For an overview of best management practices for the tree care industry, Arbor Age magazine recently interviewed Tom Smiley, Ph.D. Smiley is arboriculture researcher at Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory, adjunct professor at Clemson University, and chair of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Best Management Practices committee.
AA: Please provide a brief overview of the ISA Best Management Practices (BMP) committee and its role in the industry.
Smiley: The predecessor of the BMP committee started with the ISA Pruning Guidelines committee, which joined with NAA (now TCIA) to develop the original ANSI A300 committee. The ISA members of this group wanted to create a document that would better explain and interpret the new Pruning Standard in order for more people to read, understand and implement that Standard.
The current BMP committee was developed in 2000 under the leadership of Sharon Lilly and the Educational Goods and Services group at ISA to continue educating arborist about the Standards and their implementation. In recent years, the BMP committee has been broadened to take the international component of arboriculture into account so that the BMPs can be more easily applied anywhere in the world.
BMPs are now some of the most widely accepted and used “how-to” oriented manuals for professional arborists. If you want to find out the detail of how to perform an arboricultural service, they are the definitive place to start.
AA: Are there any recent BMPs, or any recent ANSI A300 updates, of which our readers should be aware?
Smiley: There are now 10 BMP manuals available covering topics from pruning to pest management [see sidebar]. The most recent manual is “Managing trees during construction,” co-authored by Dr. Kelby Fite. The main arboricultural services had manuals originally written in the early 2000s, and some of them are already in a second revision. The BMPs all try to be consistent with the A300 Standard, international in scope, and easy to read and implement by working arborists.
The ANSI A300 committee is finishing both a “Tree Risk Assessment” and “Root and Soil Management” standard, so there will be BMPs on these topics following them shortly.
AA: With ever-evolving tools and techniques being used and implemented, how can tree care industry professionals stay up to date on the most recent BMPs?
Smiley: Information on the BMPs can be found at the ISA Web store (http://secure.isa-arbor.com/webstore/default.aspx) and in ISA’s “Arborist News,” a membership benefit of the ISA.
You are correct that the industry’s tools and techniques improve on an annual basis. Owning the original Pruning or Fertilization BMP will not keep you up-to-date. So check out the new editions and stay current with industry practices!
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are written as explanatory guides for applying the ANSI A300 standards in daily tree care practices. The following are brief descriptions of the BMP manuals currently available:
Tree Support Systems
Information on cabling, bracing and guying trees
Tree and Shrub Fertilization
Guidelines for tree and shrub fertilization application, determining the need and rate of occurrence, and fertilization goals and objectives.
Strategies for meeting industry standards and customer expectations with minimal harm to the tree. (Also available as a Spanish edition.)
Tree Lightning Protection Systems
Explanation of basic lightning physics and the installation and maintenance of lightning protection systems.
Utility Pruning of Trees
Information on pruning methods that promote safe and reliable delivery of utility services while minimizing the impact on trees. (Also available as a Spanish edition.)
Guidelines for tree planting on such topics as planting depth, soil amendment, and many more. (Also available as a Spanish edition.)
Techniques for effective and efficient tree inventory and management of the urban forest.
Integrated Vegetation Management
Techniques in vegetation control for electric right-of-way projects, gas pipeline rights-of-way, ecosystem restoration, and invasive weed control.
Integrated Pest Management
Practices for designing, planning and implementing an integrated pest management program within a landscape as part of a comprehensive Plant Health Care management system.
Managing Trees During Construction
Just released, the newest BMP is now available. The Construction BMP includes guidelines to determine which trees on a construction site are suitable for preservation and strategies for tree protection and maintenance during all phases of construction.
The BMP manuals retail for $10 each ($8 for ISA members) and are available through the ISA at www.isa-arbor.com