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Custom Ground Pest Control - Ornamental and Turf Certification

All persons using pesticides professionally in Connecticut must possess an up-to-date certificate issued by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

An applicant for the ornamental and turf pest control certificate is expected to possess a working knowledge of the kinds of operations performed by the ornamental and turf applicator and the reasons for performing them. Outlined below are areas in which an applicant should be proficient.

Identification and Diagnosis

The applicant should:

  1. Know the healthy form of the common plants found in the region, their appearance and rate of growth under normal and abnormal conditions.
  2. Know the factors involved in maintaining the plants health and appearance in order to anticipate and prevent damage from various causes.
  3. Understand the functions of the various parts of the plant, such as leaves, stems, roots, etc., and be able to determine if these functions are being properly performed.
  4. Be able to identify and diagnose problems on the common plants found in the region. Such plants and problems include but are not limited to:

Herbaceous Ornamentals
Ajuga Impatiens
Begonia Iris
Chrysanthemum Marigold
Dahlia Pachysandra
Fern Petunia
Flowering bulbs (spring and summer) Salvia
Geranium Vinca minor (myrtle, periwinkle)
Woody Ornamentals
Arborvitae Hemlock
Barberry Holly
Bittersweet Honeysuckle
Boston Ivy Japanese Honeysuckle
Boxwood Juniper (shrubs, groundcover)
Cotoneaster Lilac
Dogwoods Mt. Laurel
English Ivy Pieris
Euonymous (shrubs and ground cover) Privet
Flowering crab, almond, cherry Rhododendron and Azalea
Flowering quince Spirea
Forsythia White Pine
Hawthorn Yew (Taxus)
Weeds found in turf
Annual blue grass Plantain (narrow, broad)
Bent grass Purslane
Black medic Pussytoes
Chickweed (smooth, hairy) Red sorrel
Cinquefoil Sedge
Clover Shepard's purse
Crabgrass Spurge
Dandelion Tall fescue
Goosegrass Thistle
Ground Ivy Violet
Hawkweed Wild onion
Heal-all Wild Strawberry
Henbit Wood sorrel
Knotweed Yellow rocket
Moss Zoysia grass
Weeds found among shrubs
Bindweed Mullen
Blackberry Poison ivy
Chrysanthemum weed Pokeweed
Goldenrod Quackgrass
Horsetail Ragweed
Japanese bamboo Staghorn sumac
Lamsquarter Wild carrot
Mallow Yellow foxtail
  1. Recognize the symptoms of and agents responsible for any injuries, abnormalities and weaknesses. These agents include insects, animal pests, fungal, bacterial and viral diseases, unsuitable soil, wind, frost, snow and ice, fumes, and include, but are not limited to the following:

Turf Insect Pests
Bluegrass billbug Sod webworm
Chinchbug White grubs
Hyperodes weevil
Other Turf Pests
Birds Fleas
Moles Ants
Skunks Ticks
Turf Diseases
Brown patch Powdery mildew
Dollar spot Red thread
Leaf spots Rust
Melting out Snow molds
Patch diseases Stripe smut
Pythium blight Summer Patch
Insect Pests of Ornamentals
Dogwood borer Lilac borer
Iris borer Rhododendron borer
Black vine weevil Rose Chafer
Japanese beetle
Arborvitae leafminer Boxwood leafminer
Azalea leafminer Holly leafminer
Clover mites Spider mites
Eriophyid mites Two spotted mites
Sucking Insects
Aphids Leafhoppers
Cooley spruce gall aphid Mealybugs
Eastern spruce gall aphid Soft shell scale
Hard shell scale Spittlebugs
Hemlock wooly adelgid Tarnished plant bug
Lacebugs Whiteflies
Diseases of Ornamentals
Anthracnose Rust
Botrytis Scab
Galls Twig blight or dieback
Leaf spots Verticillium wilt
Powdery mildew

Physiological Disorders

Air pollution damage Root injury from mechanical or chemical causes
Blasting of flower buds Spray injury
Moisture stress Temperature stress (winter injury, ice damage)
Nutrient imbalance
Cutworms Mushrooms
Dodder Nematodes
Dog damage Pine sawfly
Fairy rings Slime molds
Leafrollers and leaftiers Slugs
Mole crickets
  1. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the characteristics and effects of the pesticides used including but not limited to:

    Acclaim Momentum
    Bensulide Oxyfluren (Goal)
    Bentazone Pelargonic acid (Scythe)
    2,4-D (amine and ester) Pendimethalin (Pre-M, Pro Turf)
    Dicamba (Banvel) Picloram (Tordon)
    Dithiopyr (Dimension) Prometon (Pramitol)
    Ethofumesate (Prograss) Prodiamine (Barricade)
    Glufosinate-amonium (Finale) Pronamide (Kerb)
    Glyphosate (Roundup) Sethoxydim (Poast)
    Halosulfuron-methyl (Manage Herbicide) Siduron (Tupersan)
    Isoxaben (Gallery) Triclopyr (Garlon, Turflon)
    Isoxaben + oryzalin (Snapshot) Triclopyr + clopyralid (Confront)
    MCPP (mecoprop) Trifluralin (Treflan, Team)
    Mefluidide (Embark)
    Acephate (Orthene) Imidacloprid (Merit)
    Bacillus popillae (Milky spore) lambda-Cyhalothrin (Demand)
    Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) Lamda-Cyhalothrin (Scimitar)
    Bifenthrin (Talstar) Malathion
    Carbaryl (Sevin) Oils (dormant, Hort., Superior)
    Cyfluthrin (Baythroid, Tempo) Oxythioquinox (Morestan)
    Diflubenzuron Permethrin (Ambush, Pounce)
    Dimethoate (Cygon) Phosmet (Imidan)
    Fluvalinate (Mavrik) Spinosad (Conserve)
    Halofenoxide (Mach II) Triclorfon (Dylox)
    Azoxystrobin (Heritage) Iprodione (Chipco 26019)
    Bayleton Mancozeb
    Captan Mancozeb (Dithane, Fore)
    Chlorothalanil (Bravo, Daconil) Metalaxyl (Subdue)
    Chlorothalanil + Fenarimol (Twosome) Myclobutanil (Eagle)
    Fenarimol (Rubigan) Propamocarb Hydrochloride (Banol)
    Fosetyl-aluminum (Aliette) Propiconazole (Banner)
    Imibenconazole (Manage) Vinclozolin (Touche EG)
    for birds for deer

Outlined below are responses to some questions which have arisen concerning what activities are permitted through the structural (General Pest, etc.) and outdoor (Ornamental and Turf) certifications and the arborist license.

  1. Generally, any pesticide application indoors belongs with the structural certifications. Controlling pests on plants indoors will be permitted with the interior plantscape certification.
  2. Outdoor pesticide applications with a structural certification would be permitted in situations such as:
    1. for termite or rodent control if the applicator holds a termite or rodent certification;
    2. for control of structural pests that enter from outside, such as clover mites or earwigs, on the outside foundation of the house and on grass in the immediate vicinity of the foundation; and 
    3. for wasps if the nest is in the immediate vicinity of the house.
  3. Outdoor pesticide applications with a structural certification would not be permitted for insects that are only casually a pest indoors. For example: 
    1. if a heavy flight of aphids is bothersome to people on a porch, a structural certificate holder would not be allowed to spray the plants in the yard from which the aphids came; or
    2. if wood roaches are coming to lights on a porch, a structural certificate holder would not be allowed to treat outside areas.
  4. The ornamental and turf certificate holder could also:
    1. spray for clover mites or earwigs on the outside foundation of the house, but not within the house;
    2. spray for ticks outdoors; and 
    3. control Canada geese on a lawn using general use repellents.
The division between the arborist license and the ornamental and turf certification is as follows:
  1. A tree is defined as a single stem plant which at maturity reaches more than 5 meters high. The application of a pesticide to anything matching this description can be treated by the arborist.
  2. Generally, any plants that can be reached from the ground with hand operated equipment (not a backpack mist blower) can be treated by the ornamental and turf applicator.
  3. The Connecticut Pesticide Control Act states that the arborist is to treat fruit trees. If a dwarf fruit tree (e.g. crabapple) is used primarily as a small ornamental then either may treat. If the dwarf trees are used for edible fruit production or are in an orchard, they are to be treated by the arborist.
  4. If an uncertified nurseryman plants a shrub or trees on a customer’s property, he may treat that plant to protect his guarantee, if the guarantee is included in the original price of the plant, he may not charge an additional fee for this service.


  • If there are dogwood borers in some shrubby dogwoods, who would be permitted to treat?   The borer could be treated by either the arborist or ornamental and turf applicator in the course of his other work about the yard.
  • If hemlocks are pruned into a hedge, who would be permitted to treat? This would be within the province of the ornamental and turf certification.

How Poisonous are Pesticides

Useful Telephone Contacts

Reference Material:

  1. Required and Additional Study Materials for Pesticide Supervisors

  2. "Turfgrass Nutrient and Integrated Pest Management Manual" edited by Timothy Abbey -Click on book title

  3. "Integrated Pest Management for Insects and Related Pests on Ornamental Plants: A Guide for Arborists and Grounds Keepers" Order number 94-16 
    Available from: University of Connecticut

  4. Pesticide Applicator Training Manual - Ornamentals and Turf (Category 3)
    Available from: Universtiy of Cornell

  5. "The New UMASS Extension Management Guide For Woody Ornamentals" includes: 2001-2002 edition of "The Professional Management Guide for Insects, Diseases, and Weeds of Trees and Shrubs" AND/OR "Strategies for Plant Health Management of Woody Ornamentals"

Sample Questions:

The following sample questions may have more than one correct answer:

  1. Insects that feed on grass roots include:
    1. Japanese beetle larvae
    2. sod webworms
    3. chinch bugs
    4. white grubs
  2. Milky spore disease
    1. principally infects Kentucky bluegrass
    2. is an infectious disease of the Japanese beetle
    3. only occurs in cool damp weather
    4. gives a white milky appearance to the infected host
  3. Pesticides that particularly affect the acetylcholine of nerve junctions are:
    1. phenoxy herbicides
    2. organophosphates
    3. chlorinated hydrocarbons
    4. dinitrophenols
  4. Early symptoms of pesticide poisoning may include:
    1. headache
    2. dizziness
    3. nausea
    4. restlessness
  5. How much pesticide containing 20% active ingredient must be used to provide two pounds of actual chemical per acre?
    1. 2
    2. 5
    3. 10
    4. 20

Contact Information for Ornamental & Turf Certification Classes

Candace Bartholomew at UConn Cooperative Extension (860) 409-9067
Candace has classes in the fall from October through December, and in winter from January through March.

David Tovar at Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford. David has classes with Spanish language support available. His classes are in English and emphasizes that the exam is in English. (203) 622-6650.  David has winter classes from January through March.

Michael Belletzkie at Bartlett Arboretum in Stamford (203) 883-4035, or Email at Mike has winter classes from January through March.

Mark Kokinchak, Location:  Southbury Parks and Recreation, 561 Main ST South, Southbury, CT.   Classes are offered Mondays and Thursdays January 6, 2020 through February 3, 2020 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm (No class 1/20/20). Brochure  If you have questions, Mark's cell is 203-903-7708 or email at:

For more information, please call the Pesticide Management Program at (860) 424-3369 or email or write to:

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance
Pesticide Management Program
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127

Pesticide Certification

Content Last Updated on September 24, 2019