By Ginseng Harvesters and Collectors
- When can I harvest ginseng? Harvest season begins September 1st and ends December 1st.
- When can I harvest ginseng on my private property? Only during established legal harvest, under Kentucky regulation. Currently, that is September 1 - December 1 per calendar year.
- Can I harvest ginseng on my own private property any time of the year? No. You can only legally harvest ginseng during established harvest season. This is set under Kentucky regulation. Currently, that is September 1 - December 31 per calendar year.
- Do I need a permit to dig ginseng? Not currently, on private property, but you should ask permission of the property owner prior to harvesting, if you are not the landowner.
- Harvesting on state property, including state parks is not allowed.
- Harvesting in all federal management areas is not allowed. In the past the exception was for the Daniel Boone National Forest. In 2017, the DBNF will not be issuing ginseng harvest permits.
- Daniel Boone National Forest Ginseng Fact Sheet
- What size of plant can I harvest? Plants must be at least 5 years old and have 3 prongs with 5 leaflets on each prong.. This is the minimum legal age. The market prefers roots that are 10 years and older. Any berries present must be planted within 50 feet of the harvested root with no tool other than your finger.
- How much is ginseng selling for? You will need to contact dealers directly to find out the current market value. We do not provide price reporting.
- When can I sell my ginseng? You can sell fresh, green ginseng on September 1. Dry ginseng can be sold from September 15-March 31 to licensed Kentucky dealers.
- Can I export my ginseng out of Kentucky? No, not as a digger/collector/harvester of ginseng. Only Kentucky licensed dealers can legally export ginseng out of Kentucky, and it must accompanied by appropriate documents.
- Diggers, this includes mailing your ginseng to an out-of-state dealer, leaving the state post-harvest (out-of-state residents), or to meet with an out-of-state dealer by vehicle! Kentucky ginseng can not legally leave the borders of Kentucky without an export certificated issued by our agency.
Can I sell my Kentucky ginseng on an auction site, such as E-bay? Yes, but you first must be a licensed Kentucky dealer. Then, you will need to have an Export Certificate for each lot. Lots are built based on the Purchase Form information. The maximum number of lots per Purchase Form is 10; one for each line on the Purchase Record.
- Export/American Ginseng Stewardship Brochure from the American Herbal Products Association (pdf)
- US Fish and Wildlife - American Ginseng
- Export of American Ginseng Permit Application Form
- United State Department of Agriculture - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Export
Review these links/publications for more information:
If your questions are not related to Kentucky ginseng, please contact the coordinator for the state you have questions regarding. Our offices can only answer questions regarding ginseng originating from Kentucky. See either the American Ginseng Stewardship brochure for your state or a list of state agencies under our additional reading page to find your state contact.
By Property Owners
Do a need a permit to grow ginseng? No, but you do need to follow the rules and regulations regarding ginseng harvest for Kentucky. This is the same regardless of the growing method.
Anything special I need to do to grow ginseng? Document any populations you have on your property prior to planting ginseng or managing the ginseng you currently have. Record this information as well as any seeds your plant as to location and source, along with receipts, with your property records and/or deed. This way, you can document what was on your property and what you've done to manage the ginseng. Also make sure your property line is clearly marked and fence rows are in good repair.
- Kentucky Ginseng Dealers
- Kentucky Ginseng Diggers, Harvesters
- Additional Reading
- Frequently Asked Question
Licensing and Laws