Groundskeeping is the activity of tending an area of land for aesthetic or functional purposes; typically in an institutional setting. It includes mowing grass, trimming hedges, pulling weeds, planting flowers, etc. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that more than 900,000 workers are employed in the landscape and groundskeeping services industry in the United States in 2006. Of these over 300,000 workers were groundskeepers for golf courses, schools, resorts, and public parks. Compare gardener.
A groundskeeper is a person who maintains landscaping, gardens or sporting venues (and their vegetation where appropriate) for appearance and functionality. In Britain the word groundsman (occasionally groundswoman if appropriate) or park-keeper is used much more commonly. In Australia, the word curator is often used for a person undertaking this job, especially those involving cricket pitches. At university campuses, groundskeepers are often called horticulturists. The equivalent on a golf course is a greenskeeper.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated in May 2015 that statistical group 37-3011 "Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers" numbered 895,600 with a median annual wage of $25,030. The BLS desscribes the functions of this group as "Workers typically perform a variety of tasks, which may include any combination of the following: sod laying, mowing, trimming, planting, watering, fertilizing, digging, raking, sprinkler installation, and installation of mortarless segmental concrete masonry wall units"69
A groundskeeper's job requires a wide range of knowledge of horticulture, pest control, and weed abatement. As many institutions (especially schools) are moving away from the use of chemical pesticides and toward integrated pest management the experience, knowledge and scholastic requirements of top groundskeepers are increasing. While groundskeepers usually follow a site plan created by a landscape architect, there can be many opportunities for creativity in detailed design and presentation.
Groundskeeping equipment comprise implements and vehicles used in groundskeeping, including:
Pollution from gas-powered groundskeeping equipment is a significant source of air pollution. US emission standards specifically limit emissions from small engines. Electric models produce no emissions at the point of use, but may shift pollution to power plants. Emissions may still be reduced by the use of renewable energy in grid generation, or because central power plants generally must have stricter emissions control equipment installed.
Groundskeepers have appeared occasionally as minor characters in fiction and moving images. They are usually presented as comic or peculiar characters, often exhibiting a compulsive or obsessive personality defect.
Some examples of fictional groundskeepers include:
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