A groundsman cares for a lawn by eliminating weeds and pests while maintaining the grass and other plants. In addition, he or she is usually tasked with carrying out a landscape architect’s site plan. The lawn is often a sports field or the grounds of an educational or commercial institution. Depending on jurisdiction and the purpose of the lawn, the groundsman may also be known as a groundskeeper, horticulturist, or greenskeeper.
Colleges and universities often employ groundsmen to maintain the grass, flowers, and trees. This job may include keeping sidewalks free of weeds and picking up litter left by students. When a school or other institution has more than a couple acres to maintain, multiple groundsmen may be hired. In this case, they usually work in teams, with one person appointed head groundsman.
On a golf course, a groundsman’s primary job is to maintain the green by regularly mowing, fertilizing and irrigating it. Groundsmen also scout for pests and take preventative measures against them. Before golfers are let onto the course, groundsmen usually arrange the flags and markers for play. This job is typically managed by a golf course superintendent.
In parks and cemeteries, a groundsman’s job may include caring for playground equipment, statues, and buildings. Regular repairs and a fresh coat of paint might be necessary for playground equipment and cemetery benches. In addition, groundsmen are often tasked with cleaning up dead flowers and wreaths. In some cases, restrooms also must be cleaned and maintained and are usually unlocked for visitors in the morning and locked again at night.
The education requirement of groundsmen varies from job to job. In most cases, no formal education is necessary and the worker is trained on-site. Other cases may require formal education or significant experience in specialized work. For example, many universities opt for alternatives to chemical pesticides due to the inherent health hazards. In this case, the groundsman might need to know how to rid and prevent the return of pests in natural, or at least safer, ways.
Groundsman jobs are often physically draining and dangerous due to the equipment and chemicals used. In fact, some groundsman jobs require working near power lines or cutting down large trees. Maintaining a steady stream of work in this demanding field may prove challenging because most tasks are seasonal. Job opportunities in winter, however, are sometimes available for shoveling snow and caring for evergreen plants. Other winter season tasks may include collecting litter, erecting snow fences, and maintaining heated pools.