State officials inspect imported Christmas trees

State officials inspect imported Christmas trees

LOUISIANA (KSLA) - Evergreens are a type of plant, and most evergreens are a type of Christmas tree, so many of the Christmas trees imported into Louisiana have been inspected by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.

Commissioner Dr. Michael Strain said the department of agriculture and forestry is responsible for protecting the entire agriculture and forestry industry from diseases, foreign pests and invasive species.

" We routinely do inspections for the Christmas trees that are imported from out of state and come to various lots to make sure they have the necessary paperwork [and are not infected], especially from the pine shoot beetle and the gypsy moth or any other disease," Dr. Strain said.

Dr. Strain said officials have never found either pest here in Louisiana, but have stopped ordered of trees when they do not have proper certification. Most trees that are imported into Louisiana come from Michigan.

The spread of diseases, foreign pests and invasive species does not typically happen when the trees are brought in, but when they are disposed of.

"It can either go into a landfill or sometimes it is taken behind the house if you are in a rural area," Dr. Strain said. "There it can spread the insect or the disease. Sometimes it can be used for reclamation of land down by the coast. There is a great avenue for the spread of these diseases through transportation and disposal of Christmas trees."

Even though the Louisiana Department Agriculture and Forestry does not routinely inspect Christmas tree farms in the state, they have done so in the past.

Dr. Strain encourages shoppers to buy a local tree to help the local economy.

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