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A grounds maintenance worker is someone who provides 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.
Grounds maintenance workers typically do the following:
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.
Grounds maintenance workers work outdoors in all kinds of weather. The work can be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, lifting, and shovelling. 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.
Although most grounds maintenance jobs have no educational 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.