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MIS313 – Tree Health and Maintenance (Member Price)

A Minimum Industry Standard for Tree Care and Maintenance


This standard covers the various inter-related work tasks of cultural remediation, chemical application and other tree care practices, which together are described as tree maintenance. A brief summary is provided of the underpinning tree health knowledge necessary to identify tree stress symptoms and causes and select treatments. This standard is not a ‘standalone’ document, and must be read in conjunction with other relevant Minimum Industry Standards which describe safe arboricultural work practices.


About the MIS Series


This book is one in a series of Minimum Industry Standards (MIS) produced by Arboriculture Australia Ltd and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association in consultation with the national arboriculture community in both countries. These industry peer-reviewed documents provide a ‘body of knowledge’ which is shared by practitioners and can be used as the basis for training, dissemination of skills and professional development.

MIS313 – Tree Health and Maintenance (Member Price)

  • 1: Tree health and physiology 

    The tree as a living organism 

    Tree identification 

    • Using botanical nomenclature 
    • The use of common names 

    Age class of tree 

    Seasonal variations 

    Tree physiological functions 


    • Limiting factors for photosynthesis 


    • Transpirational rate 


    • Respiration rates 


    Tree vascular systems 

    • Xylem and phloem 
    • Xylem: tracheids and vessels 
    • Phloem 

    Tree bark 

    • Compartmentalisation and barriers to decay 
    • Occlusion 

    Trees and soils 

    Physical properties of soils 

    • Soil profiles 
    • Soil texture 
    • Soil texture triangle 
    • Field test for soil texture 

    Soil compaction 

    Soil water 

    • Drainage 

    Chemical properties of soil 

    Biological properties of soil 

    Soil nutrients 

    Tree roots 

    • Root architecture 
    • Water absorption into tree roots 
    • Nutrient absorption into tree roots 
    • Mycorrhizae 
    • The effects of fertiliser of mycorrhizal fungi 
    • Nitrogen-fixing bacteria 

    Soil build-up and soil sealing 

    Tree physical structure 

    The tree as a biomechanical structure 

    Axiom of uniform stress 


    Tree growth habits 

    Growth habit and structure 

    Branch and stem attachment 

    • Strength of branch and stem unions 
    • Co-dominant stems 

    Crossing or rubbing branches 

    • Natural bracing 

    Epicormic shoots 


    2: Tree disorders 

    How to use this chapter 

    Tree stress 

    • Symptoms of stress 

    Tree disorder diagnostic process 

    • Diagnostic table 1: diagnostic process 
    • Diagnostic table 2: observable symptoms 

    Abiotic disorders 

    • Soil compaction or poor drainage 
    • Soil quality 
    • Contamination 
    • Environmental conditions 
    • Sunburn and sunscald 
    • Weather events 
    • Light intensity and duration 
    • Temperature extremes 
    • Lightning damage 
    • Wind direction and intensity 

    Mechanical damage 

    Biotic disorders


    Large animals 

    Soil organisms 



    • Examples of transmissible tree diseases 
    • Biosecurity and transmission of pathogens 

    Epiphytes, parasites and vines 

    Tree structural conditions 

    Diagnosis: collecting samples

    Sampling equipment 

    Sampling hygiene and biosecurity 

    Soil sampling 

    • Selecting sampling sites 
    • Soil sampling procedure 

    Collecting plant samples 

    Recording sample information 

    Sending samples for analysis 

    Laboratory analysis 


    3: Tree establishment 

    Selection of tree species 

    Selection of tree stock for planting 

    • Tree stock selection process 

    Tree planting 

    Tree establishment 


    4: Tree maintenance

    Tree maintenance process 

    Identifying maintenance requirements 

    Selecting a treatment plan 

    Developing a maintenance plan 

    Performing tree maintenance 

    Performing tree work 

    Environmental impact and control measures 

    • Environmental management plan 
    • Waste/clean-up management plan 
    • Water quality protection 
    • Noise control 
    • Dust/debris management 

    Biosecurity measures 

    • Clean On / Clean Off procedure

    Tree cultural remediation 

    Atmospheric and climatic remediation 

    Soil remediation 

    • Remediation of compacted soil 


    • Complete fertiliser 


    • Identifying the need for irrigation 
    • Planning and applying irrigation 

    Improving soil organic content 


    • Selecting mulch 
    • Applying mulch 

    Installing physical protections 

    Physical barriers 

    Arboreal animal protection 

    Root barriers 

    Chemical treatments 

    Categories of chemical treatments 

    • Chemical treatments and Safety Data Sheets 
    • Environmental concerns 
    • Impact on non-target species 

    Applying chemical treatments 

    • Hazards associated with chemical treatments 
    • Calculating chemical treatment applications 
    • Mixing chemicals 
    • Chemical spill clean-up procedures 

    Chemical application techniques 

    • Soil injection 
    • Stem injection 
    • Foliar spray 
    • Implants 
    • Irrigation / drench 
    • Incorporation/fertilisation 


    Tree pruning 

    Tree pruning treatments 

    • Asset clearance 
    • Reduction pruning 
    • Crown thinning 
    • Crown lifting 
    • Risk abatement pruning 
    • Deadwood removal 
    • Branch or stem end weight reduction 
    • Remedial pruning 
    • Retrenchment pruning 
    • Formative pruning 
    • Structural pruning 
    • Epiphyte, parasite and vine removal 
    • Pollarding 
    • Palm pruning 
    • Natural fracture pruning & coronet cuts 

    Tree pruning permits and tree protection laws 

    Tools and equipment for tree pruning 

    Pruning cuts 

    • Branch reduction cuts 
    • Examples of incorrect branch reduction cuts 
    • Stem reduction cuts 
    • Branch removal cuts (living branches) 
    • Branch removal cuts (deadwood) 


    Root pruning 

    • Root pruning considerations: 
    • Performing root pruning 
    • Tree health care before and after root pruning 

    Completing tree works

    Processing debris 

    Waste disposal 

    Recording works 

    Completion of works 

    The care of trees 

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