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NURSERY STANDARDS

As with most businesses selling a wide array of products, it became necessary to establish a set of standards for the landscape and nursery industry. Often times these guides are created by national nurserymen's organizations and many of these Nursery Standards are available online.

 

HOW THE PLANT INDUSTRY 'SIZES' PLANTS

nursery tree
Balled and Burlapped plants
'B&B' is the lingo

These nursery standards are applied to trees, shrubs, containerized plants and other nursery stock so that nurseries, garden centers, landscapers and homeowners have a standardized guide for trading in green goods and plant materials. These official standards often provide planting specifications as well.
  
Inches are still used for plant standards in the United States, while the metric system is used elsewhere. For our examples we have used inches and feet as the basis of measurements. These charts are only provided to give the novice gardener some idea of what nursery standards look like, and are greatly simplified when compared to official guides.
  

EXAMPLES OF SHADE TREE CALIPER & HEIGHT

Caliper of Tree Trunk

Average Tree Height

1 inch 8 feet
1 inches 10 feet
2 inches 12 feet
2 inches 13 feet
3 inches 14 feet

Caliper is measured 6 inches above the ground for up to a 4 inch caliper size and measured 12 inches above the ground for larger sizes.

'Drum laced' root ball
Drum lacing on a tree root ball
  
  

EXAMPLES OF EARTH BALL STANDARDS

Caliper of Tree Trunk

Minimum Diameter Root Ball

1 inch 15 inches
1 inches 19 inches
2 inches 23 inches
2 inches 27 inches
3 inches 31 inches

  

tree spades
Tree spades used for digging trees in the field.
The front spade is on a hinged frame so the spades can be moved in around a tree trunk, and then closed and centered around the desired tree. Hydraulic cylinders force the spades down through the earth and also cut the tree's roots. Various sized tree spades are available for the front of a skid steer loader for digging various root ball diameters. Root balls around 28 to 32 inches in diameter seem to be the most common sizes at tree nurseries.
  

TREE SIZE TERMINOLOGY

  
DBH
- Diameter Breast Height

Diameter of the trunk of a tree is measured at 4 feet above the ground.

Caliper
Diameter of the trunk measured 6 inches above the ground (up to and including 4 inch caliper size), and 12 inches above the ground for larger sizes.

  


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