For you... a nice 5-needle pine

Bonsai Nut

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Some of the bonsai I find when surfing Japanese sites seem outrageously expensive. Some appear more reasonable - and almost look like bargains compared to the prices of comparable bonsai in the U.S. Take for example this tree being sold at Bonsai Times. $1,000 for a 5-Needle Pine of this quality (and size) is very reasonable in the U.S. I would imagine that I would be able to get 2-3x as much if I sold this on eBay. (P.S. don't click on the photo on the site, or it will add the tree to your shopping cart :) )

 

Shrimpaku

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Wow. That is an insane pine. Right now there are some pines on ebay that are selling for a lot more that dont look as good. I wonder if I could bring one back if I flew over there? They must have some way for visitors to bring bonsai home.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I have always heard you need to have paperwork beforehand and bring them in bare-rooted. I'm not 100% sure however. I might check into this a little further and let you know. I know my mom once brought in a tree from a visit to Japan that was NOT bare-rooted, so maybe it can be done. This was perhaps 15 years ago so maybe things have changed.
 

bonsai barry

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Starting at the top and working your way down, I like this pine a lot until I get to the nebari. There doesn't seem to be much there to support such a nice trunk. Am I just not seeing it?
 

Shrimpaku

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Hard to tell. There is a gap between the roots on the lower left, but one of the roots may be high and could be removed. Otherwise you could try an approach graft to try to fix it. It really isn't that significat of an issue - White Pines don't have the nebari a Black Pine has.
 

Graydon

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That's a nice pine for sure but it's not without it's share of problems.

1. What happened at the nebari to trunk transition? Perhaps topping off the soil would help cover the too small roots.

2. The lower branches look a little weak as compared to the upper branches and apex.

3. There's a bad scar or general weirdness going on with the 2nd branch on the left side. See it? Looks like a wire scar that is still healing.

4. The second branch on the right is too large at the trunk. Compare it to the branch below and above it, it just looks wrong to my eyes.

Even with those flaws I would be proud to have such a tree.

Good questions on importing trees. I know someone who imports azaleas and they come in via air freight and are bare rooted. The shipper is a quarantine agent and hold them in Japan on quarantine as needed. He also takes care of the paperwork on his side. I think pines need to be held in quarantine for a period of 2 years to make sure they are pest free (pinewood nematode or bark beetle issues - something we sent to Japan not long after WW2). It's tougher to import pines as they do need to be bare rooted and that is a tough transition no matter when you do it.

I may start a thread on importing from Japan. Anyone have a pile of money and want to import trees? I could set up a quarantine area in Florida and care for them.
 

Tachigi

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Speaking from experience on bring back trees, consider this. When you bring back a tree as mentioned above you need paper work...and lots of it. You then have to get the tree through homeland security and pray they don't kill it with there inspection. Once thats done the USDA gets a crack at it. They "WILL" try to kill it with there pesticides,fungicides, and proding. Now if you think that your willing to gamble with your 1,000 investment...great! You at that point figure your home free...wrong. The tree then must go into quarantine for about two years. Now you know why imported trees here cost so much. I will never, ever bring one back has a private citizen. I am considering doing it with my business though. You'd think I would have learned ;-)
 

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Tom;

I'm not contradicting anything you say, but how is it that nurseries are able to bring bare root trees in from Japan? I know they don't go through two years of quarantine, though they may go through all the rest and just be really good at managing bureaucracy.

- Greg
 

Graydon

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This has piqued my interest. I have no money to do such import but one can dream - right? I suppose selling organs on the black market to finance this is out.

Here http://www.pps.go.jp/english/jobs/export.html is a link to a japanese government site that mentions bonsai. Scroll to the bottom and it mentions that the 2 year quarantine takes place in Japan. If refers to the EU not the US.

This link http://www.apsnet.org/online/ExoticPest/Papers/kaneko.htm mentions the pine wilt disease and that the source of the pest in to Japan may have been lumber imports from the US (how ironic).

I'm getting tired of searching but that is a start. I'm going to contact a person that I know that imports plants from Japan and get the scoop. I will also contact the Department of Agriculture here in Florida to see what they know, I have an "inside person" to contact to at least get steered in the right direction. I also found one Japan exporter and one China exporter I will contact.
 

Tachigi

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Greg, They do go through quarantine. Your right they do manage and have a advantage over the private Joe when it come to bureaucracy. Once you play the game and develope a relationship with the USDA inspector life gets a little easier, as I am told. I have done some research into importing and talked with some bonsai establishments as to the trials and tribulations. The one thing that gets me though is that there are some species that come from Europe that don't require any of the above....just pop them in the mail and declare them. I will put one caveat on this. I am not familiar with the bare rooting imported trees. Anything that I would want I would not dare bare root for the lenght of time it takes to ship.

Graydon, you'll have to research State and Fed there are two entities involved in this. Generally one backs up the other as far as law goes but not always.
 

Graydon

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Well my first contact did not go so well. Here is the very prompt response from Mr. Nakamizu :

Dear Mr. Graydon Swedberg,

Thank you for the inquiry.
The requirement of importing foreign live plants in your country is very strict, I am afraid.
I would suggest you to check it at the government office first.
First of all you need to get the permit issued by USDA to import our trees.
We bare roots and then we are allowed to ship one to you.
Unfortunately you won't be able to import Pinus thunbergii from us.
Even if you can make it, the survival rate is very low after we bare roots of them, I am
afraid.
Sorry for my writing about so many negative things.
But if the government office allow you to do such things we will be able to go into the
details soon.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards
Yoshihiro Nakamizu


I know there are people importing. I bet those are some tight lipped people at this point. Resources that they have are treated like corporate secrets I can only assume.
 

Tachigi

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Your right Graydon they are....and they are waiting two years for quarrentine and praying they don't die.
Hell NE Bonsai has a load coming out this march that has been in quarrentine.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Here's a few sobering articles:

USDA Bonsai Import Rules too Strict?

In March 2004, Frank Mihalic ran afoul of the United States Department of Agriculture's import restrictions on 'artificially dwarfed plants' when a shipment of 229 bonsai from Asia bound for Wildwood Gardens bonsai nursery in Ohio were destroyed by incineration under quarantine restrictions the USDA put in place to counter the threat of wood boring beetles.

Mihalic documents a loss of nearly $30,000 and filed suit over "bad advice" received from the Ohio State Department of Agriculture inspector's office that recommend he continue following "regulations which have been used in the past," despite the changes in Federal procedures, which now require a two-year quarantine. The state claims it is Milhalic's own responsibility to know the rules.

Meanwhile, Wildwood Gardens is in a fight to stay afloat. The Geauga County nursery was recently given preliminary approval by state and federal regulators to participate in a pilot quarantine program, but it may be too late for the Mihalics, and this loss may be too much for the nursery to bear. The severity of the import restrictions has led to a drop of more than 50% in sales.

"We're struggling ...struggling like hell," Tony Mihalic told a reporter

(Here's a link to the lawsuit brief)


Beetle threat leads to big Tukwila tree-cut plan

Wednesday, June 5, 2002

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TUKWILA -- State officials are considering destroying more than 1,000 fruit and hardwood trees around a Tukwila nursery where five tree-devouring citrus longhorned beetles escaped.

Experts believe getting rid of the trees could help spare the West Coast from a catastrophic infestation that could mean millions of dollars in losses.

John Muth saw one of the beetle invaders 10 months ago at his Tukwila bonsai tree business.

"I knew what it was as soon as I saw it," Muth told The News Tribune of Tacoma. "I was deeply tempted to squish it."

Instead, he trapped it, and alerted authorities.

The state Department of Agriculture wants to cut down most trees within an eighth of a mile of Muth's business, including 30 at the home of Sheila Malbrain. State officials want to act before late July, when as many as 1,000 offspring of the five beetles could chew their way out of tree trunks and scatter.

"Pretty much everything in our whole yard," said Malbrain, who lives across Interstate 5 from the nursery.

"You're talking about giant holes in my yard. It's going to look like Bosnia."

Residents on the far side of the freeway have circulated a petition asking for a two- to four-month delay of tree cutting in their area, meaning it would begin after the infestation's next generation is due to emerge. Bulletlike exit wounds will appear by late next month or early August on trees where beetles hatched and matured.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said in April that the fruit and hardwood product industries could lose $1 billion annually if the beetle roots itself in Washington. Then the infestation would keep spreading, experts said.

"The threat would be to the entire Northwest, California and much of the rest of North America as well," the report said.

"Not being aggressive at this point could result in a very costly and extensive eradication effort later and/or having to live with this very damaging pest."

The beetles have unpredictable egg-laying patterns, according to a panel of experts brought together by the state.

The experts used examples from New York and Illinois, states where the federal government has budgeted $365 million through 2009 in an effort that so far has not been successful in eradicating the Asian longhorned beetle, a slower-spreading cousin of the citrus beetle.
 

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Obtaining an Import Permit
Plant importation is regulated by a unit of the USDA called the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) based in Hyattsville, Maryland. The first step for any prospective plant importer is to write directly to APHIS (Permit Unit, Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Building, Hyattsville, MD 20782), and request an application for a plant import permit. A short form will be sent to you on which you are requested to list the plant material intended for import (genera and/or species; type of material, that is whether rooted or unrooted cuttings, whole plants, etc.). USDA does not charge for obtaining a plant import permit (but see section below on trade in endangered species).
Within a few weeks after sending back a completed application, you will receive a packet from USDA containing the following material:

1) an import permit good for 5 years, after which time it must be renewed
2) five green and yellow mailing stickers imprinted with your permit number and the address of the Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) inspection station nearest to your address ( Table 1 ). These labels are used only with mail shipments of imported plant material.
3) import rules and regulations
4) a list of plants protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
5) a list of plants considered noxious weeds and therefore prohibited from entry
6) one or more lists of plants whose import is prohibited or restricted because of disease and/or insect problems or which must be subjected to monitored postentry quarantine for a period of time
a list of plant genera not subject to postentry quarantine.

Preparing Plant Material for Import
It is important that the person, agency, or business from which you will be receiving material follow certain guidelines in preparing plant material for export to the United States. Failure to comply with these rules may result in the refusal of entry to your plant material.

All plant material must be clean and free of sand, soil, or leafmold. Rooted material must be bareroot ; that is, in general there should be no residue of the medium in which the plant was grown left on the roots. This may be true even if the plants were grown in "sterile" media such as vermiculite or perlite. Certain exceptions are made to this rule and are detailed in the regulations booklet which accompanies your plant import permit. For example, epiphytic orchids established on tree fern slabs, coconut husks or coconut fiber may be imported on this media.

Plants must be packed in approved materials only. Some common approved materials include ground peat, sphagnum, pulp-free vegetable fibers such as coconut (NOTE: sugarcane and cotton are prohibited), osmunda fern, woodwool (excelsior), wood shavings, sawdust, cork, buckwheat hulls, and vermiculite.

Any wrapping or coating on the plant material that interferes with inspection or treatment may cause entry refusal.

Size-age limitations. In general, plants cannot be more than two years of age from propagation. Certain slow-growing genera ( Rhododendron , for example) are allowed a third year. Dwarf or miniature forms of woody plants less than 12 inches tall (measured from the soil line) and bonsai are exempt from this rule. Cactus cuttings may not be over 6 inches in diameter and 4 feet in length. Cacti, cycads, vuccas, agaves, dracaenas, and palms may not be taller than 18 inches measured from the soil line to the furthest terminal growing point. Cane cuttings without leaves, roots, or branches (for example, Dracaena fragrans massangeana ) cannot be over 4 inches in diameter and 6 feet long. Herbaceous perennials shipped in the form of root crowns or clumps cannot be more than 4 inches in diameter.

Certain species from tropical sources must be defoliated before or upon entry.
All material must be labelled to genus, species and variety (if applicable). If scientific names are not available, a well-known English common name may be sufficient.

Invoices. For cargo importations, APHIS requires that a copy of the invoice be filed when entry through Customs is made. Additionally, a packing list must be placed in each container or a copy of the invoice placed in container number one. These invoice copies are in addition to those required by other agencies or individuals (e.g, Customs, a broker, yourself). If the plants are being mailed, one copy of the invoice must be placed inside at least one of the packages. Mark the appropriate package "Invoice Enclosed" where it can be seen easily.

Phytosanitary Certificate. It is essential that imported plant material be certified by the proper plant inspection agency in the country of origin, and a phytosanitary certificate issued. For cargo importations, the original of the phytosanitary certificate must be attached to the Customs entry documentation. A copy of the certificate may also be affixed to each container. If importing by mail, the original certificate must be enclosed in one of the packages, and a copy attached to the outside of each.

Importing Methods

Importing by mail. Plants may be sent to the United States by letter post, parcel post, air parcel post, and other classes of mail. Unlike some other means of shipment, a bonded carrier (broker) is not needed to deliver the material to an APHIS inspection center. Overall, mail shipment does provide for a less complicated movement of the material from its point of origin to its final destination, but it can be very costly for large shipments. Reliability and other characteristics of air parcel post may differ from country to country. For example, some types of air parcel post revert to surface transport as soon as the material arrives in the United States; other types maintain air movement of the material all the way to its final destination. It is best to consult your foreign exporter as to the best class of mail shipment to use. Letter rate airmail (air all the way from point of origin to destination) may be useful for small packages of valuable cuttings or seed. Even for larger shipments, the cost for letter rate airmail may be competitive with air express freight. Parcels sent letter-rate airmail should be marked: "This parcel may be open for inspection."
All mail shipments require the use of the yellow and green mailing label received with your permit. One of these labels must appear on each parcel of plant materials sent through the mail. Sufficient numbers of these labels should be supplied by you to your foreign shipper. Instructions for their use are printed on the reverse of each. Upon request, APHIS will send you French, German and Spanish versions of the instructions.

It is imperative that a conspicuous piece of paper with your name, address, telephone number, and permit number printed on it be enclosed in each parcel. DO NOT instruct your shipper to put this information on the outside of the package.

Mail shipments of plant materials will be inspected at the first U. S. port of arrival with an inspection station through which they pass, regardless of the address on the green and yellow label. After clearance at the USDA/APHIS inspection station, shipments are returned to the mail (no additional postage is needed). If the value of the shipment is less than $250, Customs duty (if any) will be collected at the post office near you. If the value of the material is more than $250, it will be routed to the Customs port nearest you, and formal entry must be made by you or your designated agent (broker). Customs will notify you of the shipment's arrival.

Shipments other than mail (cargo, air express, freight) . Shipments received by any means other than mail MUST clear Customs, regardless of the shipments' value. The importer or the importer's agent (broker) is responsible both for arranging delivery to an inspection station and forwarding to the final destination after inspection. Plant inspection agents do not have authority to act as a Customs broker. Each container of plant material must be numbered, labeled as to contents (type and quantity) and country of origin, and addressed as shown in Figure 1 .

Baggage entries. For small quantities of plant material collected or purchased personally in a foreign country, it may be cost effective for you to bring them into the country as part of your baggage. At present, APHIS does not require that a broker's services be contracted for a single small box of plant material imported as personal baggage. As you move through Customs, inform the agent that you have living plants and require the services of an agricultural inspection agent. You should have a copy of your import permit with you. Remember that PPQ Inspection Stations are generally open only during normal working hours, and that the box of material will have to be left for inspection if the time of your arrival is during off hours. Be sure that your permit number appears on the box, and your name, address and phone number is enclosed. APHIS will generally handle the transportation to an inspection station of a single box of plant material brought in as baggage. However, two or more containers must be transported to the station by a bonded carrier (broker). Once inspected, any forwarding costs to the final destination are the importer's (or authorized agent's) responsibility. For a single box of material, some PPQ stations will be willing to forward the container by one of several cash-on-delivery (C.O.D.) options.

Meeting Custom Requirements
Arrangements with a Customs broker or similar authorized agent should be prepared well in advance of the shipment's arrival date. Date and time of arrival, flight number or ship name, invoice and permit number, type of Customs entry, and all instructions for forwarding the material should be provided to the broker. Labor is usually necessary for handling cargo or freight shipments. Packing and unpacking, moving containers to and from the inspection station, and other labor ARE NOT the responsibility of either Customs officials or Plant Quarantine and Inspection Agents. Labor and associated material costs must be paid by the importer and are generally handled as part of the broker's contract.
Types of Customs entries . Plant material entering the country by means other than the mails are usually subject to one of three different types of Customs procedures. These are:

Informal entry. If the port of arrival is the same as the authorized port of APHIS/PPQ inspection and the shipment is worth less than $250, informal entry can be used. The Customs duty is paid by cash or check directly to the Customs inspector.

Duty Paid entry. Duty is paid by cash or check with any additional duties covered by bond. If the port of arrival is not the same as the port of APHIS/PPQ clearance, the cargo must move under a Customs Special Manifest to the authorized port.

Immediate Transportation (IT) entry. This is the most costly type of entry because the services of a broker are required twice. The broker makes the entry and handles inspection followed by transportation to the port of destination without paying Customs duties. Duties are not paid until the shipment enters the Customs port closest to the cargo's destination (either Duty Paid or Informal type entry), for which a broker must again be contracted. It may sometimes be necessary to use this type of entry if the initial port of arrival is very distant from the authorized port of entry.

Plant Inspection
The purpose of plant inspection is to prevent the introduction of disease and insect pests into the United States. Imported plant material will be checked for evidence of pathogen infection or pest infestation. Treatments that will be used on suspect material will be those considered most effective and least likely to cause injury to the material. The cleaner the material, the greater the odds that it will pass inspection without any treatment. The most common treatment used is methyl bromide fumigation under vacuum. A wide range of plant material has passed through this process with little or no injury, but some losses may occur. The amount of time that the shipment will remain at the inspection station varies with both the quality of the material (poorly cleaned plants will receive greater scrutiny), the size of the shipment, and the amount of parcel traffic moving through the station at that time. Inspection may require as much as 10 days, or as little as one. The best way to facilitate rapid turnover of your shipment is to ensure that the plant material is healthy, clean, and free of pests and diseases. If major problems with your material are discovered, you or your agent will be contacted quickly.

Importation of Endangered Species In accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a treaty signed by the United States and many foreign nations, special documentation must accompany shipments of certain plants named as "protected" by this convention. Documentation required by CITES is in addition to that required under previously discussed USDA plant protection and quarantine regulations. If CITES plant material arrives in the United States without proper documentation, it is promptly confiscated.
Plant species are listed in the convention as either Appendix I, II, or III, and, depending on this designation, different types of regulations apply.

Appendix I. Plants designated as Appendix I and intended for import into the United States must have a special import permit issued by the Wildlife Permit Office (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, 1000 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203). The importer must also obtain an export permit or export certificate from the country of origin. Both must be presented at the time of entry of the plant material into the United States. Appendix I regulations apply to any plant part of designated species, including cut flowers and seeds. Appendix I plants include species of orchids, cacti and other succulents, cycads, and some palms.

Appendices II and III. No special import permit from the Wildife Permit Office is needed for plants listed as Appendices II and III. However, an export permit, export or re-export certificate from the country of origin is required. To find out the appropriate foreign agency from which the required documentation can be obtained, write or call the Wildlife Permit Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, 1000 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 235-1903. All orchids, with the exception of species classed Appendix I, are designated as Appendix II, as are all non-Appendix I species of cactus. Seeds and spores of Appendix II plants (except cycads), and cut flowers of nursery propagated Appendix II orchids are exempt from CITES regulations. Several other exemptions apply, and are described in the literature on CITES which the USDA mails to holders of plant import permits.

General Permit to Engage in Business. If CITES plant material is being imported for resale or some other type of business use, you must obtain a General Permit to Engage in Business from APHIS (PPQ-APHIS-USDA, Regulatory Services Staff, Room 638, Federal Building, Hyattsville, MD 20782). This special permit costs $70 and must be accompanied by a completed PPQ Form 621. If you intend to import CITES material for business purposes, request Form 621 when first writing to APHIS for the import permit application. Hobbyist collectors of Appendix I, II, or III plant material do not require the General Permit to Engage in Business.

Postentry Quarantine Certain plant material can only be imported if grown under postentry quarantine for a specified period of time and at a specified location. A special postentry quarantine agreement form must first be filed with the PPQ before such material can be imported. This form is available from APHIS in Hyattsville, Maryland and also from local PPQ offices. Items under postentry quarantine are kept at prescribed distances from any other plant material and are regularly inspected by an agent of the PPQ. Many temperate and tropical fruit crops are subjected to postentry quarantine. A full listing and compliance regulations are detailed in the packet which accompanies issue of a plant import permit.

Table 1. Ports of entry with PPQ plant insection stations.
New York (John F. Kennedy International Airport and Hoboken, New Jersey)
Miami, Florida
Orlando, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
Brownsville, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Laredo, Texas
Nogales, Arizona
San Diego (San Ysidro), California
Los Angeles (Inglewood), California
Seattle, Washington
Honolulu, Hawaii
San Juan, Puerto Rico
 

Graydon

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Thanks BonsaiNut! I do think all of that information will cause my head to explode.
 

Tachigi

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LOL Graydon... And that is just the Fed....I would bet Florida agriculture has a list twice as long.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Sounds like you need to apply to get all the paperwork (with species lists, etc). Wonder why you can't just get the paperwork off the site. It also appears that pines specifically are an issue - due to pine boring beetles that are ravaging some parts of the U.S.

Heck - just taking a bonsai through Inglewood, CA would be enough to kill it let alone bare-rooting :)
 

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