ABC Blog

How Composting Increases Grass Health

Providing the best in nutrients for a beautiful lawn

A beautiful lawn or garden is a point of pride for your home. Adopting good lawn care practices is the best way to ensure that your grass will be beautifully green all summer long. Among the best lawn treatments you can choose is composting, or the application of beneficial organisms and organic matter to the soil.

How Composting Helps Your Lawn

When you choose compost for your lawn, you’re choosing one of nature’s most powerful nutrients. Compost is made from a wide variety of organic matter that’s allowed to decay and produce organisms and nutrients that are beneficial to the soil. This powerful, nutrient-rich mixture can be applied directly to the soil before planting or can be spread across the top of the grass.

One of the chief benefits of composting is that it adds nutrients to the soil, creating a rich growing medium for … Read Full Post »

Savvy Strategies for Creating the Ultimate Backyard Oasis

Easy landscaping options that work

It’s fun to sit on the deck and imagine converting the backyard into a peaceful, personal retreat. If those daydreams include minimum work, natural beauty and creative touches, why not turn them into realities? With a few smart strategies, you can easily upgrade that simple backyard into the ultimate Hill Country oasis.

Keep Plans Simple

The secret to a successful backyard makeover is simplicity. This strategy lets you design an inviting getaway that doesn’t require constant upkeep. Start with a plan that breaks that square yard out of the box. Create colorful corridors with bright containers that define space and raise your gardening above ground level. Soften fence corners with feathery shrubs like aromatic Texas sage and fast-growing artemisia. Plant paving stones in that shady spot under the live oak, and turn it into your favorite outdoor reading room. Work with what you have, and enjoy the path … Read Full Post »

Natural Ways to Whack Weed Invasions

Whoever said that a weed is simply a plant out of place obviously never tried to maintain their own landscaping to keep it weed-free. Rather than relying on one strict plan of action, it’s best to use a combination of methods to prevent aggressive weeds from outcompeting your lawn and landscape plants for water and nutrients.

An Ounce of Prevention

Keeping your soil healthy will go a long way toward preventing weed Armageddon in your yard. Using a natural pre-emergent herbicide such as corn gluten meal can have some effect on certain types of weeds. Planting ground covers and using mulch, whether carbon-based or inorganic, will certainly prevent weeds from sprouting. Companion planting and choosing landscape plants that are hardy in your area and can actually compete with weeds for resources can help tremendously.

Watering only in areas directly around existing landscape plants can starve weeds in open areas, especially during drought conditions. … Read Full Post »

Beyond Gnomes: Unique Lawn Ornaments That Make Your Home Stand Out

Personality in the yard doesn’t need a pointy hat

The short ones with beards are cute, but they’re reaching retirement age. Those graceful, pink flocks have seen better days. If you’re not ready to give up your gnomes and flamingos, move them to the shed and dress up your lawns with something fresh. Revive forgotten classics, create a little magic, or let nature do the decorating.

Complement With Traditions

Whether your San Antonio home reflects the grace of Spanish influence or sports classic lines and contemporary styling, a touch of tradition gives the yard special appeal. Stately gazing globes are the latest trend from an earlier time. These lovely mirrored spheres reflect the beautiful Texas sky, and their stands vary from marble pillars to wrought-iron sculptures. Old-fashioned whirligigs replicate the relaxing spin of windmills or the flight of your favorite birds. Pathways add an inviting look around the garden when you opt for … Read Full Post »

600 Miles of Roots

Untangling the fuzzy facts about pampas grass

Pampas grass has a mixed reputation, and rumors around lawn care circles allege that just one clump produces a root mass that can unravel to a length of more than 600 miles. If you drove that distance east from the Bryan-College Station area, you’d make it to the Florida panhandle. What else should you know about this unusual ornamental?

Are Those Fronds Friend or Foe?

The sight of a Texas sunset through those feathery plumes adds a special beauty to the evening, but early settlers saw them as something more practical. Pampas grass was imported from South America to feed grazing herds. This plan proved to be mistake, but the plant’s rooting tenacity and efficient reproduction techniques made it a permanent part of the landscape. The flowers are dioecious, which means that each shrub is either male or female, and all it takes is one gentleman … Read Full Post »

When Dallas Yards Get Hungry

Enhancing your property with proper fertilization techniques

Although Dallas definitely stays warmer year-round than states in the northern half of the country, it’s still imperative to consider your property’s lawn care needs for the spring, summer and fall. After all, fertilizing strategies change with the weather, and you also need to aerify warm season turfgrasses during the spring and summer months. Taking the time to create the proper strategy will help ensure a lush lawn.

Fertilization Schedule for Southern Grasses

It’s common for Dallas-area residents to have Southern grasses such as Zoysia, Bermuda and St. Augustine on their property. All of these grasses require granular slow-release fertilization four times a year to help them look their best. This requires a proper schedule so that you don’t end up overwhelming your yard or inadvertently causing some damage. You should have the first fertilization applied between late February and early March, and follow it up … Read Full Post »

Stop the Weed-Whacking Insanity

When the weather is warm and there’s plenty of rain, it can seem like all you do throughout the spring and summer is try to keep weeds under control. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to put away that noisy, stinky old weed whacker? With the right lawn care methods, you can do just that and still have an amazing lawn.

Don’t Buzz Cut Your Lawn

An ultra-short lawn may extend the time until you have to mow again, but it also leaves your grass vulnerable to being overrun by more aggressive plants. Mowing at a higher level gives your grass a long enough leaf to produce the nutrients it needs to grow strong and “crowd out” pesky weeds.

Hoe Your Rows

Weed whackers only cut the visible parts of weeds, but a good old-fashioned hoe can stop them in their tracks. If you’re sick of weeds that seem to spring up year … Read Full Post »

Five Composting Nutrients You Need to Know About

What links aquariums, manure and coffee? Lawn care in Austin, of course.

Anyone in Austin with a penchant for lawn care knows the benefits of composting. You likely know that it gives purpose to otherwise useless yard waste, and it’s one of the best means of nourishing plants into a large, healthy state. Many would-be composters mistakenly assume that they’ll have to go out of their way to create their own healthy compost, but a lot of the nutrients most essential to effective composting come from everyday materials.

1. Aquarium Gunk

Do you have an aquarium? If so, you have a ready source of moisture and nitrogen for your compost. When you clean the tank, toss the water, algae, waste and live plants from the aquarium directly into your compost heap.

2. Coffee Grounds

Used coffee grounds give your compost excellent doses of copper, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and each of these nutrients bolster … Read Full Post »

Riding Mowers Cost More Than You Think

Do-it-yourself lawn care isn’t cheap

Many homeowners in Texas mow their lawns with riding mowers. These machines offer a fast and relatively easy way to cut the grass. However, it’s important to realize how expensive it has become to buy, maintain and operate yard equipment. The costs can really add up.

Initial Purchase

Depending on its size and features, the price of a mower typically ranges from $900 to $2,000. Fast commercial-grade models cost even more. Keep in mind that Texas adds a 6.25% sales tax to the purchase price. This raises the total expense by $55 to $130.

If you don’t have enough cash for a riding mower, be prepared to pay considerably more. For example, perhaps you decide to finance a $1,600 model at 4.25% interest. This would increase the total cost by almost $180. Loan processing and documentation fees may also apply.

Mowing Supplies

After you buy a riding mower, it’s time to … Read Full Post »

Can Your Lawn Reveal Your Deepest Secrets?

You probably won’t find lawn conditions mentioned in many pop psychology books, but if you look carefully, there may be a correlation between a person’s lawn and their personalities and priorities. At first glance, it might not seem important, but if you’re looking for a mate or trying to impress your neighbors, your personal environment and what it reveals about you could be a make-or-break factor. Here are a few personality types that could potentially be linked to lawn condition (and of course, we take these results with a grain of salt!).

The Control Freak

The Control Freak’s lawn is never more than a fraction of an inch too long or short. It’s the perfect shade of green, and any blemishes are quickly isolated and treated intensively until they’re back in formation. The Control Freak regularly inspects every plant in the yard and references the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab when necessary.

The … Read Full Post »