The Complete Guide To Landscaper Licensing Requirements By State, USA

June 30, 2022
the-complete-guide-to-landscaper-licensing-requirements-by-state-usa

If you are thinking of joining the landscaping industry, you might be wondering how profitable it is. Fortunately, there are many things to learn in the landscaping business without much difficulty, regardless of your level of experience or whether you are just getting started.

As an enormous industry, lawn care and landscaping are said to generate over $90 million annually. Unsurprisingly, the largest portion of lawn care and landscaping earnings, about $70 million yearly, comes from commercial landscaping. Businesses often have higher money to spend on landscaping, which explains this.

Therefore, if you are thinking of getting started, you need to have access to information on the landscaper licensing requirements of your state in the US. Each state has different licensing requirements so you have to know what your state says about licensing requirements.

We’ve collated the different licensing requirements in each state to form this guide. Feel free to go through to see what works in your state.

1.) Alabama

In Alabama, landscaping contractors need a license to operate. The Alabama Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industries is responsible for issuing the state license. Landscape planning, tree surgery, planting of landscape plants, and ornamental and turf pest treatment are all covered by the Horticulture Professional Services license. To get licensed, candidates must pass a test. If you apply pesticides as a landscape horticulturist, landscape planter, or ornamental and turf supervisor, you’ll also require a commercial pesticide applicator license. You must pass an examination to get one.

2.) Alaska

In Alaska, landscaping companies are categorized as specialty contractors and need a state license to operate. Planting grass, bushes, trees, and ornamental plants are covered by this license. A $10,000 surety bond is required, and you must provide evidence of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance for your Alaska firm. There is no need to take an exam. To use pesticides for work purposes, you must also have a pesticide applicator certification. Both the core exam and the category exam must be passed for a person to qualify. Also required is insurance documentation. To renew your certification, you must complete 12 continuing education units.

3.) Arizona

In Arizona, a landscaper does not need to have a state license to work, but you must first check local licensing requirements before you start working. An ornamental and turf license issued by the Arizona Department of Agriculture is required if you use pesticides as part of your lawn care service. Both the core exam and the category-specific examination must be passed for you to have a local license. You must have two years of pest control experience or have held an applicator certification for two out of the last 10 years, or one out of the last ten years with 12 semester hours of coursework or a comparable degree.

4.) Arkansas

Any landscaper wishing to work in Arkansas must obtain a license as a Landscape Contractor. Anyone who grows horticultural or ornamental plants is covered by this license.

Depending on the size of the lawn yard you’ll manage, there are 3 tiers of licenses: up to 5,000 square feet, 5,001 to 15,000 square feet, and over 15,001 square feet.

The Arkansas Agriculture Department grants the permits. If you intend to deploy restricted-use pesticides as part of your landscaping service, you’ll additionally require a commercial pesticide applicator license from the Arkansas Agriculture Department. Both the core exam and the category exam must be passed. Every 3 years, you must also go for a training course on pesticide safety to stay licensed.

5.) California

To offer landscaping services in California, you need a C-27 Landscaping Contractor license from the state of California. Through the Contractors State License Board, the Department of Consumer Affairs grants its license to new businesses.

For public and private gardens as well as other outdoor places, it includes landscape system maintenance, installation, and subcontracting. At least four years of experience in landscaping are necessary. Both worker’s compensation and general liability insurance are required. There must be insurance for licensing to be given. Exams in business, law, and trade are also necessary.

You must become certified as a Maintenance Gardener Pest Management through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to conduct pest control. You must become a category B Landscape Maintenance Qualified Applicator to apply restricted-use pesticides.

6.) Colorado

No state license is needed; no test as long as you just want to provide landscaping services; Colorado does not require licensing.

There is no requirement for a license when offering services like lawn aeration, hedge trimming, weed eating, and grass cutting.

At the Local County or city level, licensing may be necessary. A Commercial Applicators license is required if you’ll work with pesticides. A supervisor is necessary, along with the necessary proof of liability insurance.

7.) Connecticut

In Connecticut, landscaping work is not subject to licensing or certification requirements. A commercial supervisory certificate from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is necessary if you intend to use pesticides.

8.) Delaware

In Delaware, landscaping work is not subject to licensing or certification requirements. A state-issued Pesticide Business license is necessary if you intend to use pesticides. To use restricted-use pesticides, you will need to pass an exam to get the right certification.

9.) Florida

In Florida, lawn care and landscaping businesses require no state license or examination. Is not subject to licensing or certification requirements. If you intend to use pesticides with restricted-use restrictions outdoors, you must have a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This is applicable only after you’ve passed a number of the relevant test.

10.) Georgia

There are no state license and examination requirements for general landscaping in the state of Georgia. If you intend to use pesticides with restricted use outdoors, you must have a commercial applicator license issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. There is also an exam that must be passed every 5 years.

11.) Hawaii

To work in Hawaii, a landscaper needs a state license. As a specialist contractor, you will fall under classification C and require a C-27 Landscaping Contractor license. A C-27b Tree Trimming and Removal Contractor license is also available. Four years of experience within the last ten years must be verified. A test is required. You must provide evidence of your worker’s compensation and liability insurance. You must be authorized by the State of Hawaii Plant Industry Division to use restricted-use pesticides as part of your landscaping services. In one of eleven categories, such as Ornamental and Turf Pest Control, you must hold a commercial applicator certification. You must also pass an examination to make this possible.

12.) Idaho

In Idaho, landscape contractors are not required to hold a state license; but, if you make improvements to a real estate worth more than $2,000, you must register with the State of Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. You are required to submit payment and documentation of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. A professional applicator license in a category like ornamental insecticide/fungicide or ornamental herbicide is required if you apply pesticides or oversee their application. Both a general exam and a law and safety exam must be passed.

13.) Illinois

If you apply restricted or general use pesticides, you must have a state license to work as a landscaper in Illinois. You’ll require an Applicator license from the Illinois Department of Public Health in this situation. You will need to pass an exam too.

14.) Indiana

In Indiana, landscapers who use pesticides or fertilizers are required to have a state license. The Office of Indiana State Chemist grants different license classifications, namely Category 3a and Category 3b.

15.) Iowa

If you apply pesticides as part of your job as a landscaper in Iowa, you must have a commercial applicator license. The 3T (Turf Pest), 3O (Ornamental Pest), or 3OT (Ornamental and Turf Pest) categories are required. To become licensed, you must pass a test.

16.) Kansas

In order to work as a landscaper in Kansas, there are no state licensing requirements. However, you must have a business license in a specific category, such as ornamental pest management and interior landscaping, if you apply pesticides as part of your line of activity. A Commercial Certified Pesticide Applicator license is additionally required. Both a general exam and a category- or subcategory-specific exam must be passed as well.

17.) Kentucky

In Kentucky, you can work as a landscaper without a state license, but in order to use pesticides and fertilizers, you’ll need a license. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture grants the license. A test must be passed, and you pass through continuing education classes.

18.) Louisiana

In order to provide services like landscaping and lawn care in Louisiana, landscapers must pass an exam and get a state license. The Horticulture Commission of Louisiana issues a variety of licenses through the Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Additionally, you need to maintain liability insurance and do continuing education courses. You can use pesticides if you get the Ground Owner Operator license. A bond’s proof should also be included.

19.) Maine

If you apply pesticides as part of your tree and shrub care or lawn and landscape maintenance, you won’t need a state license to practice as a landscaper in Maine. In this situation, you will require a commercial applicator license from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s Board of Pesticide Control. Both a Core exam and a Category exam must be passed. In order to keep your license in Maine, you must provide evidence of business insurance and finish a continuing education program.

20.) Maryland

To provide landscaping services in Maryland, you must obtain a home improvement license specifically for landscaping and sod installation. Requirements include at least two years of work experience, liability insurance, and passing the relevant exam. This license is offered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. If you plan to offer any pest control service using pesticides, you must have a pesticide business license and at least one full year of experience in practical pesticide application. Having a relevant degree is also an advantage.

21.) Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, unless you apply pesticides as part of your lawn care, landscape maintenance, or tree care services, you do not need a state license to work as a landscaper. However, you’ll require a pesticide applicator license from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Massachusetts requires that you pass a test and provide documentation of your company insurance. Additional requirements for license renewal include completing six contact hours of continuing education.

22.) Michigan

In Michigan, working as a landscaper is legal without a state license. However, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development may require that you obtain a pesticide application certification. You must pass both a category exam and a core exam to be certified.

23.) Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Transportation mandates that landscapers who install or oversee the installation and establishment of plants have a Landscape Specialist certification. You have to finish the course and do well on the test. To utilize pesticides as part of your lawn care service, you also need to be a licensed pesticide applicator. Once you have passed both the core and category exams and have proven your financial responsibility, the Department of Agriculture will grant you a Commercial Pesticide Applicator license.

24.) Mississippi

You don’t need a license to provide basic lawn care in Mississippi if all you do is maintain lawns (mowing, fertilizing, etc.). However, you are not permitted to offer services as a landscaper. A state license is required if you work as a landscaper. Two licenses are granted by the Bureau of Plant Industry:

  • The Landscape Horticulturist License – for people who plant or replaces plants. You must pass a test and provide a surety bond of $1,000 at the minimum.
  • The Tree Surgery License – for people that maintain, prune, cable, brace, tops, trim, fertilize, perform cavity treatment, or prune and remove ornamental trees and shrubs. A test must be passed, and liability insurance documentation is required.
  • If you use pesticides with limited use, you’ll additionally require a commercial pesticide applicator license. Passing both the category exam and the core exam is required.

25.) Missouri

In Missouri, working as a landscaper is not subject to a state license requirement. However, you need a commercial applicator certification from the Missouri Department of Agriculture if you use pesticides as part of your landscaping business. Both the Core exam and the category exam must be passed. A financial responsibility document is also required (proof of insurance or a surety bond).

26.) Montana

In Montana, a state license is not required to work as a landscaper. However, in order to use pesticides as part of your business, you must get a commercial pesticide applicator license. The Montana Department of Agriculture grants the license. Both the Core exam and the category exam must be passed. In Montana, you need to provide evidence of both a surety bond and business liability insurance.

27.) Nebraska

Nebraska does not mandate the licensing of landscapers. However, you require a commercial pesticide applicator license, which is granted by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, if you use pesticides for lawn care as part of your line of work. Commercial applicator certification is divided into 14 categories and 4 subcategories. A general standards exam and at least one category exam must be passed.

28.) Nevada

In Nevada, landscapers are required to get a state license if the work they perform is more expensive or calls for a construction permit. There may be no need for a license for a lawn care service. The installation of rocks, sand, or gravel, the planting of trees, bushes, or other plants, the spreading of sod, or the hydro-seeding of a lawn, however, all require a license. The Nevada State Contractors Board will issue you a classification C-10 Landscape Contracting license. A certification of four years of experience during the last 10 years is mandatory. You must pass the trade, business, and legal exams. You must provide evidence of insurance. You also need to get a Department of Agriculture certification in order to provide pest control services using restricted-use pesticides.

29.) New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, there are no legal criteria for licensing landscapers. However, a Pesticide Applicator License from the Division of Pesticide Control, New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, is required to offer a pesticide application service as part of your landscaping business. You must successfully finish a 16-hour training program and an oral and written test. Liability insurance documentation is required to complete licensing.

30.) New Jersey

A state license and exam are required for landscaping services when tree care is involved. This license is issued through New Jersey’s Board of Tree Experts. It covers all aspects of tree care. A college degree as well as at least one year of work experience is preferred or at least three years of experience and completion of a two-year college course. You must pass the required exam too. To offer pesticide application service, you need a license given by the Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, there is a 40-hour of job-specific training to be completed.

31.) New Mexico

In order to work as a landscaper in New Mexico, you won’t need a state license, but you might require a local license. If you administer pesticides as part of your landscaping or lawn care service, you will require a commercial applicator license. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture grants this license. You must demonstrate two years of pesticide application experience, 20 hours of college credit, or two years of experience. Both the core exam and at least one category exam must be passed. Proof of your financial accountability is required (liability insurance or a surety bond).

32.) New York

In New York, providing landscaping services is not subject to state licensing or examination. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation must provide you with a commercial applicator license before you can use pesticides, though.

You must have worked as a pesticide application technician, an apprentice, or in pesticide sales and distribution during the past five years.

You must finish one of the following requirements to become certified as a commercial pesticide technician:

  • A 30-hour course that has been authorized
  • A 2-year associate’s degree in a comparable profession
  • Two years of training as an apprentice pesticide technician

Any of these choices requires multiple successful exam results.

33.) North Carolina

The following activities are exempt from license requirements in North Carolina: sod installation, arboriculture, lawn care, lawn mowing, and turf maintenance. For any standard work in North Carolina, licensing requirements involve having a state contract. They must be insured and have passed the necessary test. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must issue you a pesticide applicator license before you can use pesticides in North Carolina.

34.) North Dakota

In North Dakota, there is no requirement for a state license for landscaping work. If pesticide application services are provided, a pesticide applicator license is necessary. Services must be certified and insured.

35.) Ohio

In Ohio, there is no requirement for a state license for landscaping service or lawn care. If pesticide application services are provided, a commercial applicator license is mandatory. Services must pass the required tests, however.

36.) Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, there is no requirement for a state license for lawn care services or landscaping maintenance. If pesticide application services are provided, a commercial applicator license is required from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Services must pass the necessary exams.

37.) Oregon

You need to possess a state license called a landscape construction professional license in Oregon if you want to provide landscaping services. This license enables you to design and plant trees, bushes, grass, vines, or nursery stock, and prepare the land for the planting. There is no requirement for a license if your business merely involves maintaining already-existing landscapes, such as lawn care. A business exam, a law exam, and a general trade exam must be passed if you need a license. A surety bond, evidence of workers’ compensation insurance, and proof of liability insurance are all required. A commercial applicator license is also required if you want to apply pesticides as part of your service. You must pass tests on law and safety as well as at least one category.

38.) Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, there is no requirement for a state license for landscaping work. If pesticide application services are provided, a commercial applicator license is given by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Services must pass one of the 25 category exams and regularly attend relevant training programs and updates.

39.) Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, there is no state-issued license for lawn care and landscaping services. If pesticide application services are provided, a commercial applicator license is given by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management – Division of Agriculture. Services must pass multiple exams, attend training courses, and have accepted liability insurance.

40.) South Carolina

In South Carolina, there is no requirement for a state license for landscaping work but there are several exams to be taken and passed. If pesticide application services are provided, a commercial applicator license is given by the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Proof of liability insurance is a must.

41.) South Dakota

In South Dakota, working as a landscaper is not subject to a state license. Before you start any work, check the local license requirements. If you apply pesticides as part of your service, you must have a commercial pesticide applicator certification. The State Department of Agriculture will grant the license. In order to be eligible for the license, you must pass a test.

42.) Tennessee

In Tennessee, there is a requirement for a state license for landscaping work and an exam to be taken as well. If pesticide application services are provided, a pesticide applicator license is given after passing different qualifying examinations which could also include oral tests.

43.) Texas

Texas does not need landscapers to have a state license. However, you must possess a commercial pesticide applicator license if you’ll be using restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticides as part of your lawn care or landscaping service. The Texas Department of Agriculture bestows this prize. Both the general standards exam and at least one category exam, such as 3A – Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control, Landscape Maintenance, must be passed before you can proceed with offering your service.

44.) Utah

An S-330 Landscaping Contractor license is necessary to practice landscaping in Utah. This category will allow you to arrange and plant gardens, lawns, shrubs, vines, bushes, trees, or other decorative vegetation as well as prepare land for horticultural or decorative treatment. A commercial pesticide applicator license is furthermore required if you use pesticides in your landscaping or lawn care firm. You must pass a test after completing the Utah Commercial Pesticide Applicator License course.

45.) Vermont

In Vermont, there are no laws requiring the licensing of landscapers. However, you need a commercial pesticide applicator license if you use pesticides in your landscaping or lawn care firm. You must qualify on a test that the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets will conduct.

46.) Virginia

In order to work in Virginia, a landscaper must offer maintenance and lawn care services but not engage in construction, excavation, or grading work. You need a commercial pesticide applicator license from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services if you apply pesticides as part of your landscaping or lawn care service. To keep your license active, you must pass an exam and complete category-specific refresher courses every two years.

47.) Washington

In order to operate as a landscaper in Washington, you won’t need a state license, but if you use pesticides as part of your lawn service offer, you’ll need a commercial applicator pesticide license. The Washington State Department of Agriculture grants this license after you’ve passed a test and provided proof of insurance or a surety bond proving your financial stability.

48.) West Virginia

To provide lawn care or landscape maintenance as a landscaping service in West Virginia, you do not require a license. Only the preparation and change of land as well as the installation of concrete, brick, gravel, and stone require the landscape specialized contractor license. However, you will require a commercial pesticide applicator license if you use pesticides as part of your lawn care business. To be recertified, you must pass a written test and complete training.

49.) Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a state license is not required to provide landscaping services. However, you must possess a commercial pesticide applicator license from the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection if you use pesticides as part of your lawn care services. A test is mandatory to get this license.

50.) Wyoming

Wyoming has no statewide licensing requirements for landscaping services, but the Wyoming Department of Agriculture requires a commercial pesticide applicator license if you employ restricted-use pesticides in the course of your pest control service. A test must be passed to get licensed.

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