Los Angeles' temperate climate is suitable for many outdoor occupations. It is a prime area for ambitious groundskeepers to find year-round employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more laborers will be needed in the coming years to help maintain lawn care on university and corporate campuses. In many residential areas throughout L.A., an increasing number of aging or busy homeowners are depending on landscapers and gardeners to keep the exterior areas of their properties pristine.
If pesticides are used, eco-responsible employers expect workers to have already received formal education or earned certification in a related area, such as horticulture, arboriculture or landscape design. In the Golden State, those who utilize chemicals to treat problem areas must be licensed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Obtaining a license involves passing a test on the regulated use and disposal of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.
Otherwise, most newly-minted groundskeepers receive on-the-job training to learn the skills they need to perform the required tasks. After a short period of time, self-motivated employees know how to plant correctly and operate trimmers, mowers, leaf blowers and small tractors safely. Some companies and governmental entities even supplement their instruction with coursework in horticulture or small-engine repair.
Because groundskeepers perform a variety of duties, their physical stamina must remain strong.
Groundskeepers who possess admirable communication skills advance to managerial positions, which require formal education and several years of hands-on experience. It is common for seasoned professionals to launch their own landscaping or tree-trimming companies. Handling trees is an in-demand specialty that continues to expand by an impressive margin, with job growth at rising levels.
In L.A., experienced tree service technicians earn an average annual salary greater than $36,000, with top experts sweeping in yearly wages of around $60,000, according to current data. The best way to begin a career as a tree service technician is to take courses in arboriculture or plant science. To learn how to make a sound living as an arborist, contact the Tree Care Industry Association.
For more information about becoming a groundskeeper, reach out to the Professional Grounds Management Society.
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
for more features.