These days there’s an app for almost anything, and landscape and turf management is no exception. But we know that sifting through all of the apps in the app store can be time-consuming for professionals who have very little free time. To give you a head start, we reached out to a number of landscape professionals and asked what their favorite apps were. From that research, we’ve compiled a top 10 list that includes apps for both use in the field and in the office. Whether it’s processing an invoice on the go, looking up the name of a particular plant or seeking out the cheapest gas prices, you can bet there’s an app for that.
What it does: This file-sharing app allows you to sync and share files of any kind to and from any of your computers and smart devices. In other words, any file you save to Dropbox becomes accessible from all of your computers and smart devices. If you update a file in one place, it automatically updates everywhere. Should any of your devices break or get stolen, files also are available on the Dropbox website.
What it does: This app enables you to take notes, photos and record audio files and upload them to Evernote so you can access them from your smartphone, tablet or any other computer. Further, you can add tags and descriptions to these items. For instance, if you attend a trade show and see a piece of equipment you like, you can take a photo of it, name it and tag it with “equipment I want to buy” for access at a later date.
What it does: This free app helps you find the cheapest gas prices wherever they are — or via a search by city or zip code. GasBuddy keeps an up-to-date record of gas prices by asking users to help out. You earn points and also a daily chance to win $100 of gas by reporting gas prices in your area.
What it does: Google Earth helps landscapers get a good sense on the size of a property without ever stepping foot on it. It allows users to visualize directions in 3-D and can be used as a downloaded program or accessed from any computer with Google Chrome installed, other browsers to come.
What it does: Contractors can easily keep track of hours spent on a job site with this mobile timesheet. Data can be exported directly to Google docs or other formats if you prefer. The app manages multiple independent time sheets and can use the phone’s location awareness.
What it does: This app allows you to invoice directly from their smart device and email it to the customer. The app includes more than 20 invoice templates to choose from, all of which can be customized with a company logo. A PayPal button can be included in the email in order to encourage even faster payment. In addition, the app includes 12 different reports, such as dashboard and sales reports, all of which can help you make better business decisions.
What it does: Touted by the developer as the “most comprehensive plant guide on iPhone,” the Landscaper’s Companion contains information on 26,000 different plants and includes 21,000 different pictures for reference. This includes trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials.
What it does: This electronic field guide helps users identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. The app is packed with beautiful high-resolution imagery of leaves, flowers, fruits, petiole, seeds and bark. The idea for Leafsnap was born out of the realization that many of the techniques used for face recognition developed by Professor Peter Belhumeur and Professor David Jacobs of the computer science departments of Columbia University and the University of Maryland, respectively, could be applied to automatic species identification. It’s a helpful, on-the-go tool.
What it does: With a business that is dependent on the weather, it never hurts to have as many weather-related resources at your fingertips as possible. With The Weather Channel app, you can see detailed weather by the day, week or even in the next hour. Push alerts and badges ensure you know about any severe approaching weather, while seasonal tools such as pollen alerts help plan around the weather. Detailed weather conditions include “feels like” temperature, sunrise time, wind speeds, humidity, UV index, visibility, dew point and pressure.
What it does: Developed by a team of professors at the University of Georgia, the Turfgrass Management app provides easy access to information for identifying and diagnosing pests in the field. The application combines information from numerous books on turfgrass science in one complete program that can be used on-the-go. The database contains preemergent and postemergent herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, plant growth regulators and adjuvants.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.