STMA’s Technical Standards Committee learned that the ASTM (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) is developing a Standard Practice for Creating a List of Invasive Plants that is Environmentally Harmful (ASTM Standard WK40773). This list will include turfgrass. If successful, this standard could make turfgrass illegal for use on landscape that choose or are required to conform to ASTM standards.
ASTM develops voluntary consensus standards used internationally in a variety of industries. Approximately 12,000 ASTM standards are currently and actively used, according to ASTM. Although voluntary, ASTM standards are often cited in regulations. According to the ASTM website:
“ASTM standards are voluntary in the sense that their use is not mandated by ASTM. However, government regulators often give voluntary standards the force of law by citing them in laws, regulations and codes. In the United States, the relationship between private-sector standards developers and the public sector has been strengthened with the 1995 passage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (Public Law 104-113). The law requires government agencies to use privately developed standards whenever it is at all possible, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in formerly duplicative standards development efforts.”
STMA’s Technical Standards Committee Chair Jason Henderson, Ph.D., represents STMA on several committees of ASTM. Its committees develop and revise the standards. He will continue to research this issue and will take appropriate voting action on behalf of STMA and its membership.