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 maintenance and groundskeeping services industry in the United States in 2006. Of these over 300,000 workers were greenskeepers 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. The Football Association confers a Groundsman of the Year award. 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 describes 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".
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.
Pollution from predominantly 2-stroke gas-powered groundskeeping equipment is a source of air pollution. US emission standards specifically limit emissions from small engines, which results in their continual improvement. Electric models produce no emissions at the point of use, but may shift pollution to power plants.
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. "Fact Sheet: Fatal Injuries Among Landscape Services Workers". DHHS Publication 2008-144. October 2008. Accessed 10-22-2008.
- groundskeeper in Oxford Dictionaries Online: "North American term for groundsman."
- park-keeper in Oxford Dictionaries Online: "The caretaker of a park."
- "Groundsman of the Year", The Football Association, retrieved 2021-06-17.
- William Ralston, "'The Silicon Valley of turf': how the UK's pursuit of the perfect pitch changed football", The Guardian, 2021-06-15.
- "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015". bls.gov. 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
- Lawn Equipment | Improving Air Quality in Your Community | US EPA Archived 2009-04-28 at the Wayback Machine