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Nursery Stock Shipping Rules and Regulations

Resources > Nursery Stock Shipping Rules and Regulations
From moving mulch to making sense of nursery stock shipping rules and regulations, R+L Global Logistics is here to help.
Published: April 29, 2020
Last Modified: March 19, 2024
Author: Ask Truckload

Spring has sprung and many consumers and businesses are thinking about landscapes. This means commercial growers and tree farms are turning to nursery stock shipping partners to get these growing goods on the move to meet demand. However, there are a few nursery stock shipping rules and regulations you need to be aware of. These controls can vary by state and it’s important to be aware as you arrange shipping.

From getting the right permits to compliance with regulations, there’s a lot to consider when shipping nursery stock. Mature nursery stock shipping often involves enlisting a heavy haul trucking partner. Large, mature trees are often shipped in 1,400 gallon containers and require shipping on a lowboy trailer. R+L Global Logistics is prepared to offer solutions when you need nursery stock shipping. We know the rules of the road and can make light work of your heavy haul needs.

What is Nursery Stock?

According to information from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Plant Industry Division, nursery stock refers to plants that are grown or propagated for distribution or sale. These plants include:

  • Ornamental plants
  • Trees
  • Shrubs
  • Grass sod
  • Foliage plants

Nursery stock comes in various sizes, all the way from pint-sized containers of flowering plants to 1,400 gallon wood buckets holding 35-foot trees. 

It is important to know that in many states, all nursery stock must be inspected before it is distributed and shipped. In Florida, for example, the Division of Plant Industry is required to inspect nursery stock. Indiana also requires inspection and commercial growers are required to have a license. 

Are you shipping nursery stock from the Hoosier State? Learn about freight shipping from Indiana to California.

It’s also important to be aware of shipping rules and regulations when you are moving nursery stock. Not only are heavy haul or oversize permits required based on load size, but you’ll also need to follow any state regulations. 

What Are The Nursery Stock Shipping Rules and Regulations?


There are both federal and state nursery stock shipping rules and regulations. Shipments of nursery stock are regulated federally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine Program (PPQ. On the state level, plant health agencies regulate nursery stock shipping. 

Federal and state nursery stock shipping rules and regulations are in place to help stop the spread of disease and insects across state lines. Through nursery stock shipping regulations can vary from state to state, they all feature a few of the same basic requirements.

One basic nursery stock shipping rule and regulation that crosses state lines is related to labeling requirements. No matter which state your shipment originates or where it is heading, it must be clearly labeled. Per most state guidelines, your nursery stock shipment must be labeled with:

  • Shipper’s name and address
  • Destination
  • Name and quantity of plants in the shipment
  • State and county where the plants were grown

In addition to meeting labeling requirements, most states require that nursery stock shipments must be accompanied by a label, certificate or stamp from the regulatory agency in the state or origin.

Most states also require that all nursery stock shipments are inspected to make sure they are pest free. In many states, carriers are unable to ship nursery stock that shows sign on insect or fungal infestation.

Leave nursery stock shipping to an expert. R+L Global Logistics has the knowledge and experience to make sure your shipment is in compliant with all federal and state guidelines. We’ll make sure all nursery stock shipping rules and regulations are adhered to. Let us do the legwork for you.

Shipping rocks, soil or clay along with your nursery stock? Learn more about shipping Georgia red clay, sand and stone.

What Kind of Nursery Stock Requires Heavy Haul Shipping?

What Kind of Nursery Stock Requires Heavy Haul Shipping

Heavy haul trucking is required to ship some kinds of nursery stock. Mature trees can be oversize loads and exceed weight limits. This means you need the right shipping partner to get your goods on the road. No matter when you are a commercial nursery moving goods to a distributor or directly to a retailer, R+L Global Logistics offers the shipping solutions you need.

You might need to enlist heavy haul shipping for your stock when moving mature trees. Mature trees are often shipped in 640-gallon or 1,400-gallon containers. These trees aren’t shipped bare root, as they are root enhanced for easy planting and quick curb appeal. These trees can be 30-35 feet tall and weight up as much as a ton, not counting the container and dirt!

There are many steps involved in shipping a 1,400-gallon tree. A lowboy truck and trailer are often used. Steps involved in nursery stock shipping for large trees include:

  1. Measure the tree. You’ll need to know the tree’s height and canopy width. You might also consider the branches’ bending capacity. 
  2. Load the tree on the truck bed. Mature trees can weigh more than a ton. You’ll likely need a front-end loader or a crane to load the tree on the truck bed.
  3. Secure the tree. You might need beams, slings and supports to hold the tree in place.
  4. Lay the tree on its side. Mature trees can be more than 30-feet tall. This means they exceed all shipping regulations and they need to move on their side. 
  5. Tie branches. Even if your tree is a wide load, you’ll need to tie back and secure the branches.
  6. Secure the load. You might want to cover the tree with a tarp to properly secure it. 

Need more information about shipping a tree? Learn how to ship a tree from a commercial nursery.

Nursery Stock Shipping with R+L Global Logistics

From moving mulch to making sense of nursery stock shipping rules and regulations, R+L Global Logistics is here to help. We are ready to be your specialized haul partner. Regardless of shipping season or planting time, we have a vast network of carriers and equipment ready to roll and offer solutions to your nursery stock shipping challenges. R+L Global Logistics will make sure to pull all the right permits and carry all the right certificates, which means we’ll get your shipment on the road with ease.

Get a hassle-free freight rate quote from R+L Global Logistics today. Let us show you what it means to have a strategic partner on your side when you need nursery stock shipping.

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