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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 539L
Category: Science & Engineering


Performs professional horticultural research and advises Landscape Architects and Engineers statewide on highway plant selection, erosion control, cultural practices, plant grades and standards and other horticultural procedures.

Typical Work

Directs the development and execution of horticultural studies related to edaphic, topographic and meteorological effects on plant survival such as reducing the mortality rate of nursery stock by minimizing moisture loss; compiles such data into a statistically analyzable form for computer use; 

Advises Landscape Architects, statewide, on the implementation of the results of such activity as related to compatibility of horticultural products to environmental considerations; 

Makes site investigations and advises Landscape Architects statewide on selection of soil amendments and seed mixtures to satisfy local environmental conditions for the successful establishment of turf and erosion control grasses; 

Advises the Landscape Architect in charge of statewide landscape maintenance on plant cultural requirements such as soil conditioning and amendments, drainage, and pesticides; 

Consults with members of the state Extension Service, commercial nurseries and other industry representatives in order to maintain Departmental currency in horticultural, agronomic, and related technologies; 

Reviews contract documents to insure uniformity of plant nomenclature, planting details, specifications, grades and standards, and related procedures for landscape plantings and erosion control; 

Consults with headquarters and District construction personnel regarding landscape planting and erosion problems, and recommends corrective measures; establishes guidelines for minimum grades and standards for plant materials to be used on highway protects in consonance with current nursery industry grades; 

Advises the Headquarters construction materials engineer on the acceptability of plant materials, mulchs and other horticultural materials for landscaping and roadway grading projects to insure conformance to contract documents and State and Federal regulations; 

Conducts or assists in training sessions; 

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of:  plant materials, soils, drainage, plant ecology, fertilization, pesticides, and State and Federal regulations for horticultural material. 

Ability to: interpret State and Federal regulations pertaining to horticultural material, conduct research, compile research data into statistical analyzable form for computer use, conduct in‑service training programs, communicate both verbally and written, read and interpret contract plans and specification.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A Master's degree in Horticulture.


A B.S. degree in Horticulture and two years experience in the field of horticulture, nursery management, plant propagation, agronomy, or plant pathology, one year of which must have been in a research capacity. 

A valid Washington State herbicide consultant license is required. 

Note: If the Master's degree was not obtained as the result of a thesis based on research, then one year in a research capacity is required. 

Equivalent education/experience.

Class Specification History

Revise class. Revises definition and minimum qualifications; adopted October 12, 1973.
Revise class. Revises class code (formerly 64100); adopted May 10, 2007, effective July 1, 2007.