What is a Grounds Maintenance Worker?

Grounds maintenance workers provide a pleasant outdoor environment by ensuring that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy. Many grounds maintenance jobs are seasonal, available mainly in the spring, summer, and fall. Most of the work is done outdoors in all kinds of weather. The work can be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, kneeling, lifting, and shoveling.

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What does a Grounds Maintenance Worker do?

Grounds maintenance workers typically do the following:

  • Mow, edge, and fertilize lawns
  • Weed and mulch landscapes
  • Trim hedges, shrubs, and small trees
  • Remove dead, damaged, or unwanted trees
  • Plant flowers, trees, and shrubs
  • Water lawns, landscapes, and gardens.

Grounds maintenance workers do a variety of tasks to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment. They also care for indoor gardens and plantings in commercial and public facilities, such as malls, hotels, and botanical gardens.

Some workers specialize in trimming trees. They cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to clear utility lines, roads, and sidewalks. Although many workers strive to improve the appearance and health of trees and plants, some specialize in diagnosing and treating plant diseases. Others specialize in pruning, trimming, and shaping ornamental trees and shrubs. Tree trimmers and pruners use chainsaws, chippers, and stump grinders while on the job. When trimming near power lines, they usually work on truck-mounted lifts and use power pruners.

What does it take to be a Grounds Maintenance Worker?

Although most grounds maintenance jobs have no education requirements, some employers may require formal education in areas such as landscape design, horticulture, or arboriculture. A short period of on-the-job training is usually enough to teach new hires the skills they need, which often include how to plant and maintain areas and how to use mowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, small tractors, and other equipment. Large institutional employers such as golf courses, university campuses, or municipalities may supplement on-the-job training with coursework in horticulture or small-engine repair.

What is the workplace of a Grounds Maintenance Worker like?

Grounds maintenance workers work outdoors in all kinds of weather. The work can be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, lifting, and shoveling. Full-time workers experience a rate of injury and illness that is much higher than the national average. Workers who use chemicals, such as pesticides or fertilizers, or dangerous equipment, including lawnmowers and chain saws, must take precautions. Workers who use motorized equipment must protect their hearing.

How much does a Grounds Maintenance Worker earn?

The median hourly wage of Tree Trimmers was $14.64 in May 2010. (The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.) The lowest 10% earned less than $8.19, and the top 10% earned more than $18.27.

Learn more about being a Grounds Maintenance Worker