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ANSI A300 Standards for the Tree Care Industry Parts 4-6: Lightning Protection Systems, Management of Trees and Shrubs During Site Development, and Planting and Transplanting

The tree care industry has its own set of voluntary consensus standards called the ANSI A300 standards. They are generally accepted to be the industry standards for tree care practices. Each of the A300 standards are developed by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), an ANSI-accredited Developing Organization (SDO), and written by a committee called the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) A300, a group comprised of industry representatives.

The ANSI A300 standards are divided into nine parts, each focused on a particular aspect of tree care. This article examines parts four through six, which focus on lightning protection systems, management of trees and shrubs during site development, and planting and transplanting.

ANSI A300 Standards (Part 4) – Lightning Protection Systems

Part 4 of the A300 standards addresses the installation and maintenance of lightning protection systems in trees. The objective of a lightning protection system is to provide a conduit through which an electrical charge may pass before being discharged into the ground. This helps reduce the risk of damage to trees from lightning strikes.

This part of the A300 standards describes the tools, materials, and equipment used for installations, including conductors, ground terminals, connectors, and fasteners. It also provides several recommended installation practices.

The A300 Lightning Protection Systems standards recognize three basic ground systems:

  • Simple Ground Rod: A ground terminal comprised of a single ground rod.
  • Multiple Ground System: A ground terminal consisting of two or more ground rods or copper ground plates.
  • Horizontal Ground System: A ground terminal composed of one or more grounds or copper ground plates that are not fully driven or installed in the ground due to site conditions.

Additional Notes:

  • A lightning protection system can prevent damage to trees from lightning strikes, but it will not provide the same security to any neighboring buildings, structures, or property.
  • Trees with trunks within ten feet of a structure, or with branches that extend to a height above the structure, should be equipped with a lightning protection system.
  • Trees of historical interest, tall trees in recreational areas, isolated trees, and shade trees within ten feet of a building would also benefit from a lightning protection system. These types of trees have an increased susceptibility to lightning strikes, and can find themselves subject to fire related injuries, rupturing, or superheating of the moisture within the tree.
  • Trees with a lightning protection system installed may be still be struck by lightning. As such, they should not be considered shelter from lightning storms.

ANSI A300 Standards (Part 5) – Management of Trees and Shrubs During Site Planning, Site Development, and Construction

Part five of the A300 standards recognizes that trees and shrubs offer numerous benefits. When properly maintained, their aesthetic qualities can enhance the value and appearance of a property. Their functional qualities are even more important. Healthy trees and shrubs contribute to the environment, absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen. This part of the A300 standards takes that into consideration. It focuses on the conservation of trees and shrubs during site planning, site development, and construction.

Part five of the A300 standards addresses the following items:

  • Conservation of trees and shrubs during the various phases of development and construction, including:

         – Project planning phase

         – Project design phase

         – Pre-construction phase

         – Construction phase

         – Landscape phase

         – Post-construction phase

  • Tree resource evaluation.
  • Practices to ensure the protection of trees prior to and during demolition, construction, and     landscaping.
  • Implementation of tree conservation recommendations.
  • Soil fill application.
  • Utilization of barriers.
  • Safe demolition practices.
  • Proper disposal of building waste.
  • Excavation and trenching procedures.
  • Pavement procedures.
  • Managing utilities.
  • Management report information.

ANSI A300 Standards (Part 6) – Planting and Transplanting

Part 6 of the A300 standards focuses on planting and transplanting of trees, shrubs, palms, and other woody plants.

This part addresses the following items:

  • Plant and site inspection.
  • Timing of planting or transplanting.
  • Root ball size.
  • Extraction of trees and shrubs.
  • Transplanting procedures.
  • Lifting plants.
  • Moving and storing plants.
  • Digging the planting hole.
  • Determining the depth of the planting hole.
  • Planting woody plants.
  • Planting container stock.
  • Specific palm planting standards.
  • Backfilling.
  • Post-planting care.

The A300 transplanting standards recognize four basic transplanting methods:

  • Balled and Wrapped: A method for root protection in which the plants is harvested along with the soil immediately surrounding the roots. The ball of soil containing the roots is then bound and wrapped for transportation.
  • Bare Root: This method removes the soil or growing medium from the plant.
  • Boxed: This method includes digging a trench, constructing and installing a box around the roots, and then using the box to lift, transport, and install the landscape plant.
  • Tree Spade: An extraction method in which a tree spade is used to transplant a large tree.

Additional Notes:

  • According to the A300 standards on planting and transplanting, the correct planting depth of a tree is determined by locating the trunk flare, and ensuring that it remains at finish grade upon completion of the planting operation.

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