Renewal license applications are mailed to current licensees at the end of November
- To apply for a license fill out an application and send it in with the appropriate license fee
- Nursery License Application (PDF 22KB)
- $25 per license (sales location) for most businesses
- $5 per license (sales location) for some small businesses (those selling less than $500 in plant material a year AND having less than 150 SqFt of retail sales area)
- Educational institutions (schools) selling plants must obtain a license, but are exempt from the licensing fee.
- License Fee Rule (DOC 27KB)
Inspecting plants for sale helps prevent the spread of pests that can easily move from one area to another on plant material and helps to ensure the sale of healthy plants to the end consumer.
- All businesses selling plants are subject to inspection. (Title 7 MRSA sec. 2213)
- Most businesses are inspected annually, but inspections may be conducted more or less frequently
When inspecting, horticulture staff surveys the growing and sales area for:
- diseases or
- environmental problems
- Sample Inspection Report (PDF 10KB)
The inspector fills out an inspection report and reviews the report with the owner or grower to address and discuss any areas of concern and answer any questions from identifying a pest to understanding a regulation. The horticulture staff has a broad knowledge base and is happy to share that knowledge to help growers improve their operations.