ABC Blog

How Long Do Pre-Emergents Last?

Weeds popping through soil which may lead a homeowner to wonder how long pre-emergents last

Many homeowners strive to find the perfect combination of watering, mowing and fertilization to create that coveted lush, weed-free lawn we all want, but they overlook the importance of using a pre-emergent herbicide to keep weeds at bay. If you love having a healthy lawn, you may be wondering about these products, also called “preemergence herbicides,” and how to use them. How long do pre-emergents last? How do they work? And when is the best time to apply them to your yard?

Fortunately, pre-emergents are a relatively straightforward and effective step to add to your lawn care routine, as long as you make sure to select the right product for your yard and add it at the right time. The name “pre-emergent herbicide” refers to the fact that these products are to be used before the weeds emerge—which really means before their seeds have taken root.

Typically, pre-emergents will be effective for … Read Full Post »

Topsoil vs. Compost: What’s Best for Your Yard?

A gardening table with compost and topsoil where a homeowner is debating the differences between topsoil vs compost

Many people have questions about topsoil versus compost—namely, what exactly are they, what are the differences between them and which is best for growing beautiful flowers or thick, lush grass. Whether you’re planting a garden or simply looking for ways to help your lawn thrive, you’ve probably considered both topsoil and compost as a lawn amendment, and you might have felt confused about which would be best for your yard’s particular needs. Topsoil and compost are similar in appearance, after all—they both look a lot like regular dirt. But they aren’t the same, and while both play important roles in creating outdoor spaces that thrive, they have distinct uses and applications.

Put very simply, topsoil is the very topmost layer of soil on the ground. When people add it to their yards or gardens as a soil amendment, they usually purchase it in bags or in bulk, although you can create … Read Full Post »

Why Do I Have Yellow Spots in My Grass?

A lawn that has brown patch, which is a common cause of yellow spots in grass

After putting lots of hard work into taking care of your lawn and creating a lawn care schedule, you’re frustrated to see that all that effort was for nothing. There are unsightly yellow spots in your grass and you’re unsure of what went wrong and what you can do to fix it.

There are several reasons why you might have yellow spots in your grass, including certain fungal diseases that various types of grass can be prone to, as well as pest infestations like grub worms and chinch bugs that can cause patches of discoloration. If you have pets, particularly dogs, their urine can also cause yellow spots in grass, especially if they typically “do their business” in one area. Fortunately, there are steps you can take in each of these cases to mitigate the discoloration and help return your grass to a thick, green state.

Pet Urine

One of the most common … Read Full Post »

Texas Evergreen Shrubs: Which Are Best?

A Japanese boxwood shrub which is considered a Texas evergreen shrub

Homeowners often choose to add bushes to their front yards to add height and texture, enhance security and improve the aesthetic appeal of a landscape. If you are considering making this investment and you live in the Lone Star State, you probably want to learn more about Texas evergreen shrubs, particularly since you want to make sure your new plants survive in our hot and dry climate. Usually, your best bet is to consult with a landscaping professional to recommend which species would work best in your yard, given not only our climate, but also your soil type, sun exposure and watering preferences. If you’d prefer to go the DIY route, however, we have a few suggestions for you.

Yaupon Holly

Whether you’re looking for an evergreen hedge or a topiary plant, yaupon holly is a popular choice in residential areas, and for good reason. This evergreen shrub is easy to trim … Read Full Post »

Compost vs. Mulch: What’s Best for My Yard?

A homeowner holding a handful of compost

Many homeowners don’t understand the differences between compost and mulch, which makes it hard to know which would be more beneficial for their yards. It can be tricky to determine which one you should use, not to mention where and when, especially since both compost and mulch play important roles in helping grass and plants become part of a flourishing landscape. People also sommetimes use the terms compost and mulch interchangeably, although these are actually two very different things with distinct benefits and potential applications in your yard. By taking a deeper look to learn more about what each one is and what it’s best used for, you’ll better understand what to use for your particular situation.

Let’s start with compost. This is the stuff that starts out looking something like food waste and winds up looking a lot like dirt, once nature has taken its course and the compost has … Read Full Post »

Why Are My Sprinkler Heads Not Popping Up?

Sprinkler heads not popping up on an irrigation system can rob your grass of water it needs

If you want a yard full of lush, beautiful grass, you need to supply plenty of what it needs most: water. Of course, that can be easier said than done, especially if you’ve ever turned on your yard’s irrigation system only to discover that your sprinkler heads are not popping up. So, what should you do when you encounter this problem?

While there are several different types of sprinkler systems, pop-up sprinklers are very common in residential areas because they lie flush to the ground a majority of the time, so they don’t detract from your lawn’s visual appeal. The top of the sprinkler has a nozzle coming from a piston that comes up when your system is on and retracts when not in use.

When you turn on the sprinklers and one or more sprinkler heads don’t pop up, the first possibility to consider is also one of the simplest to … Read Full Post »

When to Plant Zoysia Grass and Other Lawn Care Tips

A backyard with newly planted zoysia grass

If you’re planning to lay new sod in your yard and you are considering zoysia for its heat-tolerant and drought-resistant qualities, you need to know when to plant zoysia grass to ensure that it will have the best possible chance to thrive. This grass is popular among homeowners in warmer climates because it can withstand a lot of abuse in the form of hot sun and minimal rainfall, but it’s still important to give zoysia its best start, to make sure your lawn will be lush, green and healthy.

It’s easy to see why zoysia is well-loved by landscapers and homeowners alike. Though it is considered a warm-season grass, zoysia also tolerates cold well, so it can easily thrive in all but the very coldest parts of the country. It loves full sun but can also take moderate amounts of shade, and because its blades grow so densely together, it is … Read Full Post »

Landscaping With Drought Tolerant Texas Plants

A shrimp plant which is a drought tolerant texas plant

Living in Texas means dealing with blistering heat during the summer months and, let’s face it, often during the spring and fall as well. Many regions in the state also face harsh weather conditions in the winter, which means any Texas yard or garden must be as hardy as Texas homeowners themselves. This is why landscaping with drought tolerant Texas plants has become so popular in landscape design.

In addition, due to the size of our state, not every plant is adapted to every area. Depending on where you’re located, here are a few options for drought resistant plants that will thrive in your yard:

  • Central Texas: Black and blue sage, pink salvia, oregano, carpet rose, mint and rosemary.
  • North Texas: Hot lips salvia, lamb’s ear, rock rose, Mexican bush sage, beautyberry and St. John’s wort.
  • South Texas: German red carnation, yarro, oxblood lily, Mexican heather, indigo spires salvia and firebush.
  • East Texas: Baby’s breath, … Read Full Post »

Dallisgrass Vs. Crabgrass: Which Weed Do I Have?

A patch of crabgrass

If you’ve ever seen clumps of grass in your yard that don’t match the rest of the lawn and seem to grow faster than anything else around them, you probably realized you have weeds. What you may not have known is what those plants are called or how to get rid of them. Two of the most common weed grasses to show up in most yards that are often mistaken for each other are dallisgrass or crabgrass. Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between dallisgrass vs. crabgrass so you can learn how to identify each type and what steps you can take to maintain a lush, weed-free lawn. For starters, let’s take a look at dallisgrass.

Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass migrated north to the U.S. from its native home in South America. Dallisgrass is a coarse, clumping grass that spreads from short, thick rhizomes. It is identifiable by its grayish-green … Read Full Post »

Landscaping Spring Cleanup: Advice From The Experts

a hat, gardening shears and gloves to get started with spring landscaping cleanup

As the temperature starts to warm up and the first signs of spring appear, homeowners quickly turn their attention to their yards, as many grasses and plants go dormant during the cooler months of the year. When considering your landscaping, spring cleanup can consist of:

  • Clearing all debris, including dead leaves, fallen branches, pet waste and other clutter.
  • Planning your mowing, fertilizing and watering schedule, or signing up for a lawn service to take over these regular tasks for you.
  • Dethatching any dead roots or leaves in your lawn that may prevent your newly growing plants from getting the nutrients they need.
  • Pruning trees and shrubs to encourage healthy growth.
  • Take a blower to patios and decks to get all dust and other particles off of your commonly used spaces
  • Giving your lawn and landscaping some breathing room by planning to aerate.
  • Re-edging your flower beds.
  • Beginning a regular watering and weeding routine to encourage new growth of … Read Full Post »