MIS313 Tree Health and Maintenance

MIS313 Tree Health and Maintenance

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MIS310 Tree Health and Maintenance

Minimum Industry Standard series

Members Price is for Members of The New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZARB).

The vision of NZ Arb is to represent the arboriculture community and make it the primary organisation for tree care and to maintain relevancy to the Association’s members, so if you are in the NZ tree care industry please consider joining NZARB by clicking the link above if you are not already a member.


This book is one in a series of Minimum Industry Standards produced by Arboriculture Australia Ltd in consultation with the national industry community. These peer-reviewed documents explain the core standards of skills and equipment with which practitioners should be familiar. 

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.



Maintaining trees

  • Introduction to tree maintenance 
  • How to use this Minimum Industry Standard 


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 

  • Photosynthesis 
  • Limiting factors for photosynthesis 
  • Transpiration 
  • Transpirational rate 
  • Respiration 
  • Respiration rates 
  • Reproduction 
  • 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 
  • Thigmomorphogenesis 
  • 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

  • Humans 
  • Large animals 
  • Soil organisms 
  • Insects 
  • Pathogens 
  • 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 
  • Fertilisation 
  • Complete fertiliser 
  • Irrigation 
  • Identifying the need for irrigation 
  • Planning and applying irrigation 
  • Improving soil organic content 
  • Mulch 
  • 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 





Minimum Industry Standards

The Minimum Industry Standard series is dedicated to all our fellow workers who have lost their lives or have been permanently injured working in the arboriculture and vegetation management industries.

The Minimum Industry Standards project is an Arboriculture Australia led initiative that the NZ Arb is pleased and proud to be involved with. Having joined the programme, NZ Arb works alongside Arboriculture Australia to develop these Minimum Industry Standards. Each Minimum Industry Standard (MIS) provides the key knowledge that is necessary to perform the work task.


Dimensions 150 x 210 mm
Pages 279
Cover Soft Cover
Binding Wire-O