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Delaware Department of

Nursery Inspection

ornamental trees and shrubs at a nurseryPlant Industries inspectors look for insect and plant disease pests on nursery stock. The Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Nursery section is responsible for the administration of the Delaware Nursery Law (Title 3 Chapter 13 – Nurseries and Nursery Stock Law). Delaware law defines nursery stock as “any plant for planting, propagation, or ornamentation, including, but not limited to:

a. All plants, trees, shrubs, vines, perennials grafts, cuttings and buds that may be sold for propagation, whether cultivated or wild, and all viable parts of these plants.

b. Any other plant or plant part, including cut Christmas trees or any non-hardy plant or plant part, including but not limited to, annuals, bedding plants and vegetable plants.”

In addition, the Nursery section issues certificates of inspection, phytosanitary certificates, and Nursery Licenses to businesses engaged in a nursery or nursery-related business within the state. Certification and inspections are conducted to prevent the introduction of unwanted plant pests into Delaware, and likewise, to facilitate grower shipments of nursery stock to other states and countries.


Nursery License

Anyone who is directly engaged with the distribution of plants, plant products, plant material, nursery stock, or horticultural products is required to let the Delaware Department of Agriculture know that they are conducting this business. They must obtain a nursery industry license prior to starting business operations. The nursery industry licenses are valid for one year (January 1 – December 31) and must be renewed annually.

Citizens wishing to search for a nursery in their county may utilize this online directory:


Invasive Plants

The Invasive Plants Law will go into effect on July 1, 2022, prohibiting any person from importing, exporting, buying, selling, transporting, distributing, or propagating any viable portion, including seeds, on an invasive plant in Delaware. An invasive plant includes any living part, cultivar, species, or subspecies not native to Delaware that has the potential to result in widespread dispersal and establishment; out-compete other species in the same area; exhibit rapid growth or high seed or propagule productions; or become established in natural areas in the State.

If an individual or group is interested in obtaining an exemption for a cultivar from the Invasive Plant List, the Petition to Exempt Cultivar NEW! must be completed and submitted for review.

The Invasive Plant list includes, at a minimum, all of the following:

  • Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)
  • Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
  • Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
  • Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)
  • Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
  • Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
  • Norway maple (Acer platanoides)
  • European reed (Phragmites australis subsp. australis)
  • Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
  • Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)
  • Mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata)
  • Yam-leaved Clematis (Clematis terniflora)
  • European Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
  • European Sweetflag (Acorus calamus)
  • Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)
  • Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
  • Winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus)
  • Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis glandulosa)
  • Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Marsh Dewflower (Murdannia keisak)
  • Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna)
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
  • Tartarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
  • Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
  • Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe subsp. micranthos)
  • Creeping water primrose (Ludwigia peploides subsp. glabrescens)
  • Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
  • Parrot-feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)
  • English ivy (Hedrix helix)
  • Orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva)
  • Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudoacorus)
  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)



Delaware Ribes Permit Application


Plant Industries Nursery Staff

  • Jeff Brothers, Environmental Program Manager, Send E-Mail
  • Rebecca Gartley, Environmental Scientist, Send E-Mail

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