ABC Blog

When To Start Mowing Lawn And Proper Mowing Techniques

When to start mowing lawn

The end of winter means one thing for many of us in the Southern states: the brutal heat of summer isn’t far away. To look on the bright side, everything comes to life again during the springtime. Insects and other animals emerge from their winter hiding spots and plants and flowers begin to bloom once more.

Just like all other living things in your backyard, your grass will also begin to grow. While your initial inclination might be to get out the lawnmower on the first day of sunshine and warmth, knowing how and when to start mowing your lawn will be the first step in giving your grass the care it needs to survive our dry and hot summers.

In this post, we’ll dive into the dos and don’ts of mowing your grass, including how to properly cut and care for your lawn after the winter months up until your the … 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 »

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 »

Are Water Snakes in Texas Poisonous?

water snakes in Texas

Seeing a snake in the water, especially when you’re swimming, can be one of the scariest experiences a water-loving Texan can have. Your first reaction is probably that these slithery creatures swim faster than you and can catch you if they want to. If you live near a body of water or have a pool or water feature, you may also wonder what the possibility is that a snake could make its way onto your property, or even worse, inside your home.

Snakes play an important role in our ecosystem. That said, water snakes are considered to be aggressive, so they can strike when approached, even if you don’t realize they are nearby. Knowing more about the different types of water snakes in Texas and what does (and doesn’t attract them) can give you peace of mind and help protect your family from the risk of being bitten. Better understanding what … 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 »

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 »

Winter Heater Temperature Settings: A Complete Guide

winter heater temperature settings

Cooler temperatures mean warmer clothes, chilly nights and maybe even a fire in the fireplace. When the temperature finally drops to the point where we can turn on our heaters, remembering the most energy-efficient thermostat setting can be as perplexing as remembering why you walked into the room.

In this post, we’ll discuss the best temperature to set your thermostat in winter, find out what the experts have to say about it, learn what impacts average house temperatures in winter, talk about programming your thermostat, discuss whether smart thermostats are worth the investment and suggest other ways to reduce energy costs.

What’s the Best Temperature to Set the Thermostat in Winter?

We all just want to be comfortable in our home. Fighting over the thermostat can be an area of contention in a family. Many homeowners seek to balance comfort with affordable heating and cooling bills.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much … Read Full Post »

Mosquitoes in Texas: What Homeowners Should Know

Mosquitoes in Texas

You’re proud of your home. You’ve spent years caring for it, improving it and making it suit your style. Your home and landscape have never looked better.

But there’s still a problem you’ll encounter, simply because you live in Texas.

Mosquitoes.

In addition to being an annoyance, these tiny biting creatures pose an immediate risk to you, your family and your pets. Maybe you’re starting to feel their presence every time you step outside or you’re tired of getting covered in itchy bites. You might find yourself wondering: are mosquitoes really a problem here in Texas?

Mosquitoes in Texas: What Homeowners Should Know

You probably can’t spend much time outside without feeling the itch of new mosquito bites. New reports of cases of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Zika virus, don’t seem to be going away.

Now may be the time to rethink the measures you take to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes. Let’s take a … Read Full Post »

What You Should Know About the Aedes Triseriatus Mosquito

Aedes triseriatus

Summer. Mosquitoes. These two things go together like chips and salsa, although we can all agree that we’d prefer our warm weather without the mosquitoes. One of the most common mosquito species you are likely to encounter in the southern states of the U.S. when it’s hot outside is the Aedes triseriatus

What You Should Know About the Aedes Triseriatus Mosquito

Your next question is most likely: how can I identify this type of mosquito? Where does it breed? What risks does it pose to me, my family and my pets? Perhaps most importantly, how can you protect against these biting pests? Let’s learn more about this pesky pest.

Aedes triseriatus Identification and Habitat

When you’re sitting in your backyard, enjoying time with friends and family or just listening to the quiet, you’re not likely to pay attention to which type of mosquito is biting you; you only know you’re getting bitten. So how do you … Read Full Post »

The Kissing Bug in Texas: Friend or Foe?

Kissing bug Texas

You’re out one night sitting on your new back porch and enjoying the stars when you notice a strange-looking bug with a cone-shaped head. Curious, you trap it in a jar and show it to neighbors the next day. Their eyes immediately widen, and they tell you that you need to watch out–it’s a kissing bug.

Kissing Bug in Texas: Friend or Foe?

Slightly amused, you ask what that is, even making a joke that it sounds kind of cute. After hearing their answer, you no longer feel that way.

What is a Kissing Bug, Anyways?

If you don’t know what a kissing bug is, you should. Despite the friendly-sounding name, this small insect is a potential disease carrier, and it can pose a threat to you, your family and your pets.

Not convinced? Perhaps you’d be more inclined to agree with us if we used the bug’s other nickname–the assassin bug. Sounds a bit … Read Full Post »