Job Detail

Horticulturist I - Plant Health Care

Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $37.09/hr

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University seeks a highly motivated horticulture and arboriculture professional for a  Horticulturist I - Plant Health Care (PHC) Operations role. The successful candidate will join the Arboretum's Horticulture Department in the stewardship of North America's oldest public arboretum and one of the most comprehensive and well-documented plant collections of its kind.

Position Description

The PHC Horticulturist works alongside the Arboretum's team of horticulturists, arborists, and gardeners to advise, plan, and implement the Arboretum's holistic plant health care program. The PHC Horticulturist plays a leading role in plant diagnostics, pest and disease scouting, monitoring, treatments, and other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices; soil testing, amendment recommendations, and root system investigations; and various other tree preservation measures as part of caring for the historic collections. In addition, the PHC horticulturist trains other staff on plant health care issues and tasks and works with the research community to understand the latest information. This work requires a thorough understanding of horticultural practices, plant-pest interactions, and control techniques, including performing pesticide applications. The successful applicant will have experience with application equipment, including small tractors, air spades, and sprayers, and will be able to assist with small engine maintenance as needed.

In addition, the PHC Horticulturist assists with activities across the horticultural operations and supports the Arboretum's internship training programs through the development and instruction of hands-on training and mentorship. The successful candidate is expected to fully engage in the Arboretum's professional activities and work collaboratively with colleagues on interdepartmental efforts.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions):

  • Pest and disease monitoring and management as part of a holistic IPM program
  • Weed management and lawn maintenance
  • Soil health monitoring and improvement
  • Structural pruning of young trees and maintenance pruning of shrubs and vines
  • Nursery practices, including ball-and-burlap techniques and proper planting protocols
  • Evaluate and improve landscape aesthetics
  • Maintain, repair, and operate various equipment
  • Leaf, litter, and snow management
  • Identify and assist with the repair of irrigation, drainage, and other hardscapes
  • Oversees the work of interns, apprentices, and term appointments
  • May oversee the work of Gardener I and Gardener II workers as assigned
  • Related job duties as assigned.

Hourly wage: $37.09 (higher classification and hourly wage may be considered based on candidate qualifications)

This position is:

  • full-time (40 hours per week)
  • benefits-eligible
  • considered “essential staff” for weather-related emergencies impacting the grounds
  • 100% on-site in Boston (Jamaica Plain), MA


Basic Qualifications

The Arboretum seeks to build a dynamic and diverse horticulture team and encourages all interested candidates meeting the basic qualifications to apply.

Candidates MUST meet the following basic qualifications to be considered for this role:

Bachelor's degree or Associate's Degree required. A minimum of three (3) years of experience in horticulture or a related field is required. Significant experience in ornamental horticulture may be substituted for the educational requirement.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Hiring preference for candidates with degrees in arboriculture, horticulture, or related field
  • Preference for prior experience in tree care IPM programs and other plant health care practices.
  • Maintain appropriate computerized records for equipment and grounds maintenance; order parts and supplies for grounds and equipment that the Manager has approved.
  • Demonstrate performance in the safe & proper operation of the Arboretum’s equipment

Certificates and Licenses

  • Must have and maintain a valid driver's license and DOT Medical Examiner's Certificate, which will be paid by the Arboretum as part of the pre-employment process.
  • Possess and maintain (within six months of employment and at the Arboretum's expense) a hoisting license of the proper classification as required by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Pesticide Applicator's License and either a Massachusetts Commercial Pesticide License or a Massachusetts Private Pesticide License within three years of employment. Be certified as an Arborist with the Massachusetts Arborist Association or with the International Society of Arboriculture within six months of employment.

Physical Requirements

Must be able to perform manual labor, including frequent lifting/carrying/transporting loads up to 50 lbs.

Working Conditions

Must be able to work outdoors in various plant collections and habitats in all weather conditions and during all seasons.


For more information and how to apply, see our website at:

Employer Info

125 Arborwary
Boston, Massachusetts 02130


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