Gardener and Assistant Arborist

Job description

Gardener and Assistant Arborist

Smith College

Botanic Garden


The Smith College Botanic Garden is seeking an experienced and versatile Gardener and Assistant Arborist (horticulturist) to work with our staff to maintain the health, aesthetics, and safety of the entire accessioned campus landscape with a special emphasis on Capen and Trudy’s Gardens (, and the campus Arboretum.  The ideal candidate will have the expertise to design, renovate, plan and install new perennial beds in designated main gardens as well as the skills and knowledge to perform all aspects of plant health care for our campus landscape collections and arboretum.  The ideal candidate will also need the enthusiasm, flexibility and skills to engage with and provide a supportive, edifying environment for the Smith College community and other users of our living collections. The ability to successfully engage with students through our internship, work-study, and curriculum support programs will be essential to success in this position.

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS: With guidance from the Landscape Curator, work independently and with other Botanic Garden staff to maintain the health, aesthetics, and safety of the entire accessioned campus landscape with a special emphasis on Capen Garden, Trudy’s Garden, and the campus Arboretum. During cold weather months, work with the Chief Arborist to perform tree work in accordance with the Botanic Garden’s Tree Risk Management Plan. Regularly supervise, mentor, train, collaborate with, and serve as a resource for interns, work study students, faculty, and researchers who wish to use the collections for research, education, conservation, and recreation. As needed, assist with other landscape care projects and events as assigned by the Landscape Curator or Director.


●Independently maintain Capen Garden, Trudy’s Garden and other garden beds to a high aesthetic standard. Apply horticultural knowledge to maintain healthy plants through plant selection, soil management, watering, fertilization, plant placement, weeding, mowing, pest/disease treatments, and all other appropriate interventions. Ensure garden infrastructure, structures, and hardscaping are in good repair and communicate deficiencies to appropriate personnel. 

●Assist Chief Arborist with all aspects of woody plant care, including tree risk assessment, pest and disease control, pruning and other interventions, debris removal, construction mitigation, aerial tree work and ground support, and assisting/coordinating activities of contracted specialty tree care.

●Design, plan, renovate, and install new plantings. Consult college policies, Collection Policy priorities, Botanic Garden educational objectives, and strategic planning goals to guide selection of plant materials, design of spaces, and installation of associated infrastructure. 

●Maintain accurate plant records in the collections database, GIS database, and related record keeping systems. Inventory, install, and replace plant tags in garden spaces. Follow protocols for accessioning, deaccessioning, inventorying, and moving plants. Enable the work of the Manager of Living Collections through regular communication.

●Coordinate activities and projects with other Botanic Garden staff to ensure efficient and timely completion of work. Create and assess work plans that optimize collection health, campus aesthetics, safety, time management, and efficient use of resources. Assist other gardeners, horticulturalists, and facilities staff with projects as needed.

●Contribute to integrated pest management strategies and solutions. Scout for pests and diseases.

●Maintain plantings in a way that minimizes the need for chemical interventions. Take necessary steps to manage pest and disease issues including applying pesticides in compliance with all state and federal regulations. Stay current on emerging pests and pathogens and their detection, treatments, and prevention. 

●Enable research, education, and student engagement at the Botanic Garden. Provide a supportive experiential learning environment for interns, work-study students, and those using the garden for scholarship or recreation. Supervise, mentor, train, collaborate with, and serve as a resource for students, interns, and work study students. Facilitate access to the collections, gardens, and arboretum for research, education, conservation, and recreation.

●Maintain accurate inventories of supplies, tools, work spaces, and materials. Ensure that tools and work spaces are safe, secure, and functional. Make service requests or schedule specialist’s services when needed.

●Communicate purchasing needs and budget requests to supervisor. Obtain estimates for products, services, and materials.

●Perform duties related to garden and conservatory collection maintenance, collection management, curation, and botanic garden operations as required for the Botanic Garden to thrive. Drive pick up truck when needed.



●Bachelor’s Degree in horticulture, arboriculture, or a related field.  Minimum of three years of experience in horticulture with an emphasis on arboriculture and perennial garden design and maintenance. 

●ISA Arborist Certification is preferred and required within 18 months of hire date. ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification Certification required within 12 months of eligibility date.

●Extensive knowledge of identification, cultivation, and aesthetic presentation of annuals, perennials and woody plants appropriate for gardens in the local climate. A test will be given to confirm plant identification skills.

●Extensive knowledge of proper maintenance and pruning techniques for woody plants, and knowledge and understanding of the Z133 ANSI regulations in the landscape and arboricultural fields, to be tested by interview.  Demonstrated ability to design garden beds and planting preferred.


●Valid driver’s license required. Must complete and comply with all College driving credentialing requirements. Upon award of this position, a Division of Motor Vehicles background check will be completed.

●Massachusetts Core Applicator or Private Applicator License within 6 months of hire. A Core ●Applicator License must be upgraded to a Private Applicator License within 2.5 years of hire.

●Ability to understand written and verbal instructions.

●Ability to use horticultural chemicals, hand tools, general horticultural equipment, machinery, power tools (including a chainsaw) and materials safely and effectively.

●Ability to independently make sound and correct decisions on the care of garden plants and shrubs.

●Ability to maintain accurate records, maps, and plant labels using Botanic Garden software, computer equipment, and printing/engraving equipment.

●Ability to send and receive email in a timely manner.

●Willingness to adapt to modern technology, methodologies, and updates in the scientific literature.

●Ability to work with others as a team to complete priority projects as they arise.

●Ability to supervise student workers, interns, and other labor.

●Ability to climb a ladder to 25 feet, ascend a tree safely using standard climbing and rigging techniques and perform an aerial rescue of an incapacitated climber.

●Must be comfortable working at heights in excess of 50 feet for extended periods of time.

●Ability to correctly identify regionally common perennial, tree, and shrub species, pests and pathogens, and correctly evaluate plant health and safety (a verbal test on campus will be given).

●Physical ability to lift 40 pounds and bend and stretch with reasonable nimbleness, team lift objects up to 80 pounds, move and plant (with assistance) heavy balled trees and shrubs, Capacity and willingness to participate in continuing education and on-the-job training.

Exposure to all types of outside weather conditions and diverse horticultural plant materials.

Occasional work with pesticides and other horticultural chemicals.

Starting wage is $21.43/hr that will increase at yearly intervals for first three years until full wage of $25.21 is achieved, this position also includes a competitive benefits package. This is a full time, year-round, union position. Interested candidates should view the complete job description at:

Please submit application materials through that website by May 2, 2018.

Smith College is an EO/AA/Vet/Disability Employer




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Job No:
Posted: 4/2/2018
Application Due: 5/2/2018
Work Type: