ABC Blog

Landscaping Spring Cleanup: Advice From The Experts

a hat, gardening shears and gloves to get started with spring landscaping cleanup

As the temperature starts to warm up and the first signs of spring appear, homeowners quickly turn their attention to their yards, as many grasses and plants go dormant during the cooler months of the year. When considering your landscaping, spring cleanup can consist of:

  • Clearing all debris, including dead leaves, fallen branches, pet waste and other clutter.
  • Planning your mowing, fertilizing and watering schedule, or signing up for a lawn service to take over these regular tasks for you.
  • Dethatching any dead roots or leaves in your lawn that may prevent your newly growing plants from getting the nutrients they need.
  • Pruning trees and shrubs to encourage healthy growth.
  • Take a blower to patios and decks to get all dust and other particles off of your commonly used spaces
  • Giving your lawn and landscaping some breathing room by planning to aerate.
  • Re-edging your flower beds.
  • Beginning a regular watering and weeding routine to encourage new growth of … Read Full Post »

Pruning Salvias: How To Care For These Ornamentals

When it comes to pruning, salvias known as scarlet sage don't require too much work

Salvias are popular ornamental plants that provide a pop of color in your yard and can withstand extreme temperatures. There are over nine hundred different species of salvias, each with different flowers and smells. Salvias thrive in warm climates and don’t need much water, making them a relatively low maintenance plant in Texas and other southern states. Pruning salvias can enhance their appearance and help these plants stay healthy throughout the year. There are three main categories of salvias, and each should be pruned slightly differently.

Deciduous Herbaceous Salvias

Deciduous herbaceous salvias are shrub-like and have soft stems. These salvias include:

  • Pineapple sage, also known as tangerine sage
  • Mexican Bush sage
  • Waverly sage
  • Bog sage
  • Gentian sage

These types of sage are relatively easy to prune. In the winter, older, soft stems will die off or freeze, so you’ll want to wait until the spring to do your pruning. Any old growth that is left on the plant … Read Full Post »

When To Stop Feeding Hummingbirds For The Year

When to stop feeding hummingbirds

If you are like many homeowners, you love hummingbirds. Watching them flitter and flutter around your yard is captivating. Seeing them hover in place as they enjoy the nectar you’ve left out for them is even better. Their speed and size and almost unnatural presence are awe-inspiring.

So, when your neighbor told you that you were stopping them from migrating by leaving out your feeders in the fall, your first instinct was to rush out and take them down. After all, you don’t want to do anything that could possibly harm these beautiful creatures.

Luckily, you decided to do some research first. Smart move on your part.

Why?

Because what your neighbor told you is a myth, and it’s one that lawn technicians hear all the time.

Leaving feeders out does not stop migration. Quite the opposite, in fact. If you leave a hummingbird feeder out while these birds are migrating, you’re actually providing these … Read Full Post »

Texas Landscaping Plants: Landscape Designer Picks

Texas landscaping plants

Depending on the source, Texas has either four, five or even seven geographical regions, each with its own distinct features and climatic conditions. Whatever the number, we can all agree that different areas of the state are host to varying plant species based on unique patterns of hot and cold weather, seasonal rainfall and other factors, all of which affect the types of Texas landscaping plants that gardeners can choose from to elevate the aesthetic of your outdoor spaces.

Soil composition also varies from one region of Texas to another. Many portions of the state feature rocky or sandy soil, which won’t support certain popular varieties of plants and trees without much careful intervention on the part of the gardener. Converting dry, well-draining soil into something that will support plants not well suited for the region involves complicated and expensive processes of soil building, heavy watering and more.

Instead of fighting against … Read Full Post »

How To Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden For Good

How to keep deer out of garden

Many people think of deer as sweet, beautiful and adorable animals—Bambi, anyone?—yet many homeowners in both urban and rural areas view deer as pests. This is because these animals have an irritating habit of munching on rose bushes, trees and other plants and flowers that people cultivate in their gardens, and leaving a tattered, raggedy mess in their wake. Interested in how to keep deer out of your garden for good?

The first and most important thing to remember is that deer are intelligent animals with acute senses and a highly adaptable nature. This means that whichever repellent method you try, the deer that are plaguing your plants are sure to learn and adapt quickly—and then it will be time to try a new technique.

So when it comes to repelling deer, what works and what doesn’t? Which techniques are the most effective for keeping deer away from your yard and … Read Full Post »

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 »

How To Fix Water Pooling In Yard And Other Drainage Issues

How to fix water pooling in yard

Maybe you traded in your old home for a new one and didn’t notice the issue until after the first hard rain. Perhaps you took up gardening now that you have more time and the extra water you’re using seems to have led to a problem.

Whatever the reason, there are parts of your yard where water just seems to sit. You’re not quite sure why. You definitely don’t like the way it looks and also don’t like the idea of wasting water. You want to avoid having mud tracked into the house by pets or kids. Most importantly, you really don’t want your yard to become a mosquito magnet.

No one wants random, unsightly pools of water marring their yard. Here in the south, it’s an even bigger deal because our warm weather means longer mosquito seasons. Plus, when water won’t drain out of pockets in your yard, you are at a … Read Full Post »

Purple Texas Wildflowers: How To Add Color To Your Landscape

Purple Texas wildflowers

A rite of passage here in Texas is taking the family for the annual bluebonnet photo. Did you know that these plants are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wildflowers in Texas? And that you can actually grow these flowers in your own back (or front) yard?

Whether you’re tired of the usual suspects in your home garden or you’re considering wildflowers as another way to use native plants in your landscaping, wildflowers are a gorgeous option that can add a nice splash of color to any property.

Below, we will suggest different types of purple Texas wildflowers you might consider incorporating in your lawn, as well as answer common questions homeowners have about adding these plants to your outdoor spaces.

Different Types of Purple Wildflowers You Can Find in Texas

Bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to Texas wildflowers, but they’ve got nothing … Read Full Post »

Add Color To Your Yard With Texas Winter Flowers

plants that grow in winter

Anyone from Texas can tell you that we have unique weather patterns. There are few other places where you can experience all four seasons in just one day. The running joke of “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute” rings true to many of us. While it can be nice to experience summer weather on a December day here in Texas, winter flowers can pose a challenge for even most experienced gardeners. 

While keeping soil type and watering requirements in mind, remember that on average, Houston gets 18 days each year with temperatures that dip below freezing. Our growing season lasts an average of 300 days, which can be great for growing a wide variety of plants and flowers. Keep in mind that throughout the winter, our days are shorter, so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you choose flowers which require a certain number of … 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 »