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 landscapers, and their specific job titles depend on the duties involved. One specialist in this field is the landscape contractor, who performs landscaping work on a contract basis for homeowners, highway departments, operators of industrial parks, and others. They confer with prospective clients and study the landscape design, drawings, and bills of material to determine the amount of landscape work required. They plan the installation of lighting or sprinkler systems, erection of fences, and the types of trees, shrubs, and ornamental plants required. They inspect the grounds and calculate labor, equipment, and materials costs. They also prepare and submit bids, draw up contracts, and direct and coordinate the activities of landscape laborers who mow lawns, plant shrubbery, dig holes, move topsoil, and perform other related tasks.

Landscapers maintain the grounds of private or business establishments. They care for hedges, gardens, and other landscaped areas. They mow and trim lawns; plant flowers, trees, and shrubs; apply fertilizers and other chemicals; install lighting or sprinkler systems; and repair walks and driveways.

There are many subspecialties in landscaping. Below is a listing of a few of the most popular.

Tree surgeons, also known as arborists, 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. Tree trimmers and pruners cut away tree limbs or shrubs to clear utility lines, roads, and sidewalks. They use power pruners and work on truck-mounted lifts.

Pest management scouts 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.

Lawn-service workers plant and maintain lawns. They remove leaves and dead grass and apply insecticides, fertilizers, and weed killers as necessary. Lawn-service workers also use aerators and other tools to pierce the soil to make holes for the fertilizer and de-thatchers to remove built-up thatch.

A city forester advises communities on the selection, planting schedules, and proper care of trees. They also plant, feed, spray, and prune trees and may supervise other workers in these activities. Depending on the situation, landscapers may perform these functions alone or with city foresters.

Turf grass consultants analyze turf grass problems and recommend solutions. They also determine growing techniques, mowing schedules, and the best type of turf grass to use for specified areas. Depending on the geographic area of the country, lawn-service companies regularly use such consultants.

On golf courses, landscapers are employed as greenskeepers, keeping the grounds and turf of a golf course in good playing condition. They cut the turf on green and tee areas; dig and rake grounds to prepare and cultivate new greens; connect hose and sprinkler systems; plant trees and shrubs; and operate tractors as they apply fertilizer, insecticide, and other substances to the fairways or other designated areas.