On April 9, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law legislation to amend the way the Colorado Nursery Act addresses pests, diseases and noxious weeds. The Modernization of the Nursery Act, HB18-1246, updates the definition of “nursery stock” and defines “noxious weed.”
The new definition of nursery stock includes any hardy, herbaceous or woody plant that can survive Colorado winters, and that is grown, collected or kept for propagation, sale or distribution. It also includes nonhardy plants and plant parts that will be distributed in other states that have their own inspection and certification regulations, and any plant designated by the commissioner in order to control the spread of pests or disease.
A noxious weed is any plant species that is or could be difficult to control or eliminate.
The Colorado Nursery Act, last amended in 2009, included an exemption from inspections for nurseries that only sold stock grown in Colorado and that did not export stock to other states. The new bill ends that exemption.
Other changes include authorizing the commissioner of agriculture to require additional information on nursery stock labels; prohibiting the sale of noxious weeds or infected nursery stock; and increasing the nursery registration fee cap from $100 to $300.
“It is critical to agricultural producers, nursery and landscape businesses, and the public that we do all we can to fight noxious weeds, disease and pests in plants across the state,” Rep. Jessie Danielson, co-sponsor of the bill, told Colorado Lawn & Landscape by email. “This new law is one important tool to protect our crops, plants and native species from serious threats.”
The Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association has expressed support for the bill. “CNGA and our members are committed to raising the professionalism of our industry. Having clear definition and guidelines will benefit nursery growers and protect the end consumers from accessing nursery stock that is sub-par,” Executive Director Allison Gault wrote in a letter to representatives prior to the bill’s passing.