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Essential Competencies


Introduction to the NPS Organic Act, the park and its Statement for Management or General Management Plan for specific types of vegetation management such as Natural, Cultural, Development or Special Use.

I. General seasonal gardening and grounds maintenance.

A.Assist crew in daily operations with close supervision and training in the proper and safe use of seasonal equipment.
1. Lawn and Turf Maintenance
a. Mowing
b. Fertilizing
c. Irrigation
d. Aeration
e. Renovation
2. Planting and Culture of Trees
a. Methods of Tree Establishment
b. Planting Seasons
c. Tree Size and Quality
d. Landscape Installation
e. Tree Protection
3. Planting and Culture of Shrubs and Groundcovers
a. General Planting Procedures
b. General Plant Maintenance and Care
c. Groundcovers


All Competencies at the Entry Level, plus:

I. Accomplishment of above tasks with little or no direct supervision. Completed tasks are inspected by supervisor.

A. Intermediate Gardener Training
1. Planting and Culture of Floral Display
a. Bed Planning and Preparation
b. Annuals
c. Bulbs
d. Plant Spacing
2. Lawn and Turf Establishment
a. Species and Variety Selection
b. Soil Preparation
c. Turf Propagation
3. Pest Management
a. Pesticide Policy and Integrated Pest Management
b. Pesticide Review Process
c. Pest Management in Turfgrass
4. Meadow Management
a. Location of Meadows
b. Starting a Meadow
c. Meadow Management
d. Concerns/Questions
5. Irrigation Systems
a. Sprinkler Repair and Maintenance


All Competencies at the Entry and Developmental Levels, plus

I. Independent Project Accomplishment including, planning of gardener/grounds sequence requirements, and continued training in the following:

1. Vegetation Management Zones
a. Natural
b. Cultural
c. Development
d. Special Use
2. Soil and Soil Management
a. Texture and Structure
b. Water and Water Movement
c. Soil Fertility
d. Soil Reaction
e. Soil Testing
f. Erosion Control
3. Pools and Aquatic Plants
a. Management of ornamental Pools and Ponds
b. Winterization of Constructed Water Bodies
c. Management of Architectural Pools and Fountain Systems
d. Plants for Aquatic Use
4. Visual Quality and Quality of Design
a. Design
b. Construction
c. Post-Construction
d. Maintenance of Visual Quality

National Park Service
Training and Development Division
Essential Competencies

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