ABC Blog

5 Ways to Prepare Your Yard for Autumn

landscaping houston, lawn care houston

Summer is over, but it’s not quite time to hang up your lawn tools for the year. Here are the final five lawn care tasks you need to complete before winter:

Remove Dead Leaves Immediately

Raking your leaves might sound like common sense, but many homeowners actually put it off until all of their trees are completely bare. Trees can drop leaves for more than a month, and they’ll pile up. After a good rain, those leaves will become damp and heavy, and you’ll have a difficult time blowing or raking them into a pile.

Try to remove dead leaves at least once a week as soon as they begin dropping, and you’ll split up a large task into manageable chunks. Dead leaves will also prevent grass from receiving sunlight, which will decimate your lawn after a few weeks. Fungus and mold will also take their toll.

Eliminate Weeds in Your Lawn

Most plants begin … Read Full Post »

5 Tips for Irrigation: Save Water and Money!

Remember when you were a kid and you had no idea that the lush, green lawn where you played baseball and turned cartwheels all summer took so much upkeep? Forget about mowing—the mere cost of watering the lawn is a surprise to many homeowners. Some homeowners are wasting water (and money) by using irrigation incorrectly. Have you ever gone for a walk in your neighborhood and dodged the sprinkler that was watering the street? How many people in your neighborhood have their irrigation system on constantly, even on a rainy day? There are ways to keep your lawn and garden from wilting without draining your bank account. Here are five:

1. Water wisely. Watering your lawn and garden efficiently doesn’t have to mean purchasing expensive equipment or becoming a self-sustaining hippie commune. Two habits that can help you conserve water are watering in the early morning and keeping the water where … Read Full Post »

Healthy Grass under Your Tootsies

Which lawn personality are you?

It isn’t summer until the kids are running around on the green lawn in bare feet and tank tops. Of course, in the land of endless summers (like in Bryan-College Station and most of the southwest), it’s tank top weather year-round! High temperatures and unpredictable precipitation make lawn maintenance a tricky proposition. This combination invites all manner of creeping, crawling and rapidly expanding pests that can take over your lawn faster than you can find your flip-flops.

Fungus Grows on Texas Lawns

St. Augustine grass is popular as a Texas turf material because it grows thick and green with proper lawn care. It’s also cushy and not too tickly on bare feet. However, this grass type is also susceptible to pest problems, especially when forces of nature conspire to create a cozy environment for fungal growth. Other grass types including Bahia and Bermuda can harbor some fungus growth given high temperatures, waterlogged … Read Full Post »

It’s Huge, It’s Scary and It Wants Your Tomatoes!

Once you’ve tasted fresh, home-grown tomatoes, you’ll scoff at the anemic, mass-produced ones available at grocery stores. Growing tomato plants is rewarding, but you may run into a few challenges. If the leaves and unripened tomatoes develop holes or disappear overnight, or you find dark green droppings around the base of your plant, it’s time to inspect it for one of the tomato grower’s greatest enemies.

Identifying the Tomato Hornworm

The tomato hornworm is a large, green caterpillar with a curled head and a sharp-looking red horn on its rear. A mature hornworm is between three and five inches long and its markings include white stripes and rows of false eyes on both sides. At first glance, it resembles a ghastly little alien and many new tomato growers are quite startled the first time they spot one. A closer inspection reveals that the little fellow is harmless. Its size is intimidating, but it’s soft, squishy and … Read Full Post »

Mosquito Dangers: What You Need to Know

Along with the enjoyment of warm weather comes the annoyance of mosquitoes. Although you may plan on just ignoring these pests, the frequency of mosquito bites may become irritating and the potential for serious health concerns should keep you cautious. This summer, it may be wise to be proactive about a mosquito problem.

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquitoes are carriers of an array of viruses. Although not every mosquito is a threat, there is no way to know before a mosquito bites you. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has a thorough list of mosquito-borne diseases, but the four diseases most likely to affect any given family in the United States are West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever and canine heartworm.

West Nile virus is a potentially fatal disease that causes brain inflammation and flulike symptoms. Malaria involves a parasite attacking your red blood cells, causing a persistent fever. Dengue is a type of fever … Read Full Post »

Deep Root Feeding: Do Your Trees Need It?

Deep root feeding, also known as deep root fertilization, is a treatment that delivers nutrients directly to the root zone of a tree or shrub. If a tree is not properly nourished, the tree cannot flourish. In the worst case scenario, tree removal may be necessary.

Is Deep Root Feeding Necessary?

Deep root feeding is not always necessary, but some trees do require it. Trees in the Houston area grow in an environment that can make it difficult to adequately fertilize trees using traditional broadcasting methods of fertilization. Here are some circumstances that require treatment:

  • If a tree is growing in very compact soil, nutrients are less likely to penetrate the soil and reach the root zone.
  • In some urban and suburban areas, trees are not able to gather adequate nutrients from the immediate environment.
  • If the branch and leaf growth of the tree appears to be stunted, this can be a serious sign that … Read Full Post »

The Bee Control Controversy

why do bees swarm

You may have heard that honeybee populations in the United States are on the decline, resulting in a considerable increase in the price of local honey. Unless you consume a lot of honey, you may be wondering why you should care about bees. Aren’t they just annoying pests that build nests around your home and threaten to sting your children?

The truth is that honeybees aren’t even native to North America, but they, along with around 4,000 native species on the continent, are responsible for pollinating flowers and plants. Without these pollinators doing their job, humans and other animals would be robbed of about half of their plant food sources. As a result, bees are essential to all life on earth.

Native Versus Nonnative Bees

Native bees, such as bumblebees and orchard mason bees, have evolved over thousands of years to work in harmony with native plants and move pollen among them, helping … Read Full Post »

Common Lawn Weeds in Texas

Common lawn weeds in Texas make lawns appear untidy and unhealthy because lawn weeds in Texas grow faster than lawn grass between cuttings. Also, weeds can spread plant diseases as insects move from one plant to another. Common lawn weeds in Texas lawns consume water, fertilizer and sunlight meant for desirable plants and grasses.

Broad-leaf Weeds in Texas Lawns

Broad-leaf weeds thrive in disturbed soil. They have adapted to cover bare ground quickly and stabilize the soil. Examples of broad-leaf weeds in Texas lawns are poison ivy, pigweed, purslane and chickweed.

Grassy Weeds in Texas Lawns

The growth habit of a grassy weed can resemble lawn grass. However, grassy weeds are prolific seed producers and usually have conspicuous seed heads. Also, grassy weeds have tough roots so they can recover easily from grazing pressure in the wild. Examples of grassy weeds are Bermuda grass, Johnson grass and grassbur.

Annual Weeds

Annual weeds are weeds that grow one or two seasons and produce … Read Full Post »

IPM: Protecting Children and Pets While Eliminating Pests

Many parents understand the importance of having a pest-free home. However, they also know that several chemicals used to control various pests are dangerous for pets and children. In some cases, the results have been fatal. ABC Home & Commercial Services understands parents’ concerns and values every family member’s health. This is why they offer an alternative form of pest control, which is the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method.

What Is The IPM Method?

The EPA encourages the use of this method because they say it is less harmful to the environment than standard pest control methods. IPM can be summed up as a holistic approach to pest management. The practice encourages education and awareness for homeowners. It also encourages preventative treatments in addition to control methods if infestations occur.

What Are The Components Of IPM?

The IPM method includes several components. The first part is pest monitoring. Homeowners must be vigilant and know … Read Full Post »

Good Mowing Practices for Austin Lawns

Austin lawn care techniques need to change throughout the year because maintenance and mowing techniques for each season are different. Your lawn can be a compliment to the beautiful Austin landscape when you know the best practices to use for various weather conditions.

Winter Maintenance

During the winter months, it’s important to winterize your sprinkler system, lawn mower and lawn tools to prepare them for springtime use. Continual maintenance is important, even when they are in disuse.

Mowing

If you plan to use a riding lawn mower this Spring, make sure you know how to operate it safely. Set your mower height one or two notches lower if you plan to mow during the winter to help prevent damage by winter winds that can dry out new growth. If the grass is too long through the winter, it may smother itself, succumb to disease or suffer injury from repeated freezing and thawing. However, cutting … Read Full Post »