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On Arbor Day, Standards Help Trees Grow Tall

New York, Apr 27, 2007

From the tree of knowledge to the tree of life, trees have appeared in religion and cultural lore as symbols of immortality and fertility. Indeed, they have been essential to human industry and life, providing building materials, fuel, and fire, not to mention shade, shelter, and natural beauty.

Observed on the last Friday of April, National Arbor Day encourages the planting of trees and celebrates their contributions to a healthy environment. Trees are a vital component of the natural landscape, as they moderate ground temperatures and help to prevent erosion. They also play an important role in oxygenation and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, tree death shortly after planting or transplanting can be a serious problem for consumers. In fact, recent reports indicate that failure rates typically range from 25 to 50 percent.

“The success of transplanting large trees is dependent on many factors, e.g., size, species, age, health, soil conditions, timing, size of root ball and pre- and post-treatment,” explained Bruce Hagen, urban forester for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Until recently, there was no industry standard to help landscape and tree care companies follow proper practices, leaving consumers with no way of knowing what went wrong when a newly-planted tree died. To help ensure that critical procedures and treatments are applied, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) developed ANSI A300 Part 6, Transplanting. The first approved American National Standard for transplanting trees, the document includes sections on preparation and follow-up care, helping arborists and plant maintenance managers write accurate work specifications that follow accepted tree care industry practices.

“The standards also provide consumer protection,” said Bob Rouse, secretary of ANSI A300 standards for TCIA. “Consumers only need to make sure work proposals or contracts state that planting and transplanting will be done according to ANSI A300 standards and that the proposal provides specifications.”

There are currently six documents in the ANSI A300 series covering pruning, cabling and bracing, tree fertilization, lightning protection, management of trees and shrubs, and transplanting. A seventh document on integrated vegetation management is in the works.

According to TCIA, consumers should ask that work estimates, proposals, and contracts state that planting and transplanting will be done according to A300 standards. By doing so, consumers will know exactly what work the company is proposing, and will have a means of comparing estimates from competing companies.

For further information on tree care and hiring professional help, please visit the media tips and case studies section of ANSI Online.

ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel