Grounds Managers


Exploring this Job

If you are between the ages of five and 22, you might want to join the National Junior Horticulture Association, which offers horticulture-related projects, contests, and other activities. Visit for more information.

Part-time work at a golf course, lawn-service company, greenhouse, botanical garden, or other similar enterprise is an excellent way of learning about this field. Many companies gladly hire part-time help, especially during the busy summer months. In addition, there are numerous opportunities mowing lawns, growing flowers, and tending gardens. You can also join garden clubs, visit local flower shops, and attend botanical shows. 

The American Public Gardens Association is a valuable resource to those individuals interested in gaining practical experience. Visit its Web site,, for internship, job, and volunteer listings. Finally, a summer job mowing lawns and caring for a neighbor's garden is an easy, simple introduction to the field.

The Job

There are many different types of grounds managers, and their specific job titles depend on the duties involved. The job also depends on the institution or organization for which they work. Industrial-commercial grounds managers maintain areas in and around industrial or commercial properties by cutting lawns, pruning trees, raking leaves, and shoveling snow. They also plant grass and flowers and are responsible for the upkeep of flower beds and public passageways. These types of groundskeepers may repair and maintain fences and gates and also operate sprinkler systems and other equipment.

Parks-and-grounds managers maintain city, state, or national parks and playgrounds. They plant and prune trees; haul away garbage; repair driveways, walks, swings, and other equipment; and clean comfort stations.

Landscape supervisors oversee and direct the activities of landscape workers who are engaged in pruning trees and shrubs, caring for lawns, and performing related tasks. They coordinate work schedules, prepare job cost estimates, and deal with customer questions and concerns.

Grounds managers also oversee or coordinate the work of tree surgeons, also known as arborists, who prune and treat ornamental and shade trees to improve their health and appearance. This may involve climbing with ropes, working in buckets high off the ground, spraying fertilizers and pesticides, or injecting chemicals into the tree trunk or root zone in the ground. Managers work closely with tree-trimming supervisors, who coordinate and direct the tree-trimming workers. They also work with pest management scouts, who survey landscapes and nurseries regularly to locate potential pest problems including insects, diseases, and weeds before they become hard to control in an effective, safe manner. Scouts may specialize in the treatment of a particular type of infestation, such as gypsy moths or boll weevils.

Grounds managers may consult with city foresters for advise on plant selection, planting schedules, and proper care of trees. 

On golf courses, grounds managers are employed as greenskeepers. There are two types of greenskeepers: greenskeepers I supervise and coordinate the activities of workers engaged in keeping the grounds and turf of a golf course in good playing condition. They consult with the greens superintendent to plan and review work projects; they determine work assignments, such as fertilizing, irrigating, seeding, mowing, raking, and spraying; and they mix and prepare spraying and dusting solutions. They may also repair and maintain mechanical equipment. Greenskeepers II follow the instructions of greenskeepers I as they maintain the grounds of golf courses. 

Greens superintendents, also known as golf course superintendents, supervise and coordinate the activities of greenskeepers and other workers engaged in constructing and maintaining golf course areas. They review test results of soil and turf samples, and they direct the application of fertilizer, lime, insecticide, or fungicide. Their other duties include monitoring the course grounds to determine the need for irrigation or better care, keeping and reviewing maintenance records, and interviewing and hiring workers.