The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Improving Lives, Communities and the Economy

Commercial Horticulture FAQs

Information on commercial environmental horticulture with a focus on Arizona and the Southwest.


How can I become a Certified Arborist? 
Information about the International Society of Arboriculture certification program can be found at the ISA website Classes in Arizona are generally sponsored by the Arizona State Land Department Urban Community Forestry Program and the Arizona Community Tree Council, Inc. ( Certification exams are offered in different locations in the state.  Some counties offer preparatory classes and give the Certified Arborist Exam at the conclusion of classes.  Contact your local Cooperative Extensions office or the Arizona Community Tree Council. 

How can I become a Certified Nursery Professional in Arizona?
The Arizona Nursery Association ( offers the Arizona Certified Nursery Professional (ACNP) and the Advanced Arizona Nursery Professional Program. Inquire at their website about study materials and classes.

How can I become a Certified Landscape Professional in Arizona? 
The Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association ( supports the Arizona Certified Landscape Professional Program. Classes cover ten topics and class schedules and workshop details are posted at 

How do I become a licensed pesticide applicator in Arizona? 
The Arizona Department of Agriculture Pest Management Division regulates the use, disposal and storage of pesticides. Information about their function and licensing is found at

How do I prepare an insect or a plant damaged by insects for shipping and where do I send it for identification?
Insect samples can be submitted as specimens or digital images. Please follow the instruction by the University of Arizona Insect Collection: .

Where can I send plant, soil, or water samples to be analyzed? 
The University of Arizona does not offer this service. A list of commercial laboratories conducting soil, plant, feed, or water testing can be found at In addition, refer to the local business listings of laboratories that offer this type of analysis.

Who is in charge of plant/pest quarantine rules?
The Arizona Department of Agriculture Plant Services Division regulates plant quarantine within the state. Information can be found at:
The USDA has responsibility on plants imported or exported internationally into or from Arizona. More information can be found at:

How do I know if a plant is poisonous? 
A list of common plants in Arizona that are poisonous and an emergency number are listed at the website of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center Home at:  The University of Arizona Herbarium can be contacted for questions about whether plants are poisonous (phone 520-621-7243).

Can I legally remove cactus or other native plants from the desert? 
Cactus can be legally removed from the desert if permission is given by the owner to remove them. All open land in Arizona is owned either by private individuals, corporations, governments or Indian Nations. Contact the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) for information and procedures about removing and transporting native plants at: