ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Planting the Seed: Standards Give Your Garden a Boost This Spring

New York, Apr 30, 2014

As spring finally takes hold, the nation’s gardening enthusiasts have been getting to work, making sure that everything is set for another year of blooming flowers and fresh-grown vegetables. And while putting your green space in order can take a lot of time and effort, voluntary consensus standards pitch in to support safe and effective gardening and landscaping.

Though some gardeners are lucky enough to live on land that is rich with nitrogen and other essential nutrients, most people find that supplementing their soil with fertilizer helps flowers and vegetables to look – and taste – their best. One important ingredient in many organic fertilizers is animal manure, which naturally includes a number of important nutrients. ANSI/ASABE S607 OCT2010, Ventilating Manure Storages to Reduce Entry Risk, provides safety specifications for manure storage, including forced ventilation requirements, air exchange rates, and other precautions that keep these facilities from posing a threat to workers and others. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and accredited standards developer, was responsible for the development of this American National Standard. Another standard, this one developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International, provides guidance regarding inorganic soil containing a limited amount of organic material, which can be used to correct pH levels in the growing soil, an important factor in plant growth. ASTM D5268-13, Standard Specification for Topsoil Used for Landscaping Purposes, sets down physical evaluation guidance for the use of this type of soil.

Weeding, pruning, and other maintenance are ongoing efforts for most home gardeners, and two standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provide assistance. ISO 4197:1989, Equipment for working the soil -- Hoe blades -- Fixing dimensions, provides information on the metal blades used in garden hoes. This International Standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 23, Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry. Another International Standard, ISO 10517:2009, Powered hand-held hedge trimmers - Safety, provides safety requirements for the use of gasoline-powered hedge clippers used for bush and hedge trimming. ISO 10517 was developed by ISO TC 23 Subcommittee (SC) 13, Powered lawn and garden equipment. The U.S. plays a leading role in SC 13, with ANSI holding the body’s secretariat. ASABE serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to ISO TC 23, while the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an ANSI-accredited standards developer and organizational member, serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to SC 13.

While gardening can be a calming, satisfying way to spend a Saturday afternoon, the many tools and devices that help make modern landscaping easier also pose safety risks if proper precautions aren’t taken. Thankfully, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has put together a standard that provides comprehensive safety guidance related to the removal, repair, and maintenance of trees. This American National Standard, ANSI Z133-2012, Standard for Arboricultural Operations - Safety Requirements, covers general safety as well as risks associated with the use of vehicles, portable power tools, ladders, and hand tools, among other hazards. Another American National Standard, this one developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), provides guidance on a different aspect of tree care, namely the planting and transplanting of trees. ANSI A300 (Part 6)-2012, Planting and Transplanting, covers the four basic methods of tree transplanting – balled and wrapped, bare root, boxed, and tree spade – and includes important guidelines concerning inspection of a potential transplant site and other elements of the planting and transplanting process.

Whether gardening is your passion or you just need to manage your unruly lawn, standards are there to support the products and technologies that keep these activities safe and productive.

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