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  • Ratings and reviews by surveyed Consumers' Checkbook and Consumer Reports local subscribers
  • Undercover price comparisons
  • Complaint counts from local consumer agencies and attorney general offices
  • Advice to help you get the best service and value

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The proposals Checkbook's undercover shoppers get from lawn care services rarely agree on identification of weed species, presence of disease, need to correct soil acidity, and recommendations on core aeration.

Whether it’s routine or an emergency, sometimes you need a good plumber. Fortunately, we’ve found many excellent plumbing outfits in the area, including many that not only rate best for quality work, but also are among the lowest in price.

Whatever company you choose, dealing wisely with the plumber produces better work and saves you money.

Following these rules will help reduce the seriousness and frequency of plumbing problems.

Since most garden centers buy—rather than raise—most of what they sell, there is room for tremendous variation in buying standards and the quality of plants being sold. The opinions we collected from consumers on garden centers reflect these big differences.

Healthy though they appear most of the time, on occasion your trees might become shady characters, done in—and perhaps ultimately brought down—by disease or damage or both. We advise you on how to choose a tree care professional.

Once you have chosen a company that can do the work well, price becomes your primary consideration. Our undercover shoppers found huge company-to-company price differences for the same work.

You don’t have to be an expert to spot many potential tree problems. Like most plants, trees have ways of indicating distress. Examine your trees several times a year for the following...