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Our 5 Favorite Landscape Supply Stores in Austin

ABC has a full service landscape design and lawn services team

Are you thinking of starting a vegetable garden, but don’t know where to begin?

 

It can be an overwhelming process for someone new to gardening. The first things to know are what materials you need and where to go to get them. These 5 gardening supply stores in Austin will provide you with everything you need to start your vegetable garden.

The Natural Gardener (southwest)

Built on the site of an old farmstead, the Natural Gardener is not just any gardening and landscaping store – it’s a destination. Owner John Dromgoole has been a major force in Austin for bringing environmentally sustainable gardening practices to Austin, even going so far as starting his own product line. In addition to being able to purchase all the materials you need for your vegetable garden, take advantage of the numerous amenities and services available. Peruse the teaching gardens, attend a free class, say hello to the … Read Full Post »

7 Elements of a Perfect and Happy Lawn

A Short and Complete Guide to Nurturing North Texas Yards

If lawn care chores are wearing you out, you might be trying too hard. Nurturing a Dallas landscape takes some effort, but why make it complicated? You can keep that yard perfectly happy with seven simple steps.

1. Understand the Grass – Just knowing what kind of turf you’re growing isn’t enough. Bermuda grass doesn’t like shade, and St. Augustine is a heavy drinker. Whether it’s buffalo, centipede or zoysia, show that lawn some love by learning about its preferences.

2. Watch Your Watering – Break the habit of watering on set days. Slow, deep soakings encourage healthy root systems, so wait until the yard looks a little thirsty. Whether you irrigate with a sprinkler or an automated system, water early in the morning for maximum effect.

3. Feed on Schedule – Most North Texas lawns like their nutrients served every two months from … Read Full Post »

5 Ways Your Landscaping Can Boost Your Energy Efficiency

Beautify your lawn and conserve resources at the same time

Smart landscape design can lower your energy bills all year long. Learning how to arrange plantings for maximum efficiency transforms your lawn into a beautiful oasis that works to reduce heating and cooling costs. Start saving now with these energy-efficient landscaping tips for your Austin home.

Cool Down with Trees

Shade trees have the power to cool your yard by as much as six degrees and reduce indoor temperatures up to 25%. A cooler house can make your air conditioner run 10% more efficiently throughout the season. This not only reduces energy use but also prolongs the life of the unit by reducing wear from regular operation.

Create Dead Space

Planting vines, shrubs and bushes near the walls of your home traps an insulating pocket of “dead air” that helps regulate temperatures in all seasons. Place plants far enough away so that there will be … Read Full Post »

Is Your Florida St. Augustine Grass Turning Brown?

St. Augustine is the turf of choice for Central Florida lawns. In the late summer and early fall, you might notice a change in color that could be cause for alarm.

This common lawn fungus is easy to identify, as it creates circular pockets of grass that appear to have died. We’re talking about Brown Patch.

All warm season turfs are at risk for Brown Patch, especially Zoysia and St. Augustine grass. The disease pathogen, known as Rhizoctonia solani, is most likely to spread from September through May when temperature are below 80 degrees. It is normally not observed in summer months, but summer weather can lead to over-irrigation, which can lead to fungus. Florida gets excessive rain and high humidity, which can also over-saturate turf grass and lead to infection.

Symptoms:

If an area of your lawn has poor drainage and lacks sufficient sunlight, it may be prone to getting the disease. You’ll … Read Full Post »

Brown Patch Lawn Fungus on the Rise in Houston

Have you ever noticed beige patches of dead-looking grass interrupting your lush green lawn? The name of this turfgrass disease is a no-brainer: Brown Patch.

Brown Patch is technically classified as a summer lawn disease. However, our Houston Lawn Specialists have noticed an increase in reported cases in the fall due to excessive lawn watering in an effort to battle the overly rough weather conditions Houston experienced during the past few months.

Brown Patch derives from a disease called Rhizoctonia, which is a fungus that thrives in warm, humid climates (sound familiar, Houston?). It lives in plant debris, or thatch, and enters plants through wounds caused during mowing. In most cases, grass can go several months before showing any sign of disease, but trust us, it is growing beneath the surface – and fast.

Brown Patch damage first appears in your lawn as circular areas of brown, dead grass surrounded by … Read Full Post »

Avoiding Summer Damage to Your Lawn

Practice proper lawn care to maintain healthy grass

When the heat of the Dallas summer meets high-traffic outdoor activity, your lawn can suffer. Try these lawn care tips to bring your outdoor environment back to life and keep it looking beautiful all summer.

Develop a Watering Routine

The general recommendation for watering is to give your lawn one inch of water per week unless the weather is extremely hot. Water in the morning before the heat begins to build. Use a sprinkler or irrigation system to get the water deep into the ground and give the grass the moisture it needs to thrive.

Mow Smart

Warm-season grasses should be cut to a height of two to three inches. Shorter grass browns in the heat and sustains damage more easily. Moisture loss increases when grass is shredded rather than cut clean, so sharpen the mower blades before the season begins. Avoid the urge to mow frequently. … Read Full Post »

Before and After a Freeze: Planned Plant Protection

Landscaping steps you can take before winter to keep your plants safe

Although the weather doesn’t often become frigid in San Antonio, temperatures can dip low enough to threaten the vegetation around your yard. Without proper preparation, this could mean losing the beautiful landscape you’ve worked so hard to maintain.

The Dangers of Frost

When plants are subject to freezing temperatures, ice crystals form inside their cells. This disrupts the flow of fluid and nutrients, causing leaves to shrivel. Sometimes the moisture in the air condenses on the plants and freezes on the surface, creating the same detrimental effect. The temperature at which vegetation freezes is measured with a hardiness rating and differs from plant to plant.

Covering Plants

Keeping plants covered on chilly nights works to combat the effects of frost. If the freeze is mild, a sheet or a blanket should do the job. When it gets colder, add a layer of plastic … Read Full Post »

Fabulous Foliage: How to Keep Trees and Bushes Healthy This Winter

Getting your trees and decorative plants ready for the cooler weather

Winter in the San Antonio area can bring cool temperatures that affect the trees and bushes adorning your lawn. Protect your precious plants from damage with these tips.

Keep Plants Hydrated

Dryness is the enemy of plants during the winter. As it becomes harder to take up water, leaves may brown and begin to die off even on evergreens. Continue to water your lawn regularly throughout the fall and don’t stop until the first hard freeze.

Make It Moist

To ensure that plants hold the water you give them, place a thick layer of mulch around the roots. This preserves the moisture content of the soil. Mulch also serves to insulate tree and shrub roots from cold and the drying effects of winter sun and wind. Spraying evergreens with an anti-desiccant offers an added layer of protection.

Wrap Up

Strong winter winds whip tree branches with … Read Full Post »

Beautiful Blooms That Defy Texas Winters

Four Garden Favorites That Don’t Mind the Cold

If you have a USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map handy, you’ll see that Austin enjoys a comfortable spot in Zone 8b. Our mild climate is a joy to area gardeners, and local green thumbs especially love these four favorites that always help bust the winter blues.

1. Prized Pansies – They’re not the biggest blossoms on the block, but these pretty flowers are tough enough to survive snow and sleet. Their distinctive five-leaf blooms come in a rainbow of hues, and the monkey-faced variety sports contrasting dark areas on each petal. Pansies are happiest with at least six hours of sunlight each day, so give them a bright spot to soak up the rays, and enjoy their color all winter long.

2. Winter Jasmine – While some gardeners consider these willowy vines old-fashioned, there’s nothing wrong with an heirloom bush that bursts into bloom in … Read Full Post »

4 Popular Hardscaping Features

Landscaping Improvements That Work For You

Lawns need mowing, gardens love edging, and weeds deserve whacking. Yard chores aren’t fun, but they add up to a beautiful home landscape. What if you could improve the scenery with features that don’t demand special attention? Here are four great hardscaping ideas for homeowners who like to relax on the weekend.

1. Retaining Walls Have Purpose

Whether they’re built with concrete block or native field stone, well-placed retaining walls minimize erosion from pouring rains and help control storm flooding. They shade delicate gardens from sizzling Texas summers and provide welcome wind breaks when winter storms blow through. If your lawn mower bounces over uneven terrain, consider the shorter cousins of these functional walls. Terracing tames the wildest slopes in San Antonio yards.

2. Pathways Work Around Problems

Towering shade trees thin the lawn under their branches, and family foot traffic wears ruts along favorite home trails. Win this … Read Full Post »