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How Does Your Garden Grow? Standards Aid in Backyard Beauty This Spring

Temperatures are rising as spring gets into full swing, and as a result Americans are spending more time on their porches and in their backyards. With standards in place for gardening supplies and tools, lawns, shrubs, and flowerbeds will soon be at their blooming brightest to beautify outdoor activities at homes across the country.

Maintaining a tidy lawn involves a bit of hard work each week with the mower. Whether dear old dad or a neighborhood teen gets the job done, safety is assured thanks to an American National Standard developed by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). ANSI B71.1-2003, Outdoor Power Equipment - Walk-Behind Mowers and Ride-On Machines with Mowers - Safety Specifications, applies to equipment that is specifically intended for consumer use. OPEI is a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Regular maintenance is also necessary to keep shrubs and hedges surrounding the house and property in line. ISO 10517:2009, Powered hand-held hedge trimmers - Safety, was released by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to assure the safe use of these garden tools. This standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 23, Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry, Subcommittee (SC) 13, Powered lawn and garden equipment. ANSI is the secretariat for this SC, and Peter Tetteroo acts as chairperson. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, leads the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for TC 23, and OPEI leads the U.S. TAG for SC 13.

Green lawns and hedges are a great base for a yard, but flower gardens bring in some much-needed color. ASTM D5539-94(2008), Standard Specification for Seed Starter Mix, supports the beginnings of new flower beds, covering the material characteristics, physical requirements, and sampling for seed starter mixes. This guideline was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

With Memorial Day picnics, Fourth of July barbecues, and lazy summer evenings approaching, gardeners with thumbs of any color can create beautiful outdoor settings thanks to standards.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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