ABC Blog

Yard Fungus: Identification, Treatment and Prevention

yard fungus

When you spend a lot of time with the goal of having a green manicured yard, the last thing you want to see is signs of damage. You water, mow, edge and maybe even fertilize in the hopes of seeing a lush carpet. What do you do if you suspect you have yard fungus? How do you know if the damage you are seeing is a type of yard fungus or something else entirely?

St. Augustine is a popular grass for homeowners because it is shade, heat, salt and drought tolerant. When maintained properly, this variety of grass also handles normal human and animal traffic well. However, there a couple of types of lawn fungus that are more prevalent when you have St. Augustine grass. These lawn fungus types also like other warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda and Zoysia.

In this post, we will tell you what you need to know about the … Read Full Post »

Which Salt Tolerant Plants Will Work In My Yard?

salt tolerant plants

Living along the coast certainly has its advantages: access to the beach every day, coastal breezes, mild temperatures, fresh seafood and pretty views.

However, gardening in these environments can present a challenge. While saltwater has its benefits, most plants and flowers don’t like it. Salinity in the soil inhibits a plant’s ability to absorb important nutrients, thereby disrupting the plant’s metabolism.

Finding salt tolerant plants to for your lawn can be a challenge. In many cases, you can select salt tolerant varieties of ceratin plants which can do well in coastal climates. The salt tolerance of plants is determined by a variety of factors, including a plant’s ability to grow under and resist high winds, salt spray, alkaline soils and infertile, sandy soils.

When choosing plants that will be placed facing the ocean without buildings to protect them, you should choose highly salt tolerant plants. If the plants are protected … Read Full Post »

Roof Rat vs. Norway Rat: How Are They Different?

Roof rat vs. Norway rat

There are few pests which homeowners dislike as much as rats.

It’s easy to see why these furry creatures evoke such negative feelings. In addition to carrying diseases, rats can destroy your property by chewing and gnawing on wires, pipes, water hoses, wood doors, floors, walls, clothing, furniture, cement and more. These rodents can consume and contaminate your food, go through your trash and make a huge mess. Rats can also destroy crops.

To take care of a rat problem, you have to know which species of rat you are dealing with. There are over 50 species of rats, but only a few we are likely to see in and around our homes.

The roof rat (which has an almost comical scientific name: Rattus rattus) likes to be up high like its name suggests and usually nests in walls and attics. In the wild, these animals can be found in trees, among vines … Read Full Post »

What Can a Handyman Legally Do?

What Can a Handyman Legally Do

What if you could get all of those little tasks on your “honey-do” list completed without having to lift a finger?

Home repairs, maintenance and weekend projects can quickly eat up all your free time. It’s only natural that homeowners are looking for ways to outsource these tasks at the lowest possible price. Depending on the nature of the tasks involved, you may find yourself wondering which jobs are suitable for a handyman and which tasks are better performed by a licensed contractor. Since virtually anyone can call themselves a handyman, you might ask yourself, “What can a handyman legally do?” Is there a real difference between the training and skills of a handyman and a contractor? What type of jobs should you hire a handyman to complete? Some homeowners have an even more basic question: What is a handyman in the first place?

A handyman may be a jack-of-all-trades or … Read Full Post »

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Christmas Tree

How to Get Rid of Aphids on Christmas Tree

During the holiday season, thoughts of yummy food, a fire in the fireplace, warm sweaters, cute boots and spending time with family and friends fill your head and heart. The months around Christmas evoke warm and fuzzy feelings from treasured memories and family traditions. A freshly-cut Christmas tree fills your home with a welcoming, nostalgic aroma. The excitement and anticipation surrounding your visit to find the perfect tree may only be matched by the enthusiasm around the arrival of favorite family members and guests who come to stay. While we prepare to welcome these house guests, we don’t want to have to deal with creepy crawly, uninvited visitors. 

Like any live plant, Christmas trees can suffer from diseases, including root rot, Swiss needle cast and insect infestations. When you bring such a large once-living tree into your home, you can sometimes also bring in creatures who hitch a ride. One of the most common … Read Full Post »

Beach Bugs That Bite: Protecting Yourself From These Pests

Beach bugs that bite

You’ve waited for that perfect beach vacation to come. You packed your swimsuit, beach towels and have the perfect day planned. But, once you get set up in the sand, you start feeling little bites on your legs. You look down and can’t see anything. You have no idea what bit you. These beach bugs that bite can be called a variety of things: sand fleas, sea lice, sandflies and no see ums, just to name a few possible culprits.

In this post, we’ll explore what kind of critters dwell in the sand and which ones might nibble on us, how long sand flea bites last, the difference between sand flea bites and bed bug bites and answer the common question, “What are no see ums?”

Sand Dwellers

There are a number of creatures that live in beach sand, most of which don’t bite humans. These sand dwellers include several species of … Read Full Post »

How Does Pesticide Work? What Homeowners Should Know

How does pesticide work

A pesticide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is, “Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.” 

How Does Pesticide Work?

Insecticides are a form of pesticide which typically work by affecting the nervous system of insects. However, they can also affect energy production, cuticle production, the endocrine system and water balance. These chemical formulations can enter through the body, ingestion and inhalation.

Pesticides are used as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, which is a more environmentally-friendly pest control philosophy. The principles of this approach, as laid out by the EPA, state that IPM “focuses on pest prevention and uses pesticides only as needed.”

Types of Pesticide

There is a wide range of pesticides available for residential and commercial applications. Some target insects, while others target algae (algaecides), germs (disinfectants) or weeds (herbicides). The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) categorizes the types of … Read Full Post »

Your San Antonio Christmas Events 2017 Guide

San Antonio Christmas Events 2017

Whether you just want to be a tourist in your own city or entertain your out-of-town guests or kids for winter break, San Antonio has a variety of Christmas events throughout the holidays which are sure to make everyone happy.

In addition to simply strolling along the beautiful River Walk, you and your family can enjoy a festive experience when San Antonio’s quintessential tourist stop will be lit up with more than 2,000 luminarias between December 1 and 17 on weekend nights. The traditional Mexican Christmas lantern tradition begins at dusk on Fridays and brings a soft glow to the river. In addition to luminarias, The River Walk will be decorated with 122,000 lights draped over the bald cypress trees along the river the day after Thanksgiving until the new year. In addition, the San Antonio River Authority covers the path along the river between Grayson Street and Lexington Avenue … Read Full Post »

How To Change Central Air Conditioner Filter: Tips And Troubleshooting

air conditioner filter

Air conditioners require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently. Performing routine checks also helps keep your energy costs down and enables you to spot problems early on, which can avoid costly repairs. One of the quickest and easiest ways to keep your unit running at peak efficiency is to regularly change your filter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Replacing a dirty, clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 percent to 15 percent.”

How to Change Central Air Conditioner Filter

When you weigh the energy savings of having a clean filter against the low cost of a new filter, replacing your filter seems like a no-brainer. Remembering when and how to perform this simple task, however, is another matter. Even if you think you know how often you should change your filter, you may not understand what a filter actually does for … Read Full Post »

Clogged Filter? Furnace Filter Symptoms Of Heating Problems

Clogged Filter Furnace and Filter Symptoms

Remembering to change your furnace filter can be a tall order since it isn’t something you see or notice. The adage “out of sight, out of mind” seems well-suited for this routine task.

But clogged furnace air filters can spell big problems not only for your electric bill but for your furnace itself. 

We know what you might be thinking. “What? There’s another filter in my home?”

Well, it depends. Here in Texas, the filter that’s working during the winter months is typically just your air duct return air filter, the same one you regularly change for your air conditioner. What you might not realize is that it is just as important to change this filter when you turn on the heater in your home as during the summer months.

In colder parts of the country, some homes may have a warm air furnace. In these units, a dedicated furnace filter is typically … Read Full Post »