Hire Reputable Professionals

Bennett Joffrion, Fletcher, Jr., Bobby H.  |  10/30/2007 1:54:52 AM

This handbook forms a solid resource for do-it-yourselfers, but what if you lack the time, desire or ability to tackle your own landscape work? Landscaping companies offer varying types of maintenance services. In Louisiana, the green industry is regulated, and professionals must carry a license from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Professionals who do landscape maintenance must have a horticulture license; those installing landscapes must have a landscape contractor license; and those drawing up landscape designs must have a landscape architect license.

Types of Maintenance Services

Fertilizer and Pest Control Companies.
Some homeowners look for a company to provide all fertilization and pesticide spraying services to their lawn and landscape. These services are provided by pest control companies, which do structural and outdoor pest control. Any business that applies pesticides to lawns and ornamentals in Louisiana must be licensed by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF). Pest control companies generally have one or more Certified Pest Control Operators, plus technicians who operate under their license. These companies will typically be on your property every other month but may not always need to apply fertilizer or pesticides. They will have you sign a contract stating exactly what they will provide. In addition to this, they should do the following:

Follow fertilization guidelines as developed by the LSU AgCenter’s Best Management Practices program. These guidelines cover fertilizer rates, sources and application timings. Fertilizers containing insecticide or herbicide (weed killer) should be avoided.

Best Management Practices: Methods that have been determined to be the most effective, practical means of preventing or reducing pollution.

Insecticide:
a pesticide that kills insects and other arthropods.

Weed: a plant out of place; weeds are troublesome because they compete with desirable plants for water, minerals and light; sometimes weeds can harbor insect pests or diseases.

Follow an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program where pest scouting and monitoring are common and pesticides are applied when other options will not control the pest. See descriptions of these options beginning on page 52. If pesticides are used, they should be applied at labeled rates, and a sign should be posted to alert you that they have applied a pesticide. When pesticides are necessary, least-toxic products should be chosen.

Landscape Maintenance Services. These companies perform a variety of services, from mowing and edging to fertilizer applications, planting, renovating, etc. They must have a LDAF Horticulture License. If a landscape maintenance service company does not hold a Commercial Pesticide Applicators license, they may not apply any pesticide, even a product you purchased, to your lawn. They should follow the fertilization guidelines as described above. They should leave grass clippings on the lawn and properly dispose of any other yard waste, whether it is used on-site as mulch or compost or is removed from the yard.

Integrated Pest Management: a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.

Pesticide: a chemical or other substance used to prevent, destroy or repel pests.

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