Twice each year a group of arborists meet to discuss the practice of arboriculture. These are your peers and represent large utility companies, small businesses, and public entities. These hardworking volunteers are collectively known as the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) A300.
The committee develops consensus based on current research and practices that cover ten aspects of tree care. Each standard is meant to aid in establishing standards and written specifications for performing tree care assignments. The current A300 covers:
Part 1 - Pruning
Part 2 – Soil Management
Part 3 – Supplemental Support Systems
Part 4 – Lightning Protection Systems
Part 5 – Construction Management
Part 6 – Planting and Transplanting
Part 7 – Integrated Vegetation Management
Part 8 - Root Management Standard
Part 9 – Tree Risk Assessment
Part 10 - IPM
Prior to 1991 there was no industry consensus. Various organizations and individual arborists created their own standards and recommendations depending on where and how they practiced tree care. Since the formation of the ASC A300, each part is reviewed, revised and republished approximately every five years.
An important part of the process is given to public review and comment. Currently under review is Part 5 - management of trees and shrubs during construction. It is being revised significantly, with attention being given to adhering to local regulations and creating uniform procedures found in companion A300 subjects. These revisions were open to public review between December 7, 2018 and January 21st, 2019.
Have you taken the opportunity to review the standard and make comments or suggestions about how it can be improved? Because it is a significant revision, it is likely that the A300 committee will revise the standard and call for another period of public review later this year. The revised Part 5 should be completed and available for purchase by the end of 2019.
It is imperative that you know A300 standard. These documents are the basis for professionalism in arboriculture. They are the means by which we know, understand, and support the vast field of arboriculture. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to memorize the Integrated Vegetation Management (Part 7) standard if you are not involved in ROW issues, but you should be familiar with it.
Perhaps you are a part of a commercial tree crew? Which of the standards would you need to know most? Start with Part 1 (Pruning), but also be familiar with Part 3 (Supplemental Support Systems) and Part 6 (Planting and Transplanting). Are you a municipal arborist? You’ll probably also want to know well Parts 5, 8, and 9 (Construction Management, Root Management, and Tree Risk Assessment). Are you a consultant? You had better be familiar with all of them.
A final thought - the ANSI A300 is a standard built on industry consensus. If you feel it is wrong you had better have good reasons for not following it and be able to document why and how it should be better. The standard gets better when we all take a part in its development.
A300 is administered by TCIA. Visit the TCIA website to view the current projects list.