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Evaluation of nursery tree stock balance parameters (NY15001)

Key research provider: Western Sydney University
Publication date: Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What’s it all about?

Ensuring out-planted nursery trees have a high potential survival rate requires a balanced root and shoot system prior to dispatch. Originally running from mid-2015 to mid-2017, this project investigated how species differences and climatic conditions in different Australian production regions can affect this balance in tree stock. The researchers collected a host of data in relation to root-to-shoot balance, via size index, in tree stock across the country.

Looking at more than 13,800 trees from 23 nurseries, the project revealed that landscape trees had a much greater variation in size index than the current Australian Standard (AS2303:2015 Tree Stock for Landscape Use) allowed for. This could mean that people selecting trees may have been rejecting some that would actually be fit for purpose.

The findings from this research were used to inform a submission for a revision of AS2303:2015, which Standards Australia accepted. The new standard was released as AS2303:2018 in December 2018, and is available for purchase via the Standards Australia website here.

Following the conclusion of the research component of the project in mid-2017, this investment was extended to allow the delivery of an industry engagement program. This program was tasked with communicating the research findings back to growers and helping in the adoption of the relatively new nationwide quality assessment standard for nursery-grown trees for landscape use. It included a national roadshow of events, and the development of grower-friendly guidelines relating to the standard.

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