Update on the Development of the National Tree Stock Standard AS2303

Hobart Skyline

View of Hobart Skyline

On 17 November 2013, the two month public consultation on the draft AS2303 Tree Stock for Landscape Use closed. Over 180 comments were received, ranging from ‘I fundamentally disagree with this Standard – The process of its inception, development and proposed implementation has not been inclusive’ through to ‘This document is a positive step for the industry and is a valuable tool’.

In early December, the Standards Australia Committee responsible for developing the draft (referred to as EV18) considered these comments and incorporated as much of the feedback, where possible, into a revised draft. Some of the key changes that were incorporated into the revised draft include:

  1. Size Index – has been drafted as a should criteria and informative only (i.e. not mandatory in terms of a pass/fail). However, it shall be recorded at dispatch for guidance purposes.
  2. Self-supporting nature of trees – has been drafted as a should criteria and informative only (i.e. not mandatory in terms of a pass/fail). However the self-supporting nature of a consignment of trees shall be recorded at dispatch for guidance purposes. A revised definition of self-supporting has been developed to clarify what self-supporting is.
  3. Included bark – should not be present, however presence of included bark shall be recorded at dispatch for guidance purposes. Again, this is a should criteria and informative only (i.e. not mandatory in terms of a pass/fail).
  4. Excurrent and decurrent terminology removed altogether from standard. Whole section on stem structure clarified and refined.
  5. All tables relating to ‘exempt tree species’ with regards to self-supporting, included bark and excurrent/decurrent have been omitted from the draft for clarity.
  6. Destructive dispatch testing is optional and based on risk (i.e. not necessary pending preliminary assessment of other parameters).
  7. Acceptance that nursery accreditation programs/QA programs that assess process/procedures can be used instead of a checklist for every consignment.

It is envisaged that a second round of public consultation will begin on 9 February 2014 and end on 21 March 2014. If there is negligible feedback during this round of consultation, the draft will progress through to publication which is anticipated for June 2014. Anthony will be presenting on the tree standard at the 18 February 2014 Tree and Shrubbies Meeting at Mt William Advanced Tree Nursery and on 24 February 2014 at the Landscape Association NSW and ACT in Parramatta.

Presuming all things progress forward, NGIA will also look to develop some guidelines for tree growers to sit alongside the Standard. NGIA is also looking to develop an independent auditing module in relation to point seven above. Contact Anthony Kachenko for further updates on the development of AS2303 Tree Stock for Landscape Use on anthony.kachenko@ngia.com.au or 02 8861 5106.