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Landscape Maintenance
Information
Landscape maintenance is unregulated in Oregon and does not require a license with the State of Oregon.  However, you should check with your city or county for local license or permit requirements.  You should also check with the Secretary of State regarding registering your business name.  
 
Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (Spanish)

 

What is considered yard/landscape maintenance work? 
Landscape maintenance means trimming, some pruning, mowing, edging, placement of bark dust, application of fertilizer, adjusting sprinkler heads and programming irrigation controllers, and the upkeep of already-installed landscape projects.  It also includes the planting of outdoor pots and containers when the pots and containers can be placed without the use of power equipment when empty or filled. 
 
Do I need a Landscape Contractors Board business license to do yard/landscape maintenance? 
Landscape maintenance is not a state-regulated trade. However, you should check with your city or county for local requirements.
 
Do I need a Landscape Contractors Board business license to weed flowerbeds? 
This work is also considered maintenance work and therefore does not require you to have a landscape contracting business license.
 
May I do actual landscaping work other than maintenance without a landscape contracting business license?  
Yes, if you are performing work for a customer that during the year receives primarily landscape maintenance services from you.  However, you are limited up to $500 value (labor, materials, and other items supplied for landsapinga work at a job site) per job site, per year, and the work you do must be of a casual, minor, or inconsequential nature (see below). You are not allowed to install or repair irrigation or drainage systems, or construct or repair arbors, decks, patios, driveways, retaining walls, fences, walkways, or ornamental water features.  You are not allowed to install landscape edging, but can replace non-concrete landscape edging. An unlicensed individual or business may not advertise any landscapng work, evenif it falls under the casual, minor,or inconsequent exemption.
 
What is “casual, minor or inconsequential”? 
Casual, minor, or inconsequential work includes the replacement of trees and nursery stock with varieties that are similar in habit and culture; the replacement of existing lawns, the planting of annuals, perennials and bulbs in existing beds; the replacement of non-concrete landscape edging; the replacement of three or fewer malfunctioning or broken sprinkler heads with heads of the same or of a similar type and hydraulic equivalency; the adjustment of sprinkler head nozzles and the programming of irrigation controllers.  It does notinclude the construction of new planting areas or the construction or repair of arbors, decks, patios, driveways, fences, retaining walls, walkways, concrete landscape edging or ornamental water features.  "Casual, minor, or inconsequential" work does not inlcude the construction or repair of drainage or irrigation systems.  Any unlicensed individual or business may not advertise any landscaping work, eve if it falls under the casual, minor or inconsequential exemption.
 
May I repair irrigation/sprinkler systems that are already installed?  
Reparing of irrigation/sprinkler systems is not casual, inor, or inconsequential work.  Only a licensed landscape contracting business may install or repair irrigation/sprinkler systems. You may however, replace up to three sprinkler heads of the same or similar type and hydraulic equivalency on a system without being licensed.   This is to allow the maintenance person to replace a sprinkler head if broken while working.  Any unlicensed individual or business may not advertise any landscpaing work (incuding sprinkler head repair within the abovementioned guidelines), even if it falls under the casual, minor, inconsequential exemption.
 
May I prune or remove trees?  
You may prune trees up to 15 feet above ground level when the diameter of the limb is threeinches or less.  You may also remove trees up to 15 feet in height whenthe diameter of the tree is 4 inches or less at ground level.  Anything above that requires a Construction Contractors business license.
 
May I plant trees? 
You may plant a tree only if you are performing regular landscape maintenance for the customer and are replacing another tree with one of similar habit and culture and stay under the $500 (labor & material) limit.  Anything over $500 requires a landscape contrcting business license issued by the LCB.
  
If someone asks me to install a flowerbed or garden plot do I need to be licensed? 
Yes, unless the bed is existing and you are changing flowers ($500 limit) or planting vegetables.
 
What if I’m asked to replace a section of lawn? Do I need to be licensed? 
You may do patch repair work to fill-in or even-out the lawn area for a customer that in a calendar year receives landscape maintenance services from your buisness. This is casual, minor, or inconsequential in nature.  Keep in mind that you cannot exceed the $500 limit including the value of materials and labor.
 
What if I’m asked to repair a concrete walkway while I am doing maintenance work?
This is notconsidered maintenance work. This would require a license with the Landscape Contractors Board or the Construction Contractors Board.
 
Can I spread gravel for a walkway when it is part of the maintenance work? 
You can “refresh” the gravel, but you cannot create the walkway or install edging.
 
What if I perform over $500 worth of landscaping work, but do not charge for it, do I have to be licensed?
 No, as long as you are not compensated for that work in any way. Compensation means payment made or value received in the form of money, goods, or services in return for landscape work.  Bartering is considered compensation.
 
When does maintenance work become landscaping work that needs a license? 
The minute you begin installing (or preparing the property to install) lawns, shrubs, vines, trees and other nursery stock, or when you install or repair irrigation or drainage systems or install arbors, decks, patios, driveways, fences, retaining walls, walkways, or ornamental water features you are performing landscaping work. 
 
What if I only design landscapes and I don’t install, but I do subcontract to have the work done?
You would be required to have a landscpe contracting business license issued by thelCB in order to arrange and contract for this work.. 
 
Can I advertise for landscape maintenance?  
Yes, but there are conditions.  If the word “landscape” is included in your business namethis word must be followed by another word that clearly indicates the maintenance nature of your business such as “XYX Landscape Maintenance Company” or “XYZ Yard Care” (Landcaep Gardening" is not allowed).  You cannot advertise under the heading of "landscape contractor" or any other heading that indicates you may be a landscpe contrcting buisness in any advertising media, but you are allowed to advertise under other appropriate headings without a license.  Any unlicensed individual or business may not advertise any landscping work, even if it falls under the casual, minor or inconsequential exemtpion.
 
Do I need to be licensed to apply fertilizer or to use pesticides?  
The Landscape Contractors Board does not issue this type of license.  The Department of Agriculture issues the Pesticide Applicators Licenses.  You can contact them at 503-986-4635.
 
Can I spread bark-dust? 
Yes, this is not considered installation.
 

If you would like to apply for either your landscape construction professional license or the landscape contracting business license, you may download the applications and qualification from the forms section of our website. 
 
Tips For Advertising Your Maintenance Business
 
 
 
KEY WORDS TO AVOID USING IN YOUR ADVERTISING
(unless licensed with the Landscape Contractors Board)
 
 
landscaping (unless followed by a word such as maintenance)
landscape (unless followed by a word such as maintenance)
landscaper
install, installation
repair
plant, planting
sprinkler systems
irrigation
construction
replace lawn or sod
 
 
You may not advertise under the heading of “Landscaping” or “Landscape Contractors” in any advertising media.  You may place an ad under a heading such as “Yard Work” or “Yard Maintenance” or “Lawn Maintenance”.
 
You may use the title “landscape” in your business name, but it must be follow by something that clearly shows the maintenance nature of the business, such as “Joe’s Landscape Maintenance Company”.
 
A landscape maintenance business may not advertise for casual, minor or inconsequential work. This work includes the replacement of shrubs, vines, trees and nursery stock which are similar in habit and culture; the replacement of existing lawns, the planting of annuals, perennials and bulbs in existing beds; the replacement of non-concrete landscape edging; the replacement of three or fewer malfunctioning sprinkler heads with heads of the same or of a similar type and hydraulic equivalency.  (Only a licensed landscape contracting business may install or repair irrigation/sprinkler systems.) A maintenance business may perform this casual, minor or inconsequential work for a customer that is on contract for on going maintenance (if less than $500 for labor and material) but can not advertise for these services.
 
Examples of written advertising are:  Craigslist, business cards, telephone directory display ads, brochures, flyers
 
If you have questions about what you may or may not advertise please call the Landscape Contractors Board for clarification to avoid a civil penalty.