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Receive unexpected seed mail? Don’t plant

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Receiving a package of seeds or plants is an exciting event for gardening enthusiasts, who can hardly wait to get them in the ground.

But if you receive a package of seeds you didn’t order, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) suggests you not plant them.

Michael Wallace, director of communications for VDACS, says the agency has been receiving reports of residents of Virginia and other states receiving packages of unsolicited seeds that appear to have originated in China.

Wallace says the packages appear to have Chinese writing on them, but the types of seeds they contain are unknown at present. VDACS is concerned the seeds could be an invasive plant species that may be difficult to control if planted.

“Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops,” Wallace said. “Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.”

He encourages anyone who receives a package of unsolicited seeds that appears to have Chinese writing on it to leave the seed package sealed. The agency requests the recipient place the seed package and related packaging in a Ziplock bag and file a report online with VDACS Office of Plant Industry Services via ReportAPest@vdacs.virginia.gov.

Once the report is received, VDACS will send further instructions to the resident on what to do with the seeds and packaging.

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