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Northern Illinois Tree Specification Committee Report Update

Problem Statement
Changes in production, harvesting, holding and planting techniques have resulted in trees that frequently fail to meet expectations for healthy growth and adaptability. Unfortunately many of our expectations are still based on native natural growing models, not our typical unnatural, urban sites. To reverse this trend, a cooperative initiative by each segment of the green industry is needed to update both expectations and the landscape model of how to propagate, grow, install, and maintain planted trees within limited budgets and short construction deadlines.

Background
A group of individuals from a variety of green industry backgrounds in northern Illinois formed a working group called The Northern Illinois Specification Review Committee (NISRC). The founding members of the group represent growers, landscape contractors, landscape architects, arborists and municipal foresters. This group has been meeting to discuss numerous concerns raised about the lack of specific standards for use by professionals when specifying, growing, digging, transporting and planting trees in Northern Illinois. This lack of standard guidelines leaves the door open to the possibility of misunderstanding within the various professional groups and increases the possibility for a final product that does not meet the needs or desires of the client.

The group has met informally since 2002 and has been involved with a review of existing guidelines, practices and standards. Based on these discussions, a set of guidelines were developed for use in Northern Illinois. The project team surveyed a variety of leaders within the green industry about their concerns, ideas and thoughts on best practices. In development of the guidelines, the group input from individuals and their respective professional affiliations, including such organizations as IGIA, ANLA, IAA, ILASLA, ILCA, SMA, and OGA.

The process and resulting recommendations were presented at the January 2003 and 2004 Mid-Am Shows in Chicago, Illinois. The group will continue to set aside time at future industry trade shows to gain input from individuals and industry groups.

Short Premise
In recent decades, trees planted in landscape sites frequently fail to meet expectations for healthy growth to sufficient size. To reverse this trend, a cooperative initiative by each segment of the green industry is needed to update the landscape model of how we Propagate, Grow, Install, and Maintain planted trees within limited budgets and short construction deadlines.

The green industry, as a whole, needs to consider/complete a "reengineering" the PGIM process and to educate others about these adaptions and the benefits derived thereof.