Unit of competency details

AHCARB303A - Implement a tree pruning program (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by AHCARB303 - Perform pruning operationsThis unit is not equivalent to AHCARB303A Implement a tree pruning program 26/Jun/2016
Supersedes RTF3017A - Implement a tree pruning program09/Jun/2011

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 10/Jun/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050301 Horticulture  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050301 Horticulture  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit covers the process of implementing a tree pruning program and defines the standard required to conduct tree inspections, implement pruning to AS4373-2007 pruning of amenity trees as required, assess and rectify pruning quality and record work activities.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to an arborists engaged in implementing a tree pruning program.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare for tree pruning

1.1. Trees are visually inspected and all branches to be removed are identified according to the pruning requirements of the program.

1.2. Removal stages are nominated to ensure the program is undertaken without unnecessary damage to the trees.

1.3. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) hazards are identified, risks assessed and suitable controls implemented.

1.4. Pruning tools and equipment are selected and prepared according to the extent of the pruning program.

1.5. Climbing equipment and machinery is selected, checked for damage or imperfections and prepared according to documented low risk work procedures and manufacturers specifications.

1.6. Identification and establishment of work exclusion zone is implemented.

2. Implement tree pruning

2.1. Climbing equipment and machinery is operated according to documented low risk work procedures and manufacturers' specifications.

2.2. Pruning cuts are implemented according to established pruning techniques and AS4373 Pruning of Amenity Trees as required.

2.3. Program is implemented in such a way that no damage occurs to equipment, property or personnel.

2.4. Site environmental concerns are adhered to in accordance with relevant legislation and/or regulations.

2.5. Waste material is mechanically processed according to documented guidelines and manufacturers' specifications.

2.6. Site is cleared and cleaned according to documented guidelines.

3. Assess pruning quality

3.1. Trees selected for the pruning program are visually checked to ensure that the appropriate trees have been pruned to specifications.

3.2. Stub length and pruned height are checked to ensure that they meet the pruning requirements of the program and AS4373 Pruning of amenity trees.

3.3. Any incorrect pruning is rectified to ensure the tree is able to sustain its growth, natural habit and form.

3.4. Completed program of pruning is recorded and communicated to management and/or the client.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • recognise common diseases, pests and nutrition deficiencies in trees
  • select and inspect appropriate equipment
  • operate chainsaws and pole saws
  • sharpen and maintain tools required for pruning
  • implement pruning techniques to AS4373 Pruning of amenity trees
  • conduct operations in such a way that no damage occurs to equipment, property, environment, trees or personnel
  • aerial rescue techniques
  • use literacy skills to read, interpret and follow organisational policies and procedures, follow sequenced written instructions, record accurately and legible information collected and select and apply procedures for a range of tasks
  • use oral communication skills/language competence to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning techniques, active listening, clarifying information and consulting with supervisors as required
  • use numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • use interpersonal skills to work with and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities.

Required knowledge 

  • identification of tree species and their pruning requirements
  • tree pruning techniques appropriate to the pruning requirements of the species
  • principles and methods of pruning
  • effect of pruning on tree growth and habit
  • tree morphology and physiology
  • Compartmentalisation of Decay in Trees (CODIT) principles
  • implications of pruning cuts and the way trees respond
  • climbing or elevated work platform operations
  • capability of lifting and lowering equipment
  • awareness of powerline clearances
  • chainsaw and polesaw techniques
  • relevant legislation that may impact on a tree pruning program
  • local government tree protection and preservation regulations
  • AS4373-2007 Pruning of amenity trees
  • relevant Code of Practice.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy holistically all of the requirements of the performance criteria and required skills and knowledge and include achievement of the following:

  • conduct tree inspections
  • implement pruning to AS4373-2007 Pruning of amenity trees
  • assess and rectify pruning quality
  • record work activities in enterprise forms.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency requires the application of work practices under work conditions. Selection and use of resources for some worksites may differ due to the regional or enterprise circumstances.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole.

Pruning techniques may include:

  • cleaning out
  • crown lifting
  • crown reduction
  • structural integrity
  • crown renewal
  • crown thinning
  • dead wooding
  • hedging
  • branch
  • epicormic and green shoot removal.

Programs activities may include:

  • site inspection details
  • special instructions and/or conditions
  • OHS risks and controls
  • environmental considerations
  • pruning methods and techniques
  • tools, equipment and machinery requirements
  • access and exit details
  • personnel requirements
  • waste, organic waste and debris disposal
  • recycling and re-use opportunities.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 


Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Competency field

Competency field