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Clarifying usage of grades and standards

Florida Grades and Standards for Nursery Stock was designed to improve quality of plant material reaching job sites. Although quality has been increased substantially, there have been reports of misapplications and non-uniform applications of the standards.

This has lead to confusion and frustration by growers, contractors, and inspectors. Listed below are some of the more common issues that occur in practice along with an explanation of how the Grades and Standards document addresses that issue.

  • Issue: Only shade trees with straight leaders are allowed, a dominant leader is not enough. Clarification.
  • Issue: No significant branches are allowed in lower 10' of the trunk: Clarification.
  • Issue: Trees are rejected even after circling roots are cut at the point of circling. Clarification.
  • Issue: Trunks must be completely clean and scar-free for at least the first 4' from the ground up. No marks are allowed in the first 4' of trunk. Clarification.
  • Issue: No open (sometimes referred to as unhealed) cuts are allowed where branches were subordinated (reduced in length) anywhere on the tree. Clarification.
  • Issue: No branch subordination is allowed on the job site (trees are rejected that would pass with minor subordination), yet the inspector will not go to the field to demonstrate what they want. It makes it a gamble every time you go onto one of their jobsites. Clarification.
  • Issue: Several inspectors are rejecting trees because the leader was tipped in the nursery to help reestablish the leader. Clarification.
  • Issue: Trees are rejected if they have a dog leg anywhere in the canopy, no matter how high up. Clarification.
  • Issue: Trees planted too deeply in the root ball are rejected. Clarification.

View or print all issues on one page.

Be sure you have the latest update to the Grades and Standards. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services published this update in May 2005.