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Job Description of a Landscape Specialist

Landscape specialists require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification and licensing options to see if this is the right career for you.

Landscaping and groundskeeping workers, tree trimmers and pruners, and pesticide sprayers, handlers and applicators are all landscape specialists. These professionals provide services that contribute to maintaining the outside space of a property or park.

Essential Information

Landscape specialists create and maintain yards, lawns and other outdoor areas. Their duties include planting flower beds, trimming trees and fertilizing lawns. Specialists may be in higher demand during specific times of year or seasons, like spring and autumn.

Required Education On-the-job training and/or vocational school
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for all grounds maintenance workers
Average Salary (2015)* $27,460 for landscaping and groundskeeping workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Landscape Specialist

Landscape specialists are responsible for many different projects related to planning, planting and caring for outdoor environments. They may begin a project by clearing away shrubs, small trees and anything else that may obstruct work. Specialists may then use a tiller or similar device to loosen up the soil and prepare it for planting seeds or laying sod. While doing so, landscape workers may also record measurements of the prepared area in order to estimate how much mulch or fertilizer will be needed. Lastly, specialists may transplant bushes or trees into the ground.

Landscape specialists may also visit sites to perform regular maintenance, such as removing weeds and applying pesticides. Some specialists who may have plant breeding knowledge and experience may be responsible for grafting - a type of plant reproduction where the tissues of one plant are connected with that of another. Lastly, these professionals may monitor the health of plants, ensuring that they are receiving enough water, sunlight and soil nutrients.

In addition to these duties, landscape specialists may be required to rake leaves, clear debris and prune plants. Specialists working on larger facilities may also clean pools, ponds or fountains; this may include mixing chemicals and removing algae.

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Requirements for a Landscape Specialist

Although there are not any formal educational requirements for most landscape specialists positions, a high school diploma may help entry-level candidates to secure a job. Duties may be learned through on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced worker. Job seekers entering the field with some postsecondary education, such as a certificate in landscaping or a related field, may have better opportunities for employment. Interested candidates may look to vocational institutions or community colleges for these programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some states require landscape specialists who apply pesticides to have a pesticide license (www.bls.gov). Most states have several types of pesticide licenses like a commercial applicator or commercial operator license. Becoming licensed generally includes passing a qualifying examination. In order to maintain their license, landscape specialists typically need to complete a training class or retake the licensing exam.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In general, the projected job growth for grounds maintenance workers was 6%, from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2015, those employed as tree trimmers and pruners earned the most, with an average annual salary of $36,030, states the BLS. Following that occupation were pesticide handlers, sprayers and applicators ($34,570), grounds maintenance workers not listed individually ($33,340) and landscaping and groundskeeping workers ($27,460).

Landscape specialists typically learn on the job. A high school diploma is preferred, and a license may be required for those who apply pesticides. A certificate in landscaping may increase job prospects for those seeking work in this field.


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