ABC Blog

25 Organic Gardening Tips

1. Mulch your flower beds and trees with 3″ of organic material – it conserves water, adds humus and nutrients, and discourages weeds. It gives your beds a nice, finished appearance.

 

2. Mulch acid-loving plants with a thick layer of pine needles each fall. As the needles decompose, they will deposit their acid in the soil.

 

3. The most important step in pest management is to maintain healthy soil. It produces healthy plants, which are better able to withstand disease and insect damage.

 

4. Aphids? Spray infested stems, leaves, and buds with a very dilute soapy water, then clear water. It works even on the heaviest infestation.

 

5. Compost improves soil structure, texture, and areation, and increases the soil’s water holding capacity. It also promotes soil fertility and stimulates healthy root development.

 

6. Look for natural and organic alternatives to chemical fertilizers, such as the use of compost. Our use of inorganic fertilizer is causing … Read Full Post »

City of Austin Waterwise Landscape Rebate Program: Conserve Water and Save Money

Austin Water began a new rebate program on July 1, 2010, named the¬†Landscape Conversion Incentive Program. This program is part of Austin’s larger plan to become one of the greenest cities in the nation. It is also a great way to promote efficient use of water in our landscapes and help us to the road to sustainable living. Not only that, but you get free money for participating in the program, too. Austin Water provides resources to help you determine the best native plants and designs for your landscaping projects. If you are interested in participating in the program you can visit the Austin Water website or access the form by clicking on this hyperlink, Landscape Conversion Incentive Rebate Form.

To be eligible for the program, you need to have started your xeriscaping project¬†after July 1, 2010. Requirements include before and after pictures, a minimum of 500 square feet used for … Read Full Post »

Watering Trees in Texas Summer

While attempting the near impossible task of maintaining a green yard in the middle of a Central Texas summer, it is important not to neglect your trees when watering your yard. Frequent drought conditions and the Texas heat can take a toll on any shrub or tree, but it can be especially damaging to newly planted trees. The most limiting factor for newly planted tree growth and survival is a lack of adequate water. Without enough water, young trees experience slowed root and shoot growth which can cause the tree to become stunted. Once stunting occurs, it is very difficult for a tree to make up the lost growth. Drought injury on tree leaves include wilting, curling at the edges, yellowing; leaves might be smaller size drop early or stay on the branches even though dead and/or brown. Drought stress might not kill trees immediately but it might set them … Read Full Post »

Keeping Critters Out of Your Garden & Home

It’s no news that animal waste causes e coli and other diseases. There are plenty of diseases associated with pest animals and their droppings. In addition to diseases, pest animals can cause nightmares for otherwise-happy property owners and gardeners.

Nature’s wild critters can be highly destructive, annoying, and cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. Furthermore, droppings are messy and give a low-class image.

  • Deer forage your foliage
  • Raccoons ravage your garbage
  • Armadillos tear up your lawn
  • Squirrels chew their way into your house, damaging electrical wires
  • Dogs and cats destroy gardens and healthy grass
  • Skunks stink up your whole yard

To prevent pest critter problems, there are several non-lethal, non-chemical, non-barrier solutions. The choices are there for homeowners to consider. Think permanence when you consider the repellent choice, as most homeowners don’t have the time or inclination to monitor the pest situation. Remember that pest animals are on your property for a reason. If they’re happy, comfortable … Read Full Post »

Texas Oak Tree Leaves And Varieties That Thrive In Our Climate

oak tree leaves

Texas is famous for its oak trees. In fact, there are more than 50 varieties native to Texas. Oak trees are important for wildlife because they provide acorns for food, and the large trees provide shelter within their huge branches. Even after an oak tree dies in the wild, it provides shelter as it slowly decays. Some oak trees grow more quickly than others and make good trees for landscaping. These trees can also help decrease your utility bills, protect against erosion, add to your landscape’s aesthetic appeal, buffer your home from strong winds and add to the value of your home.

Oak Tree Leaves: Similarities And Differences

There are about 60 different types of oak trees which are native to North America. These trees fall into two primary categories: red oaks and white oaks. Oaks have what is called “alternate” leaves, which means that only one leaf emerges from the stem, … Read Full Post »

Spring Tree Tips

As you get ready to tackle spring cleaning jobs, don’t forget your trees. Keeping trees and landscaping green takes constant commitment; and, as they say, timing is everything.

As we turn away from the harsh winter months and head toward the growing season, here are some tips from expert tree care professional Mark Chisholm to help keep your trees and plants healthy. Chisholm is a third-generation arborist with the Aspen Tree Expert Company in New Jersey and a two-time winner of the International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) International Tree Climbing Championship.

PREPARE TO PRUNE
The best time to prune trees and shrubs varies depending upon species and desired results. Pruning during the dormant season, when the trees have no leaves, is usually best. This is the time to prune young trees for future structure, remove live limbs that are too low or close to the house, and remove limbs that might have been … Read Full Post »

Why Choose a Certified Arborist for Tree Services?

Why Hire A Certified Arborist?

The tree service industry is replete with all kinds of characters whose knowledge about trees ranges from laughable to fanatical. At the top tier of the industry stands the Certified Arborist. There are many tree services that have nothing to do with the International Society of Arboriculture and its certifications. Some of them even do a good job. The odds of getting high quality tree care go up when a Certified Arborist is employed. The certification shows a level of dedication to the industry that may be lacking otherwise.In order to test to become a Certified Arborist you need three verifiable years in the tree care industry and a Certified Arborist who is willing to sign off as your sponsor. A few caveats are in order here: There are many Certified Arborists whose knowledge of even the basics are lacking, i.e. they couldn’t even make a … Read Full Post »

Identifying & Preventing Oak Wilt Disease

In Texas, we have a green luxury that most of us take for granted. Whether in our front yards, neighborhoods, or local park, oak trees are considered to be majestic and beautiful trees that provide a lot of shade and greenery to our otherwise dull scenes. Especially in central Texas, besides the beauty of rolling hills, we have great oak trees to complement the entire scenery.

However, oak wilt is threatening that beautiful scenery quite rapidly. Oak wilt, also known as “sudden oak death,” is one of the most threatening tree diseases in Texas and continues to kill off live oak and red oak trees – including shumard oaks, Spanish oaks and blackjack oaks – spreading from one to the next. This disease is caused by a fungus called Ceratocystis fagacearum which takes over a tree’s water conducting system, thus causing the tree to die quickly. Oak wilt kills off a … Read Full Post »