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Extension: Don't Plant Seeds You Didn't Order
Missouri Ag Connection - 07/29/2020

University of Missouri Extension horticulturists are asking the public to report unsolicited seed deliveries.

MU Extension horticulturist Robert Balek notes that there have been reports from around the country of people receiving small padded envelopes of seed that they did not order. The seeds appear to originate from China.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (www.aphis.usda.gov(opens in new window)) and other state and federal agencies have issued alerts.

Don't plant seeds from unknown sources, Balek warns. The seeds could introduce invasive species, pests, diseases, viruses and bacteria that could harm native plants, insects, crops and livestock.

Some social media posts suggest that the shipments are part of a "brushing" campaign, a technique used to boost an e-commerce seller's ratings through fake orders.

If you receive one of these shipments, Balek recommends the following:

- Do not open the package.

- Do not plant the seeds.

- Do not put the seeds in the trash.

- Place them in a sealed plastic bag and deliver the packet to your local MU Extension center or the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Include original packaging when possible. Contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Plant Industries Division at 573-751-2462 or aginfo@mda.mo.gov(opens in new window).

- Buy seeds and plants from reputable companies.

Gardeners with questions can contact their regional MU Extension horticulture specialist, email Balek at balekr@missouri.edu(opens in new window), or visit the Ask a Missouri Master Gardener Facebook page at facebook.com/AskaMissouriMasterGardener(opens in new window).

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