Louisiana homeowners should use only licensed landscape horticulturists, arborists and landscape irrigation contractors when doing major landscaping work at their homes or businesses, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said in a news release.

“Every spring and summer, so-called yard specialists claiming to be landscaping professionals begin making the rounds in local neighborhoods offering bargain basement deals for yard work,” Strain said. “Many have little or no training and their work is often substandard, producing less than desirable outcomes and sometimes downright disasters.”

“All arborists, landscape horticulturists and landscape irrigation contractors must be licensed by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry,” Strain said.

Oversight of these professionals is through the LDAF’s Horticulture and Quarantine Programs division.

Strain advised that homeowners ask to see a license issued by LDAF before allowing any work to be done on their property. Homeowners also should ask arborists, landscape horticulturists and landscape irrigation contractors for references before engaging their services and should follow up by checking those references.

Licensed arborists and landscape irrigation contractors must also have current liability insurance before a license is issued, Strain said.

Residents can call (225) 952-8100 to ask whether a landscape horticulturist, landscape irrigation contractor or arborist is properly licensed.