A new mobile horticulture application makes it easier to verify individuals claiming to be landscaping or other horticulture professionals, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said.

The new mobile app, LDAF Business Search, may be downloaded for free at the iTunes and Google Play stores. Within the app, users can verify a horticulture license, permit of a business or file a complaint.

"We wanted to give homeowners a convenient tool to quickly confirm if an individual holds a current horticulture license as well as file a complaint," Strain said. "Not only are licenses required by law, properly licensed individuals have the training necessary to perform the work."

Licensees must pass a written exam administered by LDAF, demonstrating proficiency in their profession. Also, arborists and landscape irrigation contractors must possess proper liability insurance and some licensed professions require participation in periodic refresher training through continuing education.

LDAF Horticulture and Quarantine Programs Director Ansel Rankins said routine grass mowing and edging do not require licensed individuals. "However, work such as plant bed preparation, bedding plant installation, landscape design, lawn irrigation system installation, tree trimming and fertilizer application all must be conducted by someone licensed through LDAF."

For those without access to a mobile device, horticulture license verification will still be available on the LDAF website at www.ldaf.state.la.us or by calling the Horticulture and Quarantine Programs division at (225) 952-8100.