BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana released a new app this year for homeowners to use to find out whether someone claiming to be a landscape or horticulture professional has a state horticulture license or business permit.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry worked to develop the LDAF Business Search app, which is available for Apple and Android devices. LDAF said the app can also be used to file complaints.
“We wanted to give homeowners a convenient tool to quickly confirm if an individual holds a current horticulture license as well as file a complaint,” said Mike Strain, LDAF commissioner. “Not only are licenses required by law, properly licensed individuals have the training necessary to perform the work.”
Strain said LDAF had the idea to release an app after learning about a similar app for the board of contractors. Also, LDAF saw a need to develop the app due to increasing concern from homeowners about unlicensed horticulture professionals.
“There is always a concern – especially after a storm (or hurricane) – that unlicensed persons will be working,” Strain said. “We want to make sure everyone working is licensed and qualified to protect the public.”
About a week after the app released, LDAF reported more than 200 people have downloaded the app and LDAF expects that number to increase.
People who do routine grass mowing and edging don’t need a license in the state, according to Ansel Rankins, LDAF horticulture and quarantine programs director. “However, work such as plant bed preparation, bedding plant installation, landscape design, lawn irrigation system installation, tree trimming and fertilizer application all must be conducted by someone licensed through LDAF,” he said.
Licensees must pass a written exam. Arborists and landscape irrigation contractors also must have proper liability insurance. Some licensed professions require participation in periodic refresher training. LDAF has more information here on licensing at its website.
For landscapers to receive information about national certification, find out details on the National Association of Landscape Professional’s website here.