Hiring a Pesticide/Herbicide or Fertilizer Applicator: Choose Licensed
Why Choose Licensed?
Did you know that the person you hire to apply fertilizers or pesticides (including herbicides) must be licensed in the state of Florida? Pesticide and fertilizer applicators must be licensed.
Per Chapter 482 of the Florida Statutes, commercial (for-hire) fertilizer applicators must have a valid Limited Urban Commercial Fertilizer Applicator Certificate, issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). Commercial personnel applying pesticides in yards and other landscaped areas around buildings must either work under the supervision of a licensed Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control Operator, or they must carry their own FDACS Limited Certification as either:
- Lawn & Ornamental, making applications at their own business or their employer’s property; or
- Commercial Landscape Maintenance, making applications to plant beds (not turf) on a for-hire basis.
Please note that pesticide applicators holding Limited Certifications cannot supervise unlicensed applicators. Unless they are working under the supervision of a licensed Lawn and Ornamental Pest Control Operator, the person actually making the pesticide or fertilizer application must be licensed.
Applicators working with restricted-use pesticides on golf courses, upland preserves, right-of-ways, wetlands, or lakes are governed by Chapter 487 of the Florida Statutes. They must hold a FDACS 487 license applicable to the sites in which they work. Alternatively, they may work under the supervision of a 487 license-holder.
How Can I Find Out if my Landscaper is Licensed?
To find out if your pesticide or fertilizer applicator is licensed, just ask!
What is the Value of Licensing?
Before they can become licensed, pesticide and fertilizer applicators must demonstrate basic knowledge of pesticide safety and pest control best practices. Additionally, licensed commercial (for-hire) lawn and ornamental pesticide applicators must carry insurance. After obtaining their license, landscape professionals are required to stay current with research, through continuing education. They learn how to:
- Use pesticides and fertilizers safely;
- Apply Integrated Pest Management and Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM practices to minimize the amount of pesticide, fertilizer, and irrigation needed;
- Identify common pests, so they can most effectively treat them;
- Understand how irrigation, fertilization, pruning, mowing and other landscape practices affect plant health and pest levels; and
- Protect our water resources.
If you would like to learn more about hiring licensed landscape professionals, here are some helpful resources:
- Licensing of Lawn and Ornamental Pesticide Applicators in Florida
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guidelines for Community Associations: Considerations for Selecting a Landscape Contractor and Writing an Effective Landscaping Contract
- How to Buy Pest Control Services
- Selecting a Professional Pest Control Service
- Guidance from FDACS: Obtaining a 482 License
You can also contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office for additional resources or answers to your questions. Contacts for UF/IFAS Extension Martin County are provided below.
Jennifer Pelham, Director and Urban Horticulture Agent
Landscape professionals contact:
Yvette Goodiel, Sustainability & Commercial Horticulture Agent