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Be sure to pay attention to the small label you get when you buy the plant and check Plant Finder for the needs of the plant. When it comes to planting trees, you need to remember how big they are and how much space they will need. Think of focal points too - pick something that looks good all year long. One of the fastest ways to kill a tree is to plant it too deep. Some people think that the more land around, the better. But it can actually muffle the tree because there is no air allowed to go to the root system. Going too deep can also encourage root rot.

1. Monitor and track to determine the type of pest and population levels. This tree has struggled for a while, but recently a noticeable problem of black spots appeared on the leaves. A sample could be sent to a diagnostic laboratory to determine which disease could cause blackheads. But a more profitable answer simply requires digging a little further to reach the root of the problem. Follow the steps described in Chapter 7, "Diagnostics," to help you identify the problem. Once the tree species is confirmed, carefully examine the healthy and damaged leaves. The following questions will help you to pinpoint the problem accurately.

Water directly and aim the watering cans near the roots of the plants, not from above. Watering the leaves can damage them, and the moisture that starts there can evaporate before reaching the ground. They attract valuable moisture away from plant roots, so be sure to pull them regularly. The soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. The GH Lab Nature's Care ($ 8, homedepot.com) comes with yucca and coconut, which work together to hold water and keep the plants hydrated.

Synthetic or artificial turf can be a great option for landscape areas where turf maintenance and growth is difficult. Ewing Irrigation’s Jeramy Webb explains the process for installing Ewing…

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