The development pressures on open space in our cities, both public and private, are becoming extreme. High quality open space can be an expensive venture, with money easily spent in beautifying even the smallest of spaces. To get the basic building block right in the first place, and in an effort to improve the quality of trees used in the built environment, Standards Australia has worked to develop AS 2303:2018, Tree stock for landscape use, which seeks to outline the best practice requirements for trees being used for landscape purposes.
Fault free trees
This standard aims to simplify the specification selection of tree stock, and to describe the preferred above and below ground characteristics in determining quality tree stock for landscape use. In doing so, highlighting critical factors impacting the quality of a tree. Importantly, the presence of any faults at the time of planting can significantly impact the life span of the tree and the resources required to establish the tree if used for landscaping purposes.
Such a priority is placed on getting the tree stock right in the initial stages of landscaping that this standard covers only the stock quality aspect of the entire landscaping process. Put simply,
selecting the tree based on quality is the vital first step of a successful overall landscaping process.
As is the case with all Australian Standards, before they are developed there must be a clear case of net benefit to the Australian community. There are a number of criteria to be met, however, when examining this standard it is the substantial economic and environmental benefits which have led to its development.
As this standard seeks to aid in managing the quality of tree stock for landscape use, the possible faults in some trees are intended to be caught earlier, at dispatch. This early intervention in the process translates to less problems with the tree in its establishment and nurturing it as part of the overall built landscaping. Therefore,
the economic benefit of this standard is proved with the resulting lower utility bills and less maintenance costs as a result of early intervention.
The environmental benefits emanating from this standard come in a very similar form to that of the economic benefits, in that if the tree being utilised in a landscape venture is established properly and without fault there is likely to be less wastage. Ultimately, growing the best tree in the correct manner the first time is ideal and is exactly what this standard aims to facilitate.
While this standard seeks to provide suppliers and purchasers of tree stock with a method to identify quality trees for landscaping, this is just the first part of the process and should be combined with a well-designed landscape, good selection of species, correct planting technique and ongoing maintenance. Despites its involvement only in the early stages of landscaping, this standard proves its benefit to the community in its guidance for consumers on how to go about selecting the best tree stock for planting in the built landscape.
This case study is available in PDF format.