Horticulture News: Hiring a pro may be the best thing for your yard

By Kim Cowherd Published:

Most everyone needs a little horticultural help from time to time. We purchase flowering plants and vegetable plants from a garden store, our pesticides are purchased from the lawn center, we contract services to have our lawn mowed and maintained, our trees trimmed and there are other services the green industry provides to us.

Hiring tree, lawn and landscape services not only allows more free time for the homeowner, but provides the opportunity to have someone who is trained and knowledgeable managing your outdoor spaces.

A well-maintained lawn and landscape is an investment that can lead to increased property values. Well cared-for landscapes are attractive and add to the beauty of a certain area. Poorly maintained landscapes, lawns and trees can be a significant liability and can impact safety, aesthetics and environmental quality of the property, neighborhood or even the entire town.

Professionals have access to the appropriate equipment, tools, and chemicals that are best for making your home look its best. Also having the right tools, materials and labor can make the job more expedient and safer for all concerned.

Choosing among the many companies and stores that offer lawn, tree and landscape supplies and services can be very confusing for homeowners.


There are several types of specific green industry professionals you can choose from. Some do a little bit of everything and some specialize in a specific area.

Arborists specialize in the care of trees. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Only those trained and equipped to work safely in trees should do tree work.

Professional turfgrass managers often spend years becoming educated on proper lawn management techniques.

Landscape architects, designers and installers specialize in plant heath care and management.

These professionals attend continuing education programs to keep up to date on the latest management techniques. They do not have to have college degrees in the subjects (but they may), and there are many opportunities for green industry professionals to obtain the education, certifications and information they need.

If the company you choose is going to apply chemicals, particularly a lawn care company, they should be able to show a current card that indicates they are certified or licensed with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Division of Environmental Services. This is the law, not an option for companies applying any pesticides to your property. Companies should provide a list of any chemical that is applied to your property, along with any safety precautions you should be aware of.

Companies should carry and be able to provide evidence of current worker’s compensation and current liability insurance. This helps to protect you from potential damage or injury to workers that may happen on your property.


The homeowner should have an idea of what needs to be done before hiring someone to do any lawn, tree or landscape work. Often, there will be a knock on your door and the person on your porch tells you that your trees need to be trimmed or your lawn needs to be mowed. You should be routinely looking at your property to determine if there are problems or maintenance needs.

If you are unsure about what needs you may have, some companies will do free consultations or you can contact me (695-9035) at the Extension Office with your questions. You should schedule work in advance, plan when and how it is done by working with the company you choose.

Be sure that the company or store you would like to work with is a known entity, reputable and trustworthy. Don’t hesitate to ask for references that you can contact to check on the company’s work. Then be sure to make a couple of calls to the references to ensure you and the company are a good match. Search for the company on the internet or Facebook. Many companies now have an internet presence that can tell you a lot about the business.

Look at their equipment; is it clean and well maintained? Are there signs on their trucks that include a name, logo or contact information? Equipment doesn’t have to be new, fancy, or large, however, it should appear to be taken care of, just like you would like for the company to care for your property. The company should want to use their equipment as advertising, with their name prominently displayed in a pleasing manner.

Are the workers dressed appropriately for the work, wearing safety gear when necessary? Are they polite and knowledgeable about the work they are performing? Are there signs indicating hazardous work is being done, if needed? Does equipment have safety devices that help prevent injury to the worker and your property?


All tree, lawn, or landscape businesses do not offer the same services. The company should be able to give you a list of goods and services provided and at what cost. Also professional lawn, tree and landscape people should be able to talk about timing and seasonality of certain services with you and about individual needs for your specific situation.

Being a wise consumer is important even with lawn, garden, landscape and tree work being done by others on your property. You may pay a bit more up front, but you will be making an investment in your property for the long term.

For more information on lawn and landscape care, contact the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service, 695-9035 or email DL_CES_Franklin@email.UKy.edu.

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