Beautiful plants make us smile and keep the beautiful places in South Carolina. Most folks don’t realize that ornamentals and their management are a large portion of our agriculture industry; most just want the most beautiful yard in the neighborhood.

If you do it yourself, or even if you hire someone to do your yard work, there are many things you and the people you hire need to know.

First, the horticulture industry is ever-changing. For the professional landscaper, we have a local group of Green-industry folks called the Pee Dee Plant Professionals who have an educational meeting the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at my office in the back of the Florence County Social Services Building. Also, this week I will be attending the S.C. Green Conference & Trade Show (Jan. 21-22) at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, where Green-industry folks like landscapers, nurserymen and greenhouse growers go to stay informed and learn the best plants/procedures/techniques to make your yard excel.

I think these meetings are vital to Green-industry professionals, but their participation in such meetings also helps to guarantee that they do a top-notch job in your yard. Again, it takes much knowledge to make beautiful places.

Next, to apply chemical pesticides properly/safely/lawfully continuing education is needed. Everyone must always read and follow the label — it is the law. For the professionals, they must obtain recertification credits to maintain their pesticide license. By S.C. law, if you hire anyone to apply any type of chemical to your yard (even Roundup), they must have a commercial pesticide license. This license not only guarantees that they know how to safely apply chemicals but also indicates that they are insured if something does go wrong. This is important because “you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in your yard, and if they are not licensed or insured, you are liable if something goes wrong.” Also, by S.C. law, “Every Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator must have a yellow sticker shaped like the state of S.C. stating this on each side of their vehicle.”

Finally, many consider themselves a horticulturist if they have a lawn mower, a shovel or rake, or if they can spread fertilizer, kill a weed or stick a plant in the ground. I contend that it takes much more to do you and plants justice. Many defenseless plants have needlessly given up the ghost. Therefore, keep learning and encouraging these Green-industry folks to not only join these associations but to regularly attend these meetings. Even though it is no longer on our S.C. license plate, we need to keep our S.C. “Smiling Faces and Beautiful Places.”

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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