ABC Blog

Make Your Own Compost!

Some people think compost is only for gardens, but compost can be beneficial for lawns as well. Beautiful landscaping should include composting to provide soil with the rich nutrients needed for healthy lawns.

Composting Benefits

  • Microorganisms in compost help control plant pathogens and diseases in the soil.
  • Compost attaches to contaminants in the soil to prevent plants from absorbing them and to keep them from polluting waterways.
  • Composting helps prevent erosion by holding the soil and water together.
  • Compost attracts earthworms along with other macro-organisms and their tunneling creates necessary space for air and water in the soil.
  • Compost contains sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and microorganisms necessary for plant growth.

When lawn care in Austin incorporates composting, the results are gorgeous, vigorous lawns that enhance Austin’s landscaping.

Create Your Own Compost

You can make compost with kitchen scraps and yard waste. If you manage your compost bin well, the compost will be ready to apply in just a few … Read Full Post »

The Importance of Sectioning a Sprinkler System

Having a sprinkler system in place ensures a thriving lawn even as the neighbor’s yard turns parched under the Texas sun. However, sprinklers should be set up to deliver optimum water to make sure that turf grass and ornamentals get enough water to flourish. By redesigning the sprinkler system into sections, homeowners can adjust the amount, timing and intensity of watering to properly support the landscaping.

Considerations for Sprinkler Sectioning

Different types of Houston landscaping materials will have different moisture requirements. Location in terms of sun and wind exposure will also affect watering needs. For instance, grass and ornamentals in a shady location will need less watering than plants in full sun and in areas exposed to brisk winds.

Growth patterns affect the type of sprinkler system and the amount of water needed. For efficient coverage, sprinklers should be positioned to water the designated area without being blocked by taller plants and thicker … Read Full Post »

The Southern Pine Beetle

southern pine beetle does immense damage to trees

Photo by Fabio Stergulc / Università di Udine, Bugwood.org

The southern pine beetle is an extremely destructive pest that can devastate pine trees in both forests and urban settings. At maturity, this diminutive pest is scarcely larger than a grain of rice, yet it causes a tremendous amount of damage to pine trees in Florida and across the southern Unites States. Typically, the beetle invades trees that are older, have suffered damage and have trunks that are less than 6 inches in diameter. However, during severe outbreaks, the pest will also begin attacking healthy trees. The southern pine beetle prefers to invade loblolly, Virginia, pitch and shortleaf pine trees.

Because the southern pine beetle attacks trees internally, most people are not aware of a problem until significant damage has already been done. Female beetles are responsible for determining what tree to live in and they begin boring holes at the base of … Read Full Post »

Landscape Lighting Meets Efficiency and Practicality

Landscape lighting can add an elegant touch to an outdoor space, but many homeowners are unaware that this aesthetic feature can also offer functional benefits. Choosing lighting with high-tech features can boost the practicality of lighting and offer energy efficiency.

Energy Sources

Homeowners have a variety of lighting sources to choose from when shopping for outdoor lighting that can highlight beautiful landscaping. Buildipedia.com explains that there are three main energy sources when it comes to outdoor lighting: solar power, electricity and gas.

  • Solar power is energy-efficient because it uses the power of the sun instead of requiring a homeowner to pay for a power source. However, solar power is only reliable in areas that receive a lot of sun during the day on a regular basis.
  • Electricity is hard-wired to the home to provide reliable power, but this option can be expensive.
  • Gas is reliable and provides an aesthetic bonus by making outdoor lighting appear … Read Full Post »

A Homeowner’s Guide to Austin Wildlife

When most people think about wild animals, they imagine wildlife in secluded or wooded areas. However, there are plenty of different types of wildlife roaming the streets of Austin. Since some creatures can be dangerous, homeowners should be familiar with the wild animals sharing their city.What Types of Wildlife Live in Austin?In addition to a wide variety of birds, there are several small wild animals living in Austin. Opossums, squirrels, deer, foxes, coyotes, groundhogs, rats, mice, moles, skunks, raccoons, bats, and snakes are reported frequently. Some people also report seeing armadillos occasionally. Beavers, muskrats, weasels, iguanas, gophers, and porcupines have been sighted, but are rarer than the previously mentioned animals. Some types of wildlife are more common in certain areas of the city.Which Animals Pose a Threat to Homeowners?

Homeowners should be concerned about the animals that can be considered common pests. Animals such as deer, coyotes or skunks are not … Read Full Post »

Add Some Color to San Antonio Landscaping

Cooler weather can make traditional landscaping plants die out or go dormant, and a lawn that normally looks vibrant with colorful plants can start to look dull and boring. Add some color to your landscaping with plants that prefer cooler weather to perk up your lawn this winter season.

Calendulas

Calendulas are beautiful yellow flowers that bloom during the winter to add warmth to a lawn. An added benefit of calendulas is that they attract any butterfly species that are active in San Antonio during the winter months.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons are available in a variety of sizes, and the rocket snapdragons that grow to be about three feet tall are ideal for landscaping purposes. Colors range from bright red to deep purple, so snapdragons are definitely able to add color to a lawn. Blooming occurs through December and again in March, so planting snapdragons in the fall or middle of the winter is best.

Pansies

Pansies … Read Full Post »

The Healing Potential of Commercial Landscaping

Landscaping can be undoubtedly appealing to the eye. Well-designed and manicured scenery can provide sanctuary from the bustling city or busy institution. While the visual appeal is obvious, there are also psychological benefits to landscaping. Landscaping designed to help ease stress and calm the mind can consist of additions such as water features, privacy-enhancing structures, flowers and more.

Introducing a water fountain to your yard can help create a serene and relaxing environment. The sound of running water is calming and healthy for resting your mind and body. But if you want to take that next step, a koi pond might be what you are looking for. Some studies show that gazing at fish help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

You may have moments when you want a little time to yourself, or perhaps a bit more privacy. Partitions or screens that give needed privacy are a visually appealing option. … Read Full Post »

A Quick Guide to Year-round Edible Gardening in San Antonio

There’s nothing quite like a fresh salad of homegrown, handpicked vegetables or a main dish sprinkled with fresh herbs just cut from the garden. One of the benefits of living in San Antonio is that there are edible plants that can be grown at any time of the year. Knowing what to grow and when to grow it is a matter of doing some research on gardening in the region.

San Antonio is considered to be in Hardiness Zone 8 according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The information listed below is based on the season during which the plant will be ready for harvesting.

Spring

  • Broccoli can be started in the winter and transplanted to the garden by February. The timing of the planting season for broccoli makes it the perfect vegetable to be enjoyed in the spring.
  • Cucumbers are sown in warm weather and harvested quickly. If you start as soon as frost … Read Full Post »

Beat the Heat and Cold with San Antonio Landscaping Choices

You may know of ways to use windows, drapery and insulation to boost heat in the winter and keep the home cool in the summer, but did you know that you can heat and cool the inside of your home with the help of outdoor landscaping?

Methods of Cooling with Landscaping

Placing trees and other plants in the right location around your home could help shield your home from the sun during summer months. Keeping out harsh rays while the weather is warm means that your home will stay cooler and your air conditioning bills could be lower.

Use tall trees that lose leaves during cooler months to shade windows during the summer. Although the majority of heat that enters a home can be attributed to the beating of the sun’s rays through uncovered windows, a significant amount of the heat that is absorbed by a home when the weather is warm enters … Read Full Post »

Pet-Safe Gardening Tips for Landscaping in San Antonio

For many years, cocoa mulch has been a popular choice for landscaping. Recently, pet owners across the nation have been warned against using this long-lasting mulch. Although most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs, few people know about the dangers of cocoa mulch.

According to the ASPCA, cocoa bean shells, which are a by-product of chocolate processing, contain up to 3% theobromine and approximately .36 % caffeine. Both of these compounds can compromise the health of dogs. A number of pet owners have seen their family dogs become sick after eating large quantities of this enticing cocoa-scented mulch.

San Antonio lawn care service providers at ABC Home & Commercial routinely replace cocoa mulch with other alternatives, such as crushed stone, pine straw and cedar bark. These materials help prevent weeds, and they retain soil moisture without endangering pets. Pet owners may also consider installing protective fencing to prevent pets … Read Full Post »