Thursday, February 29, 2024

Professionalism and good quality plants benefits all

By Lee-Ann Officer

Being a professional refers to making a livelihood in an activity or field of endeavour for financial return. A professional, as opposed to an amateur, conforms to the technical and/or ethical standards of a profession, and it is a permanent career with added accountability.

It is disappointing to hear of plant material failing in the landscape, regardless of the source of supply and is something, as professionals, we strongly work to avoid.

Tree survival relies heavily on the preparedness of the environment in which they are planted. Occasionally it can be the actual tree that is the problem but our role as professionals is to mitigate the risk to the best of our ability and ensure every tree has the best chance of survival. 

Taking responsibility to provide quality advanced trees, grown sustainably for long term performance, should be taken very seriously. To lead with this statement requires a high level of accountability and an ambition to do good by the tree and the environment in which it is planted. Any professional involved in amenity and commercial planting, be they designer, supplier, installer or maintenance contractor, will know that accountability to the project, and to the community, is high and on the increase. Ethical standards around sustainability, recycling, public safety and long-term investment value considering a warming climate and its associated community health risks, demand it to be the case. Professionally, and as an industry, we must all be invested in ensuring a quality outcome.

A professional is one that can back your purchase with demonstratable production processes. Being accredited, e.g., with NIASA (Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia), which ensures independent assessment every year, is the type of evidence you should look for as it shows a commitment to adhering to best practice.

Being able to impart knowledge on material grown to AS2303, IPDM (Integrated Pest and Disease Management) disciplines, and developments associated with nutrient loads, the use of microflora and trichoderma, enhances that profile further, adding another layer to the professionalism of the business, quality of the product and the depth of the response you should expect to receive when sourcing stock.

Dealing with a changing climate, professionals look to educate their market on intelligent selections suited to localised environments.  While ensuring material grown can withstand hotter conditions is wise, it is only one part of the larger discussion around the idiosyncrasies of trees, and expected tree performance in any a given situation, based on horticultural research and years of experience and expertise.

As professionals, we offer the best and most accurate advice possible on tree selection to ensure they are fit for purpose, fit for location and fit for climate. Growing trees that will last for years in their planted environment is a commitment to growing trees that are also, to the best of our ability, fit for performance. That is the value of being professional in our industry.

There are genuine advantages in dealing with professionals who have genuine knowledge and an appreciation of the input or processes required to produce healthier material with better characteristics, or that genuine quality product. Sometimes it is based on meeting a social need or philosophical belief to support what’s right or what’s needed. Increasingly, in line with increasing environmental concerns around diversity and climate, it is a considerate mix of all those things, and taking responsibility to provide quality advanced trees that are grown sustainably, and for long-term performance, should be taken very seriously because the better the stock quality, the better the outcome for all.

Lee-Ann Officer

Speciality Trees

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