ABC Blog

9 Ways to Bring Butterflies to your Garden

how to attract butterflies

Summer is nearly upon us in Corpus Christi. There’s nothing better in the summertime than a yard filled with flowers and butterflies. Did you know that attracting different species of butterflies can be as easy as adding a variety of flowering plants to your garden, as well as following a few safe gardening practices?

Below we’ll look at some of the ways you can turn your yard into your personal butterfly garden.

How to attract butterflies

There are a number of plants that attract butterflies, and they fall into a couple of categories.

First, there are plants that butterfly larvae (caterpillars) love to eat. Growing some of these plants ensures that butterflies will mark your yard as one of their favorite places to visit.

Second, butterflies are garden pollinators. Like bees and wasps, they help pollinate flowering plants by feeding on their nectar and transferring pollen from one flower to the next. Be sure to … Read Full Post »

Lawn Fertilization Do’s and Dont’s

Lawn Fertilization

Weather extremes impact our lawns and landscaping.

With the recent drought followed by torrential rains here in Bryan-College Station, your lawn might be starved of essential nutrients. The dry conditions prevented many microbes and insects from doing their job to break down organic materials, and then recent rains likely washed away trace elements your lawn needs to be healthy.

As we greet another spring in Bryan-College Station, let’s look at how you can start your lawn off right. In this article, we’ll examine some of the things you can do to improve the condition of your lawn right now, especially how and when to fertilize your lawn in the spring.

Lawn Fertilization Do’s

There’s a lot of things you can do to give your lawn a boost this spring.

Begin fertilizing warm season grasses such as St. Augustine as soon as three weeks after the last frost. In Central Texas that’s usually mid-April, so get … 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 »

In San Antonio, Common Weeds are Abundant

ABC San Antonio Lawn Division Weed Control

In Texas, weeds arise in March and April

Spring is at our doorstep, and in many cases, so are a whole host of weeds that have cropped up over the winter months. Now is the time to get out in your yard and nip those weeds in the bud – pun intended! Even though weeds may have taken root, you can still keep them from seeding over the spring and summer months. Pulling up weeds is satisfying for homeowners, but feel free to call a professional if the task is too daunting to undertake on your own.

We’ve put together a plethora of common weeds in the San Antonio area. They tend to grow over the winter months, so spring is the time when you’ll see them cropping up in your yard.

Common Weeds of Central Texas

Thistles of several varieties are common the central Texas area – mainly, sow thistles and bull thistles.

Sow … Read Full Post »

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 »

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 »

Solving the Mystery of Small Dirt Piles

What are worm castings, and how do they help with lawn care?

When digging around in your garden, you’ve probably come across worms making their way through the dirt. The more worms you see, the healthier the soil is likely to be, but why exactly is that?

What Goes In Must Come Out

As worms tunnel from one place to another, they munch on organic matter, process it, and excrete what are called castings. Also known as vermicast, this nutrient-rich “worm manure” can be produced in controlled settings and used as a rich natural fertilizer.

Benefits of Worm Castings

Vermicast offers many benefits for your Austin lawn and garden, including:

• Improved soil aeration
• Higher levels of beneficial micro-organisms
• Higher concentrations of bioavailable nutrients such as nitrogen, calcium and potash
• Better plant growth and yield with fewer diseases
• Stronger root systems
• Recycling waste products
• Natural, chemical-free fertilization
• Attraction of more worms to further improve soil health

In … Read Full Post »