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Central Texas Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide

Central Texas gardening

Look around Austin and the Texas Hill Country and you can see that this area is teeming with plant life. Trees like the Texas Ash, Cedar Elm and Arroyo Sweetwood. Shrubs like Bottlebrush and Pineapple Guavas. Flowers, yuccas, ornamental grasses and vines.

So why is it so hard to grow anything in your own yard?

Flowers wilt. Veggies never seem to get started. Even those bushes you planted in the front several years ago have barely shown any growth.

Yet somehow, your neighbors’ plants are doing just fine. It’s embarrassing. What are the secrets to Central Texas gardening?

First off, take a deep breath and stop beating yourself up so much. Setting up and maintaining a garden in and around the Hill Country is tough.

That lush plant life you see around the area? Mother Nature had to work hard for that, carefully helping plants to adapt to the rugged Central Texas landscape. And your neighbors? … Read Full Post »

Swimming Pool Bugs: Types and Risks They Pose

Swimming pool bugs types

On a hot summer afternoon, it’s nice to take a dip in the pool for a brief respite from the southern heat. One day, your relaxation is interrupted by a sharp, stinging sensation. Startled, you quickly jump out of the water, then peer into your pool from the edge until you find them: water bugs.

Apparently, they sting. Or bite. Clearly, they need to go.

What should you do?

The first thing you need to realize is you’re likely to find all kinds of bugs and insects in your pool from time to time. Everything from spiders to caterpillars to ants can make their way into your pool water. Bugs are everywhere, and just like people, they can take a wrong turn and slip and fall.

These aren’t the kinds of bugs you need to worry about in your pool. While you certainly don’t want to end up swimming with a wasp, you also … Read Full Post »

What Is Fiesta San Antonio? All About This City Celebration

what is Fiesta San Antonio

What is Fiesta San Antonio? Fiesta is the city’s biggest annual festival to celebrate the rich culture and history of the Alamo City. More than one-fifth of Fiesta attendees come from outside of San Antonio and around three and a half million people take part in this popular celebration each year. Keep reading to learn more about Fiesta, the history behind the festival, the parades, Rey Feo and more.

History of Fiesta San Antonio

The history of Fiesta San Antonio dates back to 1891. Previously known and referred to as Fiesta San Jacinto, Fiesta San Antonio began as a flower parade. The initial idea and concept, like most parades and festivals, was meant to be a celebration. According to the Texas State Historical Association, the festival was meant to salute the heroes of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto; it was the brainchild of Ellen Maury Slyden, the wife of then … Read Full Post »

Benefits Of Mulching For Your Landscape

Benefits of mulching

There are all kinds of gardens in the world, and the most gorgeous ones might have many unique features—native plants that vary from region to region, for example, or a particular gardener’s own artistic stamp on the landscape design. But nearly all the world’s most lush and beautiful gardens have something in common: They use mulch to help keep undesirable weeds away and keep plants, flowers, trees and vegetables thriving. This is because every good gardener knows the benefits of mulching.

Mulch isn’t very complicated or mysterious. At its base, mulch is nothing more than a material, usually something opaque, that is applied over the soil in a garden in order to produce healthier and lower-maintenance plants. Sounds simple, right? Yet the benefits of mulching are many, and they apply to nearly all types of plants and gardens. Whether you’re mulching a flower bed or vegetable garden, applying mulch around trees … Read Full Post »

Texas Native Trees: Species That Thrive In Our Climate

Texas Native Trees

Trees add to the aesthetics of your property, help reduce energy costs and improve your home’s value. But which trees are, in fact, best suited for the extreme heat and dry conditions we often experience here in Texas?

Many homeowners aren’t sure which types of trees have adapted to our climate. They may also not realize that planting these species on your property can reduce your water bills, decrease the time you spend on maintenance and lower the risk of a tree’s limbs falling because of stress from drought. Keep reading to learn more about Texas native trees, the fastest growing shade trees in Texas, Texas evergreen trees, Texas flowering trees and the most common trees in Texas.

Texas Native Trees: Low Maintenance Additions To Your Landscape

A recent study reported that about 90% of the trees found in Austin are native. The survey put the final tally of the number of trees … Read Full Post »

Composting Oak Leaves: A Complete Guide

Composting oak leaves

Newcomers to Texas and other parts of the country where oaks are prevalent are surprised to learn that these stately trees lose their leaves in the spring rather than during the fall. While oaks give us wonderful shade from the intense sun, they do give us lots of other things during the year: leaves.

No matter how long you’ve had oak trees, if you’re like a lot of people, you’re probably not a huge fan of having dead leaves cover that beautiful lawn you’ve spent so much time on. Moreover, you might have heard that oak leaves are acidic and worry they will damage your grass or soil if you don’t get rid of them quickly.

In the past, you may have simply raked up the leaves and put them in bags. Is there a better solution?

In fact, there is not only a better solution, but several options. Most of them come down … Read Full Post »

Overseeding Weedy Lawn: Homeowners Take Back Their Yards

Overseeding Weedy Lawn

When you look out over your yard, does the sight you see bring you a sense of pleasure and pride, or do you cringe with embarrassment? If you’re in the latter camp due to unsightly weeds and patchy, lifeless grass, don’t despair—and don’t give up! Your yard doesn’t have to be the neighborhood eyesore, and you don’t have to declare your neglected lawn a total loss.

Depending on the severity of your situation, it’s possible that you’ll need to re-sod the entire area, but a far easier fix might work just as well. The simple yet highly effective key lies in overseeding weedy lawns to reclaim the lush, green, beautiful grass that all homeowners desire.

Let’s find out how just a bit of time, care and know-how will help you resuscitate your ailing lawn into a thing of emerald, weed-free beauty.

Overseed: Definition And Benefits

The term “overseed” may sound technical and even … Read Full Post »

Home Automation Benefits: Is A Smart Home For You?

Home Automation Benefits

It can seem like every appliance these days is preceded by the word ‘smart’: smart TVs, smart thermostats, smart lighting, smart entertainment system…the list goes on. Though we use a smartphone throughout the day, and a growing number of homes now have voice assistants, many of us who don’t fall into the “early adopter” category aren’t quite sure what a fully-integrated “smart home” could mean for our households. Others among us are skeptical about security surrounding these devices, and many of us only have a basic understanding of how this technology works. Some homeowners who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon are hesitant to really consider a smart home system because they worry about how hard they are to set up.

Let’s explore the potential that smart home technology can help you become more energy-efficient and other home automation benefits, what exactly is involved if you are considering turning your house into a … Read Full Post »

Do Water Bugs Bite? Taking The Sting Out of Your Next Outing

Do water bugs bite

Imagine that you are taking your dog for a quick swim in the creek in the greenbelt in your neighborhood. By anyone’s standards, not a particularly dangerous activity. It’s the end of August, a great time for both of you to cool off from the oppressive heat.

You decide you might as well take off your shoes and dip your toes into the cool water. 

Then it happens. One minute you were laughing and your pup was splashing around, and the next minute, you suddenly feel an intense pain in your toe, causing you to scream.

You look down, expecting to see a snake. Instead, you see a frighteningly huge bug swimming away. Was that a giant cockroach or beetle? You may even have a simpler question: do water bugs bite?

Immediately you pull on your dog’s leash and limp out of the water as you begin to feel the pain shooting up your … Read Full Post »

Can Fleas Live on Clothes? Keeping Fleas from Spreading

can fleas live on clothes

Can fleas live on clothes? The easy way to answer the question is no, but that’s a question that pops into many homeowners’ heads, especially when they have a pet with fur that’s become infested with these tiny parasites. Fleas are irritating pests, to be sure: Their itchy bites can cause serious health issues in animals, including dermatitis and anemia. These tiny bugs can even carry infectious diseases that affect humans, such as the plague.

No wonder finding a flea on your skin can make you shudder! You might wonder whether your clothes or your bedding might be infested, or perhaps simply whether you can spread fleas through clothes. Another common question is, can fleas live in your bed or your carpet? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you keep fleas from moving from one part of your property to another? Let’s find out more about these tiny creatures that can … Read Full Post »