ABC Blog

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 »

Planting With Compost: Expert Advice From The Pros

Planting with compost

What do cow manure, grass clippings, dead leaves, coffee grounds and dinner scraps have in common? All of the above can be used to create or feed a compost pile, which you can then use in your garden to help keep your trees, plants, vegetable crops and soil healthy and thriving. Planting with compost is easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. Ready to learn everything you need to know about how to make and use compost in your garden? You came to the right place!

First, let’s talk about what compost is and what it’s used for. At its most basic, compost is simply partially decomposed organic matter—in other words, plant and other material that is nutrient-rich because it’s in the process of breaking down. Gardeners use compost to add important nutrients and microbes to the soil, in order to build its structure and help plants thrive. If … Read Full Post »

Best Trees For Central Texas: A Homeowner’s Guide

Best trees for Central Texas

If you live in Austin, San Antonio or any of the surrounding cities, towns and rural spaces that make up the vast and beautiful Central Texas region, you already know something about Central Texas trees: In order not just to survive but to thrive, they have to be able to withstand periods of high heat and drought as well as occasional frigid snaps and deluges of water when the rainy season hits in spring and fall. That’s right—Central Texas trees have to be as tough, hardy and resilient as the people who live here. The best trees for Central Texas landscapes include varieties that can withstand all of the above, along with a variety of soil compositions, including plenty of rocks and limestone. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the best trees for Central Texas gardeners and the outdoor spaces they love.

Texas Ash Tree: A Classic Choice For … Read Full Post »

6 Ways to Keep Your Garden and Yard Pest-Free Without Chemicals

6 Ways to Maintain a Pest-Free Garden and Yard Without Chemicals - How to Garden Without Pests or Pesticides

Today, we’re talking about how to keep your garden pest-free without the use of pesticides or insecticides. It’s a common question for people who want to maintain an organic yard or garden.

While it may not be easy, it is possible. So, don’t give up! Let’s turn that black thumb into a green thumb.

What is Organic Gardening?

Reconnecting with nature and all its beauty is a great way to heighten your awareness to the world around you, both big and small. Unfortunately, gardening is more complicated than it seems, as any true gardener knows.

First off, the soil is alive with a small-scale world mostly unknown to us. One scoop of soil can be home to hundreds of thousands of fungi, thousands of protozoans, and a huge assortment of microscopic creatures known as cryptozoa.

In the 1980s, Jostein Goksøyr and Vigdis Torsvik (Norwegian scientists), gathered a gram of soil from a nearby beech forest … Read Full Post »

How Often To Water Lawn In Summer

How often to water lawn in summer

As we all know, the official start to summer is in late June.

The truth is, homeowners in Texas and other southern states know that temperatures can start inching up in April or May, depending on the year.

Because of this, many people wonder when and how to adjust their lawn watering schedule to ensure that grass and plants survive our dry and hot summer months.

Do you water a little bit every day? Water only once a week, but leave the sprinklers on for a long time to let the water really soak down? Forgo watering altogether because you had a rainy spring and your plants are looking great?

Then, you may wonder when exactly to set your sprinklers. What time should you water your lawn, if and when you do?

Maybe you have been inconsistent in your watering from year to year, and it’s just not working. Perhaps you have a water-logged … Read Full Post »

How to Prepare Your Yard for Spring and Summer

How to Prepare Your Yard for Spring and Summer

Winter weather can leave your landscape wanting. To help bring your landscape back to its fuller and lusher self, it’s important to do some spring lawn prep and maintenance.

Spring lawn care in essential for keeping your yard thriving and resilient through summer. If you want to a beautiful lawn and garden, follow these steps to keep your lawn and landscaping lush and green for the summer.

10 Ways to Get Lawn and Landscaping Ready for Summer

1. Rake It Up

The first step to preparing your yard for spring and summer is to do some raking and cleaning around the home. Use your yard waste container to collect all the leaves, twigs and other debris that has accumulated over winter. Vigorously rake your lawn to clear your landscaping of thatch—dried out, dead grass and organic debris.

The more material you have on the ground, the more difficult it will be for your lawn to … Read Full Post »

How to Start an Organic Lawn & Garden | National Lawn Care Month

How to Start an Organic Lawn & Garden | National Lawn Care Month

April is National Lawn Care Month and National Pest Management Month! To help your May flowers get off to a healthy, pest-free start, learn how to start your first completely organic garden. Your lawn and garden will look lush and green, and of course, will be completely organic. Spring is the best time to start!

How to Start an Organic Lawn & Garden

Even if your soil looks dead and lifeless, it can be brought back to life. But in order to find out what your soil needs, you need a soil test. 

  1. Get a Soil Sample

Testing your soil is the first step toward building good garden soil. You could waste a lot of money and energy, not to mention the possibility for poisoning, by adding things to your soil before conducting a soil test.

It’s a good idea to test your soil every 3-5 years since levels change all the time. Spring is … Read Full Post »

What Are Herbicides? Herbicide Pros & Cons

What Are Herbicides? Herbicide Pros & Cons

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the weeds. Before you let plant predators such as cleavers, chickweed, henbit, sow thistle and wild carrot take over, learn the pros and cons of herbicides, as well as some non-chemical alternatives.

Weeds can rob nutrients from the soil and smother other plants, but they aren’t all bad. Some can help your plants grow; others you may actually enjoy. They can also act as a free soil test, telling you whether or not you need soil balancing. Certain weeds spring up only when the soil is too high or low in something.

Many times, you can organically solve your weed problem by simply getting rid of the existing weeds and then balancing the soil. Learn more about how to improve soil quality in your lawn.

Sometimes, however, herbicides are necessary. But before you start releasing chemicals around your property, it’s important to consider what they are, how … 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 »

When To Start Mowing Lawn And Proper Mowing Techniques

When to start mowing lawn

The end of winter means one thing for many of us in the Southern states: the brutal heat of summer isn’t far away. To look on the bright side, everything comes to life again during the springtime. Insects and other animals emerge from their winter hiding spots and plants and flowers begin to bloom once more.

Just like all other living things in your backyard, your grass will also begin to grow. While your initial inclination might be to get out the lawnmower on the first day of sunshine and warmth, knowing how and when to start mowing your lawn will be the first step in giving your grass the care it needs to survive our dry and hot summers.

In this post, we’ll dive into the dos and don’ts of mowing your grass, including how to properly cut and care for your lawn after the winter months up until your the … Read Full Post »