ABC Blog

What’s The Best Grass for North Texas Lawns?

st augustine grass which is one of the best grasses for north texas

Choosing the best grass for North Texas lawns depends on several factors. The main types of grass that thrive in North Texas, with its hot summers, cold winters and low to moderate precipitation, are bermuda, St. Augustine, zoysia, tall fescue and Texas blue grass. The local climate is always the first thing to think about when choosing the right variety for your yard, but the particulars of your yard itself should also be taken into account. How much of the yard is covered in shade? How much traffic does your lawn usually get? For example, do you have kids or pets who run around in the grass?

You should also think about your own level of interest in maintaining your yard. Do you mow and water regularly, or do you tend to avoid these tasks? Does the idea of aerating or fertilizing your lawn seem manageable, or intimidating? Some types of … Read Full Post »

Do I Have House Centipedes or Silverfish?

a living room where a homeowner has found either a centipede or a silverfish

You’ve come across some type of bug in your house, and you aren’t sure what it is. All you know is that you want it gone! But what is it, and what impact might it have on you, your family and your home? If it’s small, narrow and long, a pale brownish or grayish color, and has what looks like a lot of legs and antennae, it could be a house centipede or a silverfish.

Whatever it is, you may be wondering how to get rid of it and what you can do to make sure there aren’t more of its kind living and reproducing nearby. Learning the differences between house centipedes and silverfish will help you tell the two apart. Fortunately, both of these pests have distinctive characteristics that make them easy to identify.

Identifying House Centipedes

Like most centipedes, the main identifying characteristic of house centipedes is their many, many legs. … Read Full Post »

What To Do About Cockroaches in the Dishwasher

a dishwasher with cockroaches inside

Finding cockroaches in the dishwasher is nothing short of shocking, not to mention just plain gross. Why would a cockroach want to invade your dishwasher? The answer is pretty simple, when you think about it. Cockroaches need the same things as every other creature on earth to survive: food, water and shelter. The dishwasher—at least when it’s not running—provides all the needed elements for survival.

If you leave dirty dishes inside the dishwasher for a while before running it, cockroaches will be attracted to them as a source of food. But, even if you don’t have that habit, food and grease residue can build up inside the dishwasher over time. You might find it caked up in the filter or around the rubber gasket that runs along the inside of the front of the dishwasher. If you don’t rinse or scrape food off your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher, … Read Full Post »

How To Fix a Bumpy Lawn

a flat backyard thanks to the homeowner taking steps to fix the bumpy lawn

When we look out at our yards, we want to see a healthy, green carpet of grass. Bumps, dips and other irregularities in the lawn that create an uneven appearance isn’t very attractive. But, that’s not the only problem. They’re also much harder to mow than flat lawns. And, most importantly, they are a potential hazard for anyone who might trip over the uneven spots as they walk or run across the yard. This is why it’s good to know how to fix a bumpy lawn. You’ll make your lawn look more beautiful while also making it easier to mow and maintain. And, you’ll actually be making it safer for anyone spending time in your yard.

To address an uneven lawn, it’s helpful to know how these bumps develop in the first place. Typically, this happens over time, as the grass first becomes established and then thins out through seasonal weather … Read Full Post »

How to Keep Mice Out of Your Shed

a shed in a backyard that is infested with mice

Outdoor sheds are great sheltered places to store lawn care tools, empty pots and other gardening items. But, when your shed starts functioning as a warm, protected shelter for mice, it’s time to intervene. The first step is learning how to keep mice out of your shed. Then, you can take decisive measures to keep your property, including your shed, free of these rodents.

Mice are drawn to sheds, garages and other structures for the same reasons as rats and other wild animals. They are seeking shelter, which means a good place to nest and breed. In warmer months, mice might live quite happily outdoors. But, during the colder months of the year, adequate food and warm shelter are both in short supply. Fall and winter are when mice are most likely to move into your shed and other structures on your property. That said, they breed year-round and are also … Read Full Post »

Signs of Rats: Identification and Control Tips

a rat coming out from underneath a deck

Have you noticed signs of rats living somewhere in your home, attic or garage? If you suspect you have a rat infestation, it’s unsettling—and trying to address it on your own can quickly lead to frustration, as you learn that setting out a few traps won’t be enough to resolve the problem. Like mice and other wild rodent pests, rats are opportunists. They are also wily, clever animals. They enter people’s homes (and other buildings on the property) in search of food and shelter. If they find an opening, they’ll use it to get inside. Rats are also prolific breeders, so if they have a chance to build a nest, their population can expand quickly.

You may notice signs of rats in your home, but you’re even more likely to find them in your attic, garage, shed or some other less-visited place on your property. Since rats are nocturnal, they’re most … Read Full Post »

How Long Do Pre-Emergents Last?

Weeds popping through soil which may lead a homeowner to wonder how long pre-emergents last

Many homeowners strive to find the perfect combination of watering, mowing and fertilization to create that coveted lush, weed-free lawn we all want, but they overlook the importance of using a pre-emergent herbicide to keep weeds at bay. If you love having a healthy lawn, you may be wondering about these products, also called “preemergence herbicides,” and how to use them. How long do pre-emergents last? How do they work? And when is the best time to apply them to your yard?

Fortunately, pre-emergents are a relatively straightforward and effective step to add to your lawn care routine, as long as you make sure to select the right product for your yard and add it at the right time. The name “pre-emergent herbicide” refers to the fact that these products are to be used before the weeds emerge—which really means before their seeds have taken root.

Typically, pre-emergents will be effective for … Read Full Post »

What Do Rats Sound Like?

A rat peering into a home from a crawl space

Unfortunately, there are a number of animals that can invade your home in search of shelter, water and food. And, many times, you’ll start noticing the signs of these visitors before actually spotting them. So, how can you determine if you have rats in your home, or something else? One way to differentiate between rats and other creatures is by listening to the sounds they make.

If you have rats in your home, you’ll likely hear several specific noises:

  • Scurrying sounds as rats travel from place to place
  • Thumps as they play or fight
  • Scratching and chewing as they eat and gather supplies for nests
  • Squeaks from immature rats coming from a nest

Most vocalizations occur outside of the realm of what a human is capable of hearing. Most audible sounds come from rats that are in a state of distress.

Where will these sounds originate? For most people, your attic. This can be disturbing, because we … Read Full Post »

Topsoil vs. Compost: What’s Best for Your Yard?

A gardening table with compost and topsoil where a homeowner is debating the differences between topsoil vs compost

Many people have questions about topsoil versus compost—namely, what exactly are they, what are the differences between them and which is best for growing beautiful flowers or thick, lush grass. Whether you’re planting a garden or simply looking for ways to help your lawn thrive, you’ve probably considered both topsoil and compost as a lawn amendment, and you might have felt confused about which would be best for your yard’s particular needs. Topsoil and compost are similar in appearance, after all—they both look a lot like regular dirt. But they aren’t the same, and while both play important roles in creating outdoor spaces that thrive, they have distinct uses and applications.

Put very simply, topsoil is the very topmost layer of soil on the ground. When people add it to their yards or gardens as a soil amendment, they usually purchase it in bags or in bulk, although you can create … Read Full Post »

How to Power Wash a Deck and Other Surfaces

A white home with a wood deck that has been power washed

A deck provides you with additional space on your property for relaxing and gathering with friends and family. In many residential areas, these spaces get a lot of use. Unfortunately, dirt, pollen, dust and other grime can build up over time, which can detract from your deck’s appearance. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: power washing.

Power washing (also commonly referred to as pressure washing) is a great way to maintain your deck, as it is often the most effective way to make your deck look brand new again. Pressurized water is a powerful force, and it can even loosen up ground-in dirt that’s been there for quite some time. If you’ve never used a pressure washer before, however, you should know that you can damage certain surfaces and that there are risks and dangers associated with these machines.  Once you learn how to power wash a deck, you … Read Full Post »