ABC Blog

How to Aerate Your Lawn for Happy Green Grass

happy healthy grass

Beautiful, healthy grass makes a great yard for play, right? While this is something many of us would love to have, it’s easy to overlook some of the factors involved in having such a luxury – including the soil below the lawn.

In many ways, the soil underneath your lawn is like the foundation of your house. The key function of the foundation is to provide a stable base, so your house doesn’t shift.

Similarly, the soil beneath your lawn must be healthy and nutrient-rich for your lawn to thrive. The best way to keep the soil beneath your lawn healthy is to aerate your lawn.

Aeration provides important benefits to any lawn

The process of aeration removes small plugs of dirt and help to break up compacted soil, where it can be difficult for plants to grow. There’s less space for roots to spread out in compacted soil. That means those roots can … Read Full Post »

When to Fertilize Your Lawn for the Greenest Grass

buying a new home in Texas

Imagine yourself as a newly-minted homeowner. You’ve recently purchased and moved into a beautiful home with a well-established lawn.

As part of your home maintenance schedule, you start to think about how to maintain this lovely lawn – mowing, watering, weeding and fertilizing all come to mind. Each of these tasks seems pretty straightforward, especially mowing and watering which happen on an as-needed basis.

But what about fertilization? When is that supposed to happen for best results?

How do you know when to fertilize your lawn?

Fertilizing seems like an easy task in and of itself. You may remember watching a parent or neighbor spreading those little white fertilizer pellets on lawns in your neighborhood.

What you may not remember about that process is when it happens and why. There are several factors you should consider before deciding when to fertilize your lawn. Here are a handful of factors you might want to consider.

Learn about … Read Full Post »

Watering Your Trees in the Dry Summer Heat

watering trees in summer

 

Summers in Bryan-College Station are hot and dry. Even in a year when we’re not in a drought, our trees, shrubbery and other landscaping plants will struggle to make it through our long summer days.

Established trees can withstand stretches of dry conditions during the summer, but if you planted any new trees or shrubs in the past year, they might be struggling by now. Lack of water causes stress that weakens plants, making them more susceptible to disease and fungus, and their root systems can become compromised.

Why is this an issue? Isn’t the drought over?

Even with all the rain we received this spring and early summer, the heat and intense sun will dry out the soil.

Each day, trees take in water through their roots and then transpire that moisture out through their leaves. Your majestic oaks have developed extensive root systems, including deep tap roots, which allow them to find … Read Full Post »

Ladybugs: Your Backyard’s Best Friend (And Foe!)

What’s the first image that comes to mind when thinking of a ladybug? If your answer involves a picture of a grandchild dressing up as one for Halloween, or making a wish on one as a child, you’re not alone.

Ladybugs, unlike other pests, are often paired with positive memories, and typically thought of as harmless creatures. And with their delicate wings and beautiful black-spotted backs, it’s hard to image them as anything other than a pretty creature.

But when it comes to your backyard, these gentle critters can offer more than just good luck. They can help combat destructive pests like aphids, mites, and scale. Here are a few ways you can attract (and keep!) ladybugs in your backyard.

Plenty of Pollen

Like all pests, ladybugs need to eat, and they have their favorite meals. To attract ladybugs to your backyard or garden, consider including a few pollen plants in the area. These … Read Full Post »

Proper Tree Care Protocol

trees can drink several gallons of water per day

We’ve had some crazy weather in College Station recently. Between the tornadoes and floods, Mother Nature has wreaked havoc on our neighborhood. And speaking of nature, our trees are also on the receiving end of these recent severe weather patterns.

Local workers have been busy cleaning up downed trees. Oversized limbs are too large to haul off, so they must be cut into smaller chunks. Some trees have so much damage that they need to be removed entirely. And unfortunately, these broken trees can cause injuries to our homes and power lines.

We can’t control the weather, but we can attempt to take better care of our trees to limit destruction of property after massive storms.

So what is the best way to maintain our trees?

First, identify the type of trees on your property and educate yourself about them. Trees commonly grown in the College Station area are oak, pecan, elm, cedar, and … Read Full Post »

Celebrating the Big Tree in Goose Island Park

Big Tree Rockport Texas

 The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park north of Rockport, Texas. Photo Credit: Larry D. Moore

The Oldest Known Tree in Texas.

We’ve all marveled at different types of trees from around the world. From Redwoods in California to Banyan trees in India to Baobab trees in Madagascar, there are unique and incredibly old trees all over the world. Have you ever wondered what the oldest or most unique tree in Texas is?

The oldest tree on record in Texas is right in our neighborhood, a 1,000-year-old Coastal Live Oak nicknamed “The Big Tree”. Over its lifetime, the tree has withstood between 40 and 50 hurricanes and narrowly escaped destruction during the Civil War as Union troops set fire to the town of Lamar not far away.

Where did the Big Tree come from?

So, how did this tree, like a handful of other old trees around the world, manage to live so long? … Read Full Post »

How to handle your neighbor’s overgrown trees

tree trimming services

 

Large, established trees are a fixture in many older neighborhoods. Think about the new home developments you’ve visited, and they all likely have one thing in common: no established trees! These older trees provide shade on hot summer days, a home and food source for animals, play areas for children, and can even provide energy savings when blocking sunlight from entering a home.

With all of these benefits come several challenges. Property lines in neighborhoods exist in fixed areas, and tree growth of both roots and branches do not conform to any set location. Homeowners commonly run into situations where a tree sits on a property line, or a tree trunk grows in one yard with its branches hanging into another yard.

As a homeowner, what is the best way to deal with a shared tree that requires maintenance?

First, understand that this is a very common issue. The root systems of trees … Read Full Post »

Why The City of Austin Still Has Water Restrictions

It seems like Austin has switched places with Portland or Seattle this year. We’ve received record amounts of rainfall. And along with the rains, we’ve enjoyed cooler temperatures and a later summer than normal. You’ve heard it on the news – the lakes are full, hurray!

Despite the rain, the City of Austin is still enforcing water restrictions, and has made some long-term changes to reduce water use in the Central Texas area. So if the lakes are full and our water supply is back to previous levels, why are we still operating under water restrictions?

How Austin-Area Water Sources Work Today

Our primary water source in Austin comes from the Colorado River and the system of Highland Lakes along the river. The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) manages this water source, and the City of Austin is its customer.

There are five dams along the river and six lakes created by those dams.

Lake … Read Full Post »

Rain and Your Lawn: How Much Is Too Much?

In San Antonio, we’ve experienced an exceptionally wet spring season, with several downpours over the past few months. While we’re grateful not to be in a drought, and our lawns certainly appreciate the rain, in this case, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

Below we’ll look at some of the ways heavy and prolonged rains can harm your lawn, and some tips you can follow to avoid most of the potential damage.

Roots

A lawn can get too dependent on rain. If water is abundant, grass and other plants don’t need to develop healthy root systems. When a wet spring is followed by a hot and dry summer (as most of our summers are) the grass won’t have the deep roots it needs to survive.

Furthermore, too much water will actually suffocate your lawn. Most plants can’t stand in water for extended periods of time because waterlogged soil doesn’t … Read Full Post »

Preparing a Storm-Resistant Yard

Here in Corpus Christi, it’s possible to maintain a beautiful yard and landscape despite severe thunderstorms and hurricane season that bring hail, high winds and torrential rain to our backyards.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can make sure your yard can withstand the forces of Mother Nature year-round.

Lawn

If you plan to reseed your lawn in the spring, be sure to check the weather forecast to ensure that rainy weather isn’t right around the corner. It’s never a good idea to plant seeds or small bedding plants right before severe storms. Heavy rains will wash away seed and fertilizer, and hail and winds will destroy tender bedding plants that haven’t had a chance to get established.

When possible, apply mulches or ground cloth, such as hemp netting, to further protect fragile topsoil from pounding rains. These will hold plantings in place as well as prevent rainwater from washing … Read Full Post »