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What does certification mean?

Certification means that the plant material has a been subjected to a comprehensive process established, authorized and performed by a state or other governmental entity to minimize the occurrence of regulated pests and diseases in planting stock. State level certification focuses on testing for graft transmissible or systemic pathogens such as viruses at multiple production levels, from nursery mother blocks to increase blocks to the production plants sold to growers and end-users.


Why is certification important?

Certification is vital for reducing the introduction and spread of viruses and virus-like organisms into orchard systems. The easiest way to spread a virus is to propagate and distribute it in planting stock. State certification programs aim to prevent this by ensuring that nurseries begin with virus-tested budwood of a given variety and, through scouting, testing, and traceability from mother stock to plants sold, provide an assurance to end-users that the material they are buying is free of harmful pathogens. Also, the source can be traced, and affected customers can be notified if problems occur. Certification is also essential for interstate and international plant trade for the same reason: an assurance that the material is not infected with harmful pathogens. Five states have tree fruit and nut certification programs: California, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.


Common features of the programs:

  • Participation is voluntary

  • Registered blocks and foundations are visually inspected and tested for each state’s significant tree fruit and nut pathogens.

  • Traceability of propagative material from mother blocks to increase blocks to production plants and the source of rootstocks used at each level.

  • Isolation requirements from commercial plantings

  • Plant identity (true-to-type) requirements


State Certification Programs

The California Fruit and Nut Tree Registration and Certification Program from the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture.


The New York State Virus-Tested Certification Program from the New York State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets.


The Oregon Fruit Tree Virus Certification Program from the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture.


The Fruit Tree Improvement Program from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture.

The Fruit Tree Planting Stock Certification Program from Washington State Dept. of Agriculture.

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