Landscaper Licensing Requirements by State

landscaper state licensing requirements

Whether you are just starting off in the industry of landscaping or you are a seasoned professional, there are many aspects to learn in the landscaping business. If you have not been involved in the landscaping business for long, then you may be wondering how lucrative the business of landscaping even is.

Lawn care and landscaping is a huge industry, earning over $90 million each year. Starting a landscaping business can include anything from lawn care to flower bed maintenance, snow and ice management, or even commercial landscaping. Unsurprisingly, commercial landscaping actually makes up the largest portion of landscaping revenue and brings in $70 million dollars annually. This is typically due to businesses having larger budgets to spend on landscaping.

If you are considering starting your own landscaping business, then you have most likely learned all of the necessary skills required to actually do the work. Despite this, being a good landscaper is not the only component of a business.

Another important and crucial aspect of starting a landscaping business is licensing and insurance. These licenses vary between states, and there are also different requirements one must fulfill based upon the certain types of work you plan to perform.

This alphabetical guide by the U.S. will help you to understand the requirements for each state. In relation to “State license/Exam” at the start of each state, this is in relation to a standard state license and exam, not specialities.

Alabama

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes Alabama contractors in the landscaping industry are required to obtain a license to and take an exam in order to obtain that license.

Issued by: Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, Pesticide Management Divison

  • The Horticulture Professional Services license encompasses businesses involved in landscape design,, ornamental and turf pest control, setting of landscape plants as well as tree surgery.
  • Commercial Applicators license required.

Alaska

State license: Yes ; Exam: No In the state of Alaska, landscaping contractors are viewed as specialty contractors and a license is not required to work.

  • Pesticide Applicator Certification is required in Alaska to use pesticides. This certification requires you to pass multiple exams.
  • Twelve continuing education units are required to recertify for pesticide applicator certification.
  • This certification covers grass installation, shrubbery, ornamental plants and trees
  • $10,000 surety bond is required.
  • Proof of both general liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation insurance.

Arizona

State license: No ; Exam: No There is no state license required to work as a landscaper in Arizona. Despite this, you should verify local licensing obligations before you start working.

Issued by: Arizona Department of Agriculture There are typically only licensing requirements if you want to work with pesticides:

  • An ornamental and turf license is required.
  • You are required to pass the core exam as well as a category-specific exam.
  • You can choose from one of the following options:
    1. Need to have maintained pesticide applicator certification for two of the past ten years.
    2. Maintained pesticide applicator certification for one out of the previous ten years as well as finished 12 semester hours in a related degree.
    3. Have two years pest management experience.

Arkansas

State license: Yes ; Exam: No Landscape Contractor license is required for landscapers who work within the state of Arkansas.

Issued by: Arkansas Agriculture Department

  • Covers those who install horticultural and decorative plants
  • There are three levels of licenses determined by the size of the heelyard area that you are planning to maintain
    1. 1 to 5,000 square feet
    2. Between 5,001 to 15,000 square feet
    3. Exceeding 15,001 square feet
  • Commercial Applicator License is required to utilize restricted-use pesticides.
    • For this pesticide license, you have to pass the core exam as well as a category exam.
    • At least one time every three years, you will be required to go to an official pesticide safety meeting.

California

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes To perform landscaping work in California, you are required to obtain the state’s C-27 Landscaping Contractor license.

Licensed by: Department of Consumer Affairs through the Contractors State License Board

  • Encompasses maintenance, installation and subcontracting of landscape systems specifically for public and private gardens as well as other outdoor spaces that are designed in an effort to fundamentally improve the grounds.
  • Requires at least four total years of landscaping experience.
  • General liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation insurance is required.
  • Trade, law, and business exams are required.
  • To practice pest control, you will need to obtain a certification for Maintenance Gardener Pest Control through California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation.
    1. Requires you to pass the exam.
    2. To use restricted-use pesticides, you will have to obtain the certification to be a category B Landscape Maintenance Qualified Applicator.

Colorado

State license: No ; Exam: No Licensing is not required in the state of Colorado as long as you plan to provide only landscaping services.

  • No need for a license if providing services such as grass cutting, hedge trimming, weedeating, tree trimming or even lawn aeration.
  • Licensing may be required at the local county or city level.
  • If you want to work with pesticides you must have a Commercial Applicators license in the state of Colorado..
    • Requires a supervisor as well as proof of liability insurance.

Connecticut

State license: No ; Exam: Yes No state license is required for landscaping work in Connecticut.

  • If you plan on using pesticides, you are required to obtain a commercial supervisory certificate through Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
    • Requirements: pass an exam.

Delaware

State license: No ; Exam: No No state licensing is required to work as a landscaper in Delaware.

  • In order to apply pesticides commercially, you are required to obtain the state-issued Pesticide Business license.
    • To use restricted-use pesticides, you must obtain certification.
    • You are also required to pass the exam.

Florida

State license: No ; Exam: No Typically a license is not required to perform landscaping work in the state of Florida.

  • A Commercial Pesticide Applicator license is required if you plan on applying pesticides with restricted-use limitations in outdoor places.
    • Issued by: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
    • Pass multiple exams.

Georgia

State license: No ; Exam: No State license is not required for general landscaping.

  • License will be issued only for applying general-use as well as restricted-use pesticides.
    • Commercial Applicator license.
    • Issued by: Georgia Department of Agriculture.
    • Must pass an exam every five years.

Hawaii

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes Landscapers are required to have a state license to work in Hawaii.

  • License is considered Classification C for a specialty contractor, referred to as the C-27 Landscaping Contractor license.
  • There is also an option for a C-27b license forTree Trimming and Removal Contractor.
    • Covers the preparation of land for tree trimming, architectural horticulture, ornamental treatments, garden and plant arrangement, removal of trees, shrubbery removal, hydro mulching, rock scaping, tree pruning.
    • Requires proven history of at least four years of experience within the last ten years.
    • Requires an exam.
    • Must maintain and have proof of general liability as well as worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Pesticide use must be approved by: Hawaii’s Plant Industry Division.
    • Requires Commercial Applicator certificate in one out of a total of eleven different categories.
    • Requires an exam.

Idaho

State license: No ; Exam: No Idaho does not have a state licensure requirement for landscapers.

  • Must be registered through the State of Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses.
    • Registration is only required if performing a landscaping service exceeding $2,000.
  • Requires a fee along with proof of both general liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Regardless of whether you personally apply or simply supervise others performing pesticide application, you will need an applicator’s license
    • Must choose one category.
    • You will be required to pass an exam.

Illinois

State license: No ; Exam: No There is no state license requirement to work as a landscaper in Illinois.

  • License required to apply both restricted-use and general-use pesticides.
    • Obtain a Pesticide Applicator license through the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
    • Exam is required.

Indiana

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license is required to perform standard landscaping work.

  • You have to obtain a state license if you plan on applying fertilizers or pesticides. There are two different categories to choose from.
    1. Category 3a - Ornamental Pest Management: Allows you to use pesticides.
      • Must pass an exam
      • Required completion of 15 hours of continuing certification.
    2. Category 3b, Turf Management: May use fertilizers as well as pesticides on land
      • Must pass an exam
      • Must either complete the State Chemist approved training program, work at least 90 days as a registered technician,, work at least 1 year in any single category as a licensed applicator, or finish the two-year turf program.
      • 20 hours of continuing certification are required annually
  • Licenses awarded by the Office of Indiana State Chemist

Iowa

State license: No ; Exam: No There is no state license required to perform standard landscaping work in Iowa.

  • If you plan on applying pesticides, you will need a state-issued Commercial Applicator license. Options:
    • 3T- Turf Pest
    • 3O- Ornamental Pest
    • 3OT- Ornamental and Turf Pest
    • Must pass the exam

Kansas

State license: No ; Exam: No There are no license requirements for landscaping work in Kansas.

  • If you plan on applying pesticides you have to obtain the business license in your specific work category
    • Categories include ornamental pest control or interior landscape.
    • Licensing for Commercial Certified Pesticide Applicator required
    • Exam required.

Kentucky

State license: No ; Exam: No Kentucky does not require a state license for landscaping work.

  • A license is required to apply fertilizers and pesticides.
    • Issued through Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture
    • Exam required
    • Continuing education is required

Louisiana

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes Landscapers are required to obtain a state license in Louisiana to perform work.

  • Multiple licenses options
  • Licenses are issued by the Horticulture Commission of Louisiana through the Department of Agriculture and Forestry
    • Landscape Horticulturist License: Exam required.
    • Arborist License: Different activities related to trees, an exam is required. You also must hold liability insurance and attend continuing education classes.
  • If you obtain the Ground Owner Operator license, then you can apply pesticides
    • Assigned by: Louisiana’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
    • Exam required.
    • Must have proof of a bond.

Maine

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license is required to be a landscaper in Maine.

  • If you want to apply pesticides you will need a licence.
    • Issued by: Board of Pesticides Control - Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
    • Must pass an exam.
    • Must have insurance
    • Must complete continuing education courses

Maryland

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes To perform landscaping work in Maryland, you must obtain the home improvement license specifically for landscaping and sod installation.

  • Home improvement license includes any area directly next to buildings
    • At least two years of experience required
    • Liability insurance
    • Must pass the exam
    • License awarded by: Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
  • If you plan to apply any pesticides, you must have a certification for pest control application.
    • Required to obtain the pesticide business license
    • Have at least one full year of experience in practical pesticide application.
    • Another option is to hold a degree related to this
    • Have to pass the exam

Massachusetts

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license is required to perform landscaping work in Massachusetts.

  • If you plan on applying pesticides through your landscaping business, you will have to obtain a pesticide applicator license.
    • Provided by: Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources- The Pesticide Program
    • Have to pass the required exam
    • Must hold insurance
    • Continuing education is required

Michigan

State license: No ; Exam: No A state license is not required to perform landscaping work in Michigan.

  • To apply pesticides certification is required.
  • Awarded by: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
  • Must pass the exam.

Minnesota

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes There is no state license requirement, but a Landscape Specialist certification is required for landscapers by the state’s Department of Transportation.

  • Certification is required to install plants or to oversee plant installation..
  • Course completion is required.
  • Must pass the required exam.
  • To use pesticides, you must obtain a pesticide applicator license
    • Must pass exam
    • Must hold insurance

Mississippi

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes There is no license needed in Mississippi to perform basic lawn care and maintenance. It is very important to note you cannot advertise for landscaping services if you do not pass the test and hold a license. Therefore you must have a license to truly be a landscaper.

  • Lawn maintenance includes grass mowing and fertilizing
  • Tue landscaper offers two distinct licenses:
    1. Landscape Horticulturist License
      • Must pass a required exam
      • Must hold a bond of a minimum of $1,000.
    2. License for Tree Surgery required for anything to do with trees or shrubs
      • Must pass the required exam
      • Hold general liability insurance and show proof when requested.
      • Licenses awarded by The Bureau of Plant Industry
  • To be able to apply restricted-use pesticides - Must pass an exam

Missouri

State license: No ; Exam: No There are no state required licenses needed to perform landscaping work in Missouri.

  • To apply pesticides must hold license
    • Awarded by: Missouri Department of Agriculture.
    • Must pass exams
    • Must have insurance

Montana

State license: No ; Exam: No A state license is not required to perform any landscaping work in Montana.

  • License is required for pesticide application.
    • Awarded by: Montana’s Department of Agriculture.
    • Must pass exams
    • Must obtain and hold liability insurance

Nebraska

State license: No ; Exam: No Nebraska does not require any state licensing for landscaping work.

  • To apply pesticides you need a license
    • Issue by: Nebraska Department of Agriculture
    • Fourteen distinct categories as well as four subcategories of this certification
    • Must pass multiple exams

Nevada

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes Nevada requires a state license to perform any landscaping work exceeding $1,000.

  • No license needed to work as a basic lawn maintenance business
  • To do other forms of landscaping work, a license is needed.
  • C-10 Landscape Contracting license
    • Issued through the Nevada State Contractors Board
    • Must have at least four years experience within the previous ten years.
    • Pass multiple exams
    • Must have insurance
  • To apply pesticides that have restricted-use
    • Have to obtain certification through Department of Agriculture
    • Must pass the required exam

New Hampshire

State license: No ; Exam: No Landscapers are not required to obtain a state license in New Hampshire.

  • If you plan on applying pesticides you have to obtain the state’s Pesticide Applicator License
  • Acquired through the Division of Pesticide Control- New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food.
  • Must successfully complete the required 16-hour training course
  • Must pass required exams
  • You must have liability insurance

New Jersey

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes License required for landscapers, but only if taking care of trees.

  • Issued through New Jersey’s Board of Tree Experts
    • Covers all aspects involved with trees.
    • College degree as well as at one year experience preferred
    • At least three years of experience
    • Completion of a two-year college course
    • You must pass the required exam
  • To apply pesticides, you need a license
    • Awarded by: Department of Environmental Protection.
    • Must pass exams
    • Completion of 40 hours of job-specific training.

New Mexico

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license needed to perform landscaping work in New Mexico, however, a local license may be required at the county level.

  • Pesticides application requires a license
    • Awarded by: New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
    • Two years experience required with pesticides; or
    • 20 hours of college-level credits with at least one full year of pesticide-related experience.
    • Must pass multiple exams
    • Must hold insurance.

New York

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license needed to perform landscaping work in New York.

  • To work with pesticides you must have a commercial applicator license.
    • Awarded by: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
    • Within the previous five years, must have experience either as a pesticide application technician, an apprentice, or involved in pesticide sales and distribution.
    • You must pass multiple exams
  • To achieve the certification of a commercial pesticide technician, you must complete one of these options:
    • An approved 30-hour course; or
    • 2 year Associate’s degree in a related field; or
    • Two years experience as a pesticide technician’s apprentice
    • Multiple passing of exams are required for any of these options.

North Carolina

State license: No ; Exam: No North Carolina does not require a license for land clearing or grading, sod installation, arboriculture, lawn care, lawn mowing or turf care.

  • Must hold a state contract in North Carolina for any standard work
    • Must hold insurance.
    • Must pass the required exam.
  • To apply pesticides in North Carolina, you must obtain a pesticide applicator license.
    • Issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
    • Must pass the required exam.

North Dakota

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license needed to perform landscaping work in North Dakota.

  • Pesticide applicator license required
    • Must pass exams
    • Must have insurance

Ohio

State license: No ; Exam: No Ohio does not require licensing for landscapers.

  • To apply any form of pesticides in Ohio, you will need to obtain a commercial applicator license.
    • Must pass the required exam.

Oklahoma

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license needed to perform landscaping work in Oklahoma.

  • License to apply pesticides is needed.
    • Commercial pesticide applicator license
    • Given by: Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
    • You must pass the required exams.

Oregon

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes A state license is required to perform landscaping work in the state of Oregon.

  • No license needed for basic lawn care or for landscaping maintenance.
  • License: landscape construction professional license.
    • You must pass multiple exams.
    • Must maintain and be able to prove ownership of insurance and bonds.
  • To apply pesticides, you will be required to obtain a commercial applicator license through the state.
    • Must pass multiple tests, including a safety and law-related exam..

Pennsylvania

State license: No ; Exam: No A landscaping license is not required in the state of Pennsylvania to work as a landscaper..

  • To work with pesticides, you will be required to obtain a commercial applicator license,
    • Offered by: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
    • Must pass one of 25 category exams.
    • Regular attendance of training programs and updates is mandatory..

Rhode Island

State license: No ; Exam: Yes Rhode Island does not require state-issued licensing for landscapers.

  • To work with a pesticides license required.
    • Awarded by: Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management - Division of Agriculture.
    • Training course required.
    • Must pass multiple exams
    • Must obtain and keep valid liability insurance.

South Carolina

State license: No ; Exam: Yes No state license for landscapers is needed.

  • License required to use pesticides.
    • Must pass multiple exams.
    • Show proof of liability insurance.
    • License is awarded by: Department of Pesticide Regulation.

South Dakota

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license needed to perform landscaping jobs in South Dakota.

  • Pesticide applicator certification is required if you plan on working with pesticides.
    • The license will be awarded by: State Department of Agriculture.
    • You are required to pass the examination.

Tennessee

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes Tennessee requires a special state license to perform landscaping work.

  • HRA-E.2 Landscaping license
    • Encompasses lawn care, sod installation, seeding, and general-use pesticide application.
    • Must pass multiple exams related to the legal and business aspects of landscaping,
    • Must show proof of insurance.
  • Separate category for landscaping contractors
  • Pesticide license available and required for applying restricted-use pesticides.
    • You will be required to pass multiple exams.
    • In some cases an oral exam may be required.

Texas

State license: No ; Exam: No Texas does not require state licensing for landscapers.

  • Pesticide Applicator license is required for the application of pesticides.
    • Awarded by: Texas Department of Agriculture.
    • Must pass multiple pesticide-specific tests.

Utah

State license: Yes ; Exam: No Landscaping license is required in the state of Utah.

  • S-330: Landscaping Contractor license
    • Allow landscapers to prepare land for aesthetic and function improvements.
    • No exam requirement
  • To apply pesticides in Utah, a special license is required.
    • Utah’s Commercial Pesticide Applicator License course must be completed.
    • Must pass a test.

Vermont

State license: No ; Exam: No Vermont does not require a specific license for landscapers.

  • Commercial Pesticide applicator license required.
  • You must pass the required exam.
  • Exam given by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

Virginia

State license: No ; Exam: No Virginia does not require licensure for basic lawn care and maintenance services.

  • Pesticide license required.
    • Given by: Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
    • Must pass an exam.
    • Must complete continuing education courses to keep license active.

Washington

State license: No ; Exam: No No state license for landscapers is needed.

  • Pesticide-specifc license is required: Commercial Pesticide Applicator license
    • Awarded by: Washington State Department of Agriculture.
    • You must pass the required exam.
    • Must demonstrate financial stability.

West Virginia

State license: No ; Exam: No No license is needed in West Virginia to practice lawn care, maintenance or landscaping.

  • Landscape specialty license required.
    • This license is needed to work on landscaping, install concrete, brick or other forms of stone.
  • Pesticide license required..
    • Must pass the required written exam.
    • Must take recertification training.

Wisconsin

State license: No ; Exam: No You do not need a state license to perform landscaping work in Wisconsin.

  • Pesticide applicator license is required if you plan on using pesticides
    • Offered by: State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
    • You must pass the required exam.

Wyoming

State license: Yes ; Exam: Yes There are no state landscape license requirements in Wyoming.

  • Restricted-use pesticide license required.
    • Issued by: Wyoming Department of Agriculture.
    • Must pass the required exam.



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