Landscapers Are Essential

— Written By Katy Shook
en Español / em Português

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What is an essential service? Most of us would agree that services like Food, Utility and Healthcare are essential to everyday life. But what about Landscaping? Did you know that during the pandemic shutdown, Landscaping was identified by the Department of Homeland Security as one of 13 essential industries? Agriculture and food workers were deemed critical to the health and well-being of our communities.

Green industry services, like landscape maintenance, contribute to the safety, sanitation, and operation of our local residences, businesses and buildings. In addition, nurseries and garden centers support the growth and distribution of plants used for food. The green industry is a $98 billion-dollar industry that employs more than 1 million people.

To better support the national infrastructure, landscapers and other green industry professionals maintain professional licensing. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture works with licensees to ensure that pesticide applicators protect the health, safety and welfare of the public and environment by minimizing and managing risks associated with the legal use of pesticides. The North Carolina Landscape Contractor Licensing Board works with licensees to safeguard the life, health, and property of clients and the environment by maintaining high professional industry standards. Both certifications require that participants pass an exam, pay an annual fee, and maintain continuing education. Licensees receive no fewer than 9 continuing education credits each year.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension is committed to supporting the green industry by offering practical, research based information that landscapers can use to further maintain public safety. The Albemarle Area Landscape School is an annual event hosted by area Extension offices that offers continuing education credit and professional training; this year’s event will be held February 15 – 25. For more information about the event, contact Katy Shook, Area Horticulture Agent, at (252) 482-6585.