Tree Stock Standard Project: A Better Way To Assess The Quality Of Australian Trees


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After successfully completing the research phase of the Tree Stock Standard project, the research revealed that the currently-adopted quality standard AS2303:2015 does not accurately reflect the size index parameters of landscape trees in Australian nurseries. Data collected on this research project was used to improve the new AS2303:2018 to be released early 2019.

  Hosted ByDateStatus
Adelaide Heyne's Nursery Tuesday 5th March 2019 9.00am COMPLETED
Perth Ellenby Tree Farm Thursday 7th March 2019 9.00am COMPLETED
Brisbane Caboolture RSL (morning) then Rothpark Nursery (near Aspley Nursery) Tuesday 12th March 2019 9.00am COMPLETED
Darwin Rydges Darwin Central Thursday 14th March 2019 9.00am COMPLETED
Sydney Alpine Nurseries Tuesday 19th March 2019 9.00am COMPLETED
Melbourne Was held at the Tree Days of Trees at University of Melbourne in Oct/Nov 2018  COMPLETED

Join us in our TREE STOCK STANDARD OUTREACH for 2019 and get to know the new quality criteria to sell and buy healthy tree stock.

Several nation-wide initiatives are already on their way to increase urban green cover to help make our cities more sustainable. Yet, these initiatives need to be backed up by the implementation of standards that help to ensure tree quality and health from the nursery so they successfully grow at their final out-planting site.

The Australian standard 2303:2015 was used as a voluntary guide to help growers and buyers to produce and buy quality tree stock. However, the nursery industry called for new research to validate this first standard and so the TREE STOCK STANDARD PROJECT was born.

Explainer: Measuring Trees To Assess The Standard

Resources Available

  • Purchase a copy of the new standard AS2303:2018 'Tree Stocks For Landscape Use'

    This Standard specifies the criteria for the assessment of above-ground and below-ground characteristics of tree stock that are to be supplied for landscape use. It covers container-grown, containerized, bare-rooted and ex-ground tree stock, and can be applied to all stages of growth. The specifications and criteria in this Standard apply to all methods of production systems and styles of containers. (opens in a new window)

  • Online Tree Assessment Tool

    To visualise the range of acceptable trees, the team produced this online tool into which you can input tree measurements to assess whether they comply with the standard AS2303 data. (opens in a new window)

  • Project Brochure and Summary Card - December 2018

    The team has produced two items that will be used in outreach projects in 2019.

  • Nursery Paper July 2017 - Testing The Tree Stock Standard

    The Australian standard for producing quality landscape trees ensures a nationally consistent benchmark for quality tree stock for landscape use. A component of the current standard focusing on root to shoot balance criteria can be influenced by the climate trees are grown in, the species of tree, the treatment they receive in the nursery, and regional differences in their performance. July 2017 HortJournal Nursery Paper: Testing The Tree Stock Standard (opens in a new window) (PDF)

Results Summary Infographic: Findings From The Research

Published on 17 March 2017

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Tree Stock Standard Project Documents And Update Links

» Project Page on Hort Innovation with Final Report (opens in a new window)

» Your Ley At Work: Meet Court Campany: The Ecophysiologist Behind Tree Stock (opens in a new window)

» Your Levy At Work: Tree stock field trials move to Andreasens (opens in a new window)

» Your Levy At Work: Tree Stock Standard Research Committee Meeting (opens in a new window)

» Presentation Updates at the 4th May 2016 Steering Committee Meeting (4 May 2016) (PDF, 6243.04 KB) (opens in a new window)

» Your Levy At Work: Treestock researchers start nursery visits (April 2016) (opens in a new window)

» Project Factsheet (October 2015): Tree Stock For Landscape Use (PDF, 806.87 KB) (opens in a new window)

» Your Levy At Work - AS 2303:2015 Tree stock for landscape use release date (opens in a new window)

» Nursery Industry Technical Paper October 2015: Tree Stock For Landscape Use (opens in a new window)

» Tree Stock Allometry Project Launch Slides (PDF, 3914.54 KB) opens in a new window

Landscaped garden
Beautiful urban landscapes need strong, healthy and well-grown tree stocks, like these Manchurian Pears (Pyrus ussuriensis). These trees provide colour, shade and aesthetics all year round. Photo: David Thompson

The importance of healthy trees in urban landscapes is widely recognised as an important factor in the wellbeing of our populations and improving the liveability of our towns and cities. The nursery industry is championing significant increases in urban greenspace within the next five under the 202020 Vision project, calling for 20% more greenspace in urban centres by the year 2020.

The industry is committed to providing high-quality landscape trees and the recent adoption of the standard AS2303:2015 Tree Stock For Landscape Use is aimed at ensuring that trees conform to known standards that recognise the specific physiology, structural attributes and performance under different climatic regimes in order to assure a long and productive life in landscape plantings.

Presently, the standard enables assessment of performance metrics of landscape trees but there is a considerable gap in available knowledge on the performance of trees that includes climatic, species and container size. This research will provide the missing information through multivariate testing of these factors to consider their effects in an integrated way.

The industry is committed to providing high-quality landscape trees and the recent adoption of the standard AS2303:2015 Tree Stock For Landscape Use is aimed at ensuring that trees conform to known standards that recognise the specific physiology, structural attributes and performance under different climatic regimes...

Conducting The Research

The research project has two main objectives:

1. Acquire baseline information on root to shoot balance of tree planting stock and performance metrics

Our researchers will consult the international peer-reviewed scientific and trade literature to compile a database on root to shoot balance metrics and industry best practices.

This literature review aims to provide quantitative data that will be analysed to assess the metrics of tree stocks, including container volume, rootball diameter, stem caliper, stem taper, height and crown volume.

The findings from this phase will be made available to industry following publication in scientific journals.

2. Quantify root to shoot balance in tree stock for contrasting regions of Australia

In addition to the literature review, this research also includes field testing at nursery grower locations across Australia to evaluate varying climate conditions and species.

The fieldwork will:

  • determine regional and species differences in appropriate root to shoot balance of tree stock
  • develop metrics according to Australian Standard AS2303:2015 to produce lookup tables for rapid, cost-effective quantification and categorization of root to shoot balances.

These results will help to enable tree growers and buyers to produce and purchase trees of high-quality that are consistent with durability and resilience in Australia's climate.

For all enquiries about this project, please contact:

David Thompson
Communications Officer
Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment
(02) 4570 1623

The Project Steering Committee

We are grateful for the advice and support of treestock growers from a range of Australian locations. Our committee is:

  • Ms Leanne Gillies (Fleming's Nurseries - VIC)
  • Mr Ken Bevan (Alpine Nurseries – NSW)
  • Ms Carole Fudge (Benara Nurseries – WA)
  • Mr Hamish Mitchell (Speciality Trees – VIC)
  • Mr Tim Carroll (Andreasens Green – NSW)
  • Mr Chris O'Connor (Nursery and Garden Industry NSW)
  • Dr Anthony Kachenko - Horticulture Innovation Australia

Mature Landscape Trees
Trees can last for decades and represent a significant investment. This research is helping to ensure that landscape tree plantings are resilient, durable and assured of quality. Photo: David Thompson


This project "P00024177 Evaluation of Nursery Tree Stock Balance for the Environment" has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the nursery research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.