ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Growing Green: Standards Support National Gardening Month

New York, Apr 11, 2007

Across the United States, nearly twenty million acres of lawns provide a soft landing for children at play, a natural blanket for afternoon picnics, and a treasure trove for home gardeners. As garden enthusiasts gear up for another season of pruning and planting, mowing and mulching, April—as National Gardening Month—serves as a reminder of the importance of taking proper care of our lawns and gardens. Voluntary standards lend a helping hand to green thumbs and amateurs alike.

One of the most important ingredients for a healthy garden is rooted in the soil itself. Correct pH levels, as well as the presence of appropriate nutrients, are key to hale and hearty plant growth. Nutrient deficiencies can be corrected using organic or inorganic fertilizers. ASTM D5268-02, Standard Specification for Topsoil Used for Landscaping Purposes, covers the physical evaluation of inorganic soil containing a limited amount of organic material relative to its use as topsoil for landscaping. The standard was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer ASTM International.

Whether you tend a small urban yard or sprawling lawn, mowing is one of the most fundamental components of proper lawn care. Unfortunately, mowers account for the highest number of garden-related injuries, sending an estimated 84,000 people to emergency rooms each year. An American National Standard developed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) aims to reduce the hazards associated with these machines, detailing safety requirements for walk-behind and ride-on mowers. ANSI B71.1, Outdoor Power Equipment - Walk-Behind Mowers and Ride-On Machines with Mowers - Safety Specifications, is designed to ensure uniform operator environments among mowers intended as consumer products and addresses reel and rotary walk-behind and ride-on power lawn mowers, ride-on power lawn and garden tractors with mower attachments, and lever steer ride-on mowers.

For taming unruly hedges, shrubs, and bushes, another OPEI standard, ANSI B175.3-2003, Outdoor Power Equipment - Grass Trimmers and Brushcutters - Safety Requirements, comes to the gardener’s aid. This standard describes minimum requirements to reduce injuries relating to portable, hand-supported, gasoline-powered grass trimmers and brushcutters.

While outdoor power tools help home gardeners to create well-manicured landscapes in short order, they can also compete with birdsong and other natural sounds. To assist manufacturers of gardening appliances and other electric power tools in measuring the airborne sounds produced by their products, the Acoustical Society of America developed ANSI S12.15-1992 (R2002), American National Standard for Acoustics, Portable Electric Power Tools, Stationary and Fixed Electric Power Tools, and Gardening Appliances - Measurement of Sound Emitted. This American National Standard outlines test methods for determining sound pressure and power levels.

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