Powerful Geography
Ground Maintenance

Ground Maintenance

Ground Maintenance

Main Topic: Physical Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society


Overview: Grounds maintenance workers install and maintain landscapes, prune trees or shrubs, and do other tasks to ensure that vegetation is attractive, orderly, and safe. Most grounds maintenance work is done outdoors in all weather conditions. Some work is seasonal, available mainly in the spring, summer, and fall. The work may be repetitive and physically demanding, requiring frequent bending, kneeling, lifting, or shoveling. Grounds maintenance workers typically do not need a formal educational credential and are trained on the job. States may require licensing for workers who apply pesticides and fertilizers.

The following are examples of Ground Maintenance job titles:

Landscaping workers: Landscaping workers plant flowers, shrubs, trees, and other vegetation to create new outdoor spaces or to upgrade existing ones. They also trim, fertilize, mulch, and water plants. Some grade and install lawns or construct hardscapes such as walkways, patios, and decks. Others help install lighting or sprinkler systems. Landscaping workers attend to a variety of commercial and residential settings, such as apartment buildings, homes, hotels and motels, office buildings, and shopping malls.

Grounds keeping workers:  Grounds keeping workers also called groundskeepers, focus on property upkeep. Their duties include maintaining plants and trees, raking and mulching leaves, and laying sod. They also care for ornamental features, such as fountains, planters, and benches; clear snow and debris from walkways and parking lots; and tend to grounds keeping equipment. They work on many of the same settings that landscaping workers do, as well as on athletic fields, cemeteries, and other lands that need maintenance.

Grounds maintenance workers need geographic skills for various reasons. They regularly mow, water, fertilize, prune shrubs and trees, plant flowers, remove debris and aerate natural fields and ensure that the underlying soil drains properly. They also vacuum and disinfect turf to prevent growth of harmful bacteria and replace worn turf or cushioning periodically. To perform all these tasks they require to have geographic and ecological knowledge about different vegetation growing in different seasons and climate. They also need to identify diseases and other hazards that affect their work which are related to the geography of a certain place. Likewise, they need geographic skills such as geographic information systems (GIS), and other cartographic programs to map the areas of the fields they work at.

Geographers at work:  Environmental geographers and GI Scientists

Recommended College Courses:  Environmental geography, geographic information science, physical geography

Skills:  Mapping and modeling, geographic information systems, computer and database systems, spatial analysis, map reading and interpretation

Occupation Group: Building and Grounds Cleaning


Learn more about Ground Maintenance from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/building-and-grounds-cleaning/grounds-maintenance-workers.htm#tab-1

Written by Binay Thapa