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There have been two new British Standards recently introduced to our industry.  Full details of these are shown below.
Should you wish to discuss these in further detail please contact Ian Dudley on 01536 408840.

BS 8601:2013 Specification for Subsoil and Requirements for Use

In the creation of landscaping schemes, it is easy to focus on the treatment of the topsoil, but the treatment of the subsoil is equally as important to the survival and performance of the planted stock. The most common subsoil issue is compaction, caused by the tracking of machinery or the placement of site units or materials and if not rectified, problems can rapidly develop leading to costly remedial works.
Subsoil performs many vital functions in landscaping, including drainage, water storage and providing anchorage for trees and shrubs. All of these functions require good quality, uncompacted subsoil.

This new British Standard seeks to remedy these issues by providing clear guidance as to the structure, composition and treatment of subsoil.

With regard to structure and composition, the Standard lists a similar range of physical and chemical tolerances to the equivalent British Standard for topsoil (BS3882:2007). Of particular note to landscaping is the maximum loss on ignition (indicative of organic matter content) of 2% and the maximum large (>2mm) contaminant tolerance of <0.5%.

With regard to treatment, the Standard gives detailed advice for the stripping, storage and placement of subsoils. In particular, it recommends the following:

  • Stripping ahead of any site activity and in suitable (particularly dry) weather conditions
  • A co-ordinate stripping pattern which minimises vehicle tracking
  • Avoidance of stockpiling wherever possible
  • Creation of loose tipped stockpiles with firm surfaces designed to shed water
  • Minimum placement depths for combined subsoil and topsoil of 450mm for grassland, 600mm for shrubs and 900mm for trees
  • Receiving area to be decompacted prior to placement
  • Loose tipping of subsoil to prevent compaction and permit free drainage

BS 8545:2014 Trees: From Nursery to Independence in the Landscape

Figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reported that in the last decade and average of around 35,600ha of forest was felled every day. Although this rate is slowing, deforestration is still a significant global problem.

Tree planting in the UK, whether its purpose is to discharge planning conditions, provide biodiversity gain, offer visual amenity, or for commercial forestry, cannot mitigate the alarming rate at which trees are lost in other countries, as we simply do not have the available land mass to undertake such a task.

Given the limited number of trees we can plant in this country, it is disheartening to learn that The Department of Communities and Local Government reported that roughly 25% of trees planted in the public sector fail within the first four years following planting. These failures are the result of a number of factors: poor quality stock, inappropriate species choice for the location, bad planting practice, and poor aftercare and maintenance.

It is therefore of the upmost importance that when a tree is planted it is the right tree for the situation, it is in good condition, and it is planted and maintained correctly in order to establish, survive, and mature to live out its natural life.

The publication of BS 8545 – Trees: from nursery to independence in the landscape seeks to address bad practice in the industry and ensure that trees are grown, selected, planted, and maintained to a high standard to minimise landscape failures.

This Standard is aimed at the establishment of standard trees, although many of the guidelines are equally applicable to smaller stock and woody perennials. It identifies seven processes from growth in the nursery to independence in the landscape – these sections apply to the range of professionals that are involved in the process of tree production, procurement, and planting – and it is essential that all involved follow the Standard in order to reduce the number of planted failures, and subsequently reduce the time, effort, and resources which are wasted by poor practice.

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