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Yard and Landscape

Yellow and red dahlia-flowered zinnia blossom.
When many people think of gardening, they envision rows of tomato vines laden with fruit, or perhaps a neat orchard, but one's landscape and the outdoor environment experienced on a daily basis are important components of personal well being.

Environmental Horticulture is an important endeavor in America. In California, the "green industry" was worth over $25 billion in 2007 and responsible for over 250,000 jobs from the nursery grower raising shrubs to the contractor you hire to maintain your landscape.

A well-maintained landscape not only adds value to your home, but it makes the human environment more liveable and attractive for the whole community.

Landscape plants serve to cool summer temperatures from plants' transpiration and trees' shade. Plant materials also filter contaminants out of surface water and help reduce soil erosion.

Even with all their benefits, many people do not give landscapes the credit they deserve. All too often, trees are improperly pruned, irrigation problems are not addressed, inappropriate plants are installed, and lawns are poorly managed. It is always unfortunate when a landscape gets attention only after a major problem develops.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Keep an eye on the changes in your landscape. Notice when leaves drop in fall, when flowers bloom, or if your lawn starts to change color unexpectedly. If you need help to fix a problem Master Gardener volunteers can assist, but it is best to correct a problem early. It is impossible to resurrect a dead plant!

You will find information in this section to help you make good choices in your landscape and, hopefully, avoid common pitfalls. Because every landscape is different, many questions will not be addressed directly on this site. Many common pest problems will be answered at the UC IPM website, but you should email our help line if you cannot find the answer you need online.