Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Adding Color to Your Winter Garden Naturally with Birds!

With winter quickly approaching, most of the color in our yards and gardens may be fading. Never fear! Birds can fill in our winter days, adding color and enjoyment throughout the winter.

Our Texas Hill Country winters can be dry, so keeping a birdbath clean and full is the first step to entice little visitors. Rinse and fill your birdbath every day or two for drinking and bathing.

The next step is to provide food for our little darlings. Woodpeckers, kinglets, wrens, warblers and starlings will visit your oasis if you provide suet or seed blocks. Thistle feeders with their long tubes will attract finches. These little pretties will brighten your yard up with striking gold and pinkish red colors, turning darker green as winter moves in. Sunflower seeds are a hit with all birds. Investing in a metal feeder with a weight sensitive perch will prevent squirrels from eating you out of house and home. 

Not only will providing food and shelter for birds during the winter months keep your garden colorful, but you may enjoy a show or two as your flying pretties entertain you with their frolicking. 

Burroughs Landscaping has the perfect solution for incorporating an eye catching birdbath into your hardscape

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Comanche Trace

Comanche Trace, Texas Hill Country's newest housing community, is booming! And Burroughs Landscaping is right in the middle of it all. 

Located in Kerrville, this lovely neighborhood has small town values yet close proximity to all the convenience of a major city.  In 1978 Bobby Shelton bought the property and named it Comanche Trace, an example of his love for horses and his respect for the Comanche as great horsemen. This land served as headquarters for his many businesses. The Pinnacle Grill, with amazing views of Texas Hill Country, was the company cafeteria.

The homes here are located not only by expansive Hill Country views, but also by an award winning championship golf course.

There are 25 new homes scheduled to begin being built in the next 12 months. Burroughs is excited to have already begun landscaping the new construction. Specializing in xeriscaping and drought resistant plants, it is exciting to see the phenomenal ideas they have.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Time to Prune...

Beginning late November until the end of February is the time to prune trees. While not always necessary, the main reason your beauties may need a trim is for safety. Long branches that have previously had lateral branches removed repeatedly may be weak. They should be removed or at least shortened. Narrow branch v-shaped junctions may be in danger of breaking. 

Also an issue, is disease. Naturally we can see the dead and dying branches, but when pruning it is important to not trim limbs with leaves. The leaves are food production against disease. 

If your trees are looking a little rough around the edges, they may need to be trimmed for appearances. 

Oak trees are frequently painted after being pruned to avoid oak wilt. You should still be able to see some sky through the canopy. A good rule to remember is to never remove more than 25% of the canopy in a year.

Allow Burrough's Landscaping to evaluate and share their knowledge with you on pruning your trees this fall season.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall is the Time to Plant

Fall is a great time to plant new pretties. Even though a large majority of plants go dormant in the winter, we have an advantage in the San Antonio and Kerrville, Texas areas. Our winters are not as harsh as other parts of the country. The ground stays warmer allowing roots to continue growing. Fall is actually a great time for planting in Texas Hill Country.

Even if newly planted, the roots will grow and develop during the fall, winter and springmaking for an established root system in time for summer heat and drought

Roses are a great idea for container gardening. Growing in containers allows color to be moved throughout your yard and garden with the change of seasons. If you are considering planting roses yourself, planting in a decorative barrel or pot is easier than digging in our sometime "undiggable" dirt.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Changing of the Seasons

Fall is the perfect time to think about converting your yard and garden to a lower maintenance area. Burrough's Landscaping has the answer for making your space more drought resistant, lower cost, and beautiful.
Mike and his experienced team love changing the scenery from dry, thirsty grass to beautiful designs with rock, stone, paths, and deer resistant plants and trees. Your backyard can be transformed from costly high maintenance to gorgeous, updated magnificence.

We have plenty of rocks everywhere, big and small, we can make great use of them! Arranged into a low wall, they also provide shelter for butterflies, toads and small animals. 

With the right drought resistant plants you can have a garden full of color. After the long, hot summer, flowers are coming to life now in cooler temperatures and more rainfall. Ranunculus are an excellent choice for fall flower planting. Brightly colored, ranunculus are frost-hardy and love the cooler season.

Call Burroughs for suggestions and share your ideas to transform your yard and garden for the change of seasons.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Xeriscaping in the Fall...

Xeriscaping is quickly becoming popular in the San Antonio / Hill Country area. It is a way of landscaping that promotes water conservation, which is all important in our region.

Burroughs Landscaping has all the answers to convert your yard and garden. They combine your wants with their knowledge in planning what your landscape will look like during each season of the year.

Fall is a great time to evaluate any changes that may need to be made. Burroughs provides native plants, shrubs and trees that are the most drought resistant. These same plants will entice visitors such as birds and butterflies to inhabit your yard.

To avoid excessive watering in the summer, now may be the time to re-evaluate the amount of turfgrass you have. A good rule is no more than one-third of your landscape should be grass, and Burroughs knows the best type of grass to use.

Mike and his team will recommend  everything from irrigation to mulch to maintenance. Fall is the ideal time for the team to transplant any existing plants to a more accommodating location. Mulch will protect roots of plants and trees during potentially harsh winter months. This is the perfect solution for leaves. Leaf mulch reduces water evaporation and adds nutrients. This is a great solution rather than bagging leaves. 

There are unlimited options with stone paths, walls, patios, etc. Visit Burroughs Landscaping today to assist in your fall landscaping adventures.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How did Your Landscape Hold up this Summer?

It is the beginning of a new season, the perfect time to go out to your yard, take a look around and see how it is all holding up after a hot, dry summer season. The weather has cooled off, so enjoy some time outdoors in Texas Hill Country
  • Which plants did better during hot weather?
  • Did your watering system work well? 
  • Are you using irrigation or watering by hand? 
  • Are plants arranged to make best of use of watering?

Cooler temperatures, yet still warm soil make fall the perfect time for new beginnings. This is an ideal time to plant a new tree. It is also a great time to plant perennials, biennials and annuals. The mixture gives a wider range of colors and blooming times. Planting now means less watering as there will be more rain, necessary for new life. The fall, winter and spring give new plants time to develop a strong root base before summer arrives, taking its toll in the dry heat. 

If deer munching your new pretties is a problem, planting santolina as a border may discourage them. Keep in mind that even deer-resistant plants may need protection when they are young and the leaves are still tender.

Existing trees and shrubs are elated at the milder temperatures and will come alive after the long hot summer with a new show of color and blooms for our autumn viewing pleasure.

Burroughs Landscaping has all answers including which plants, trees and landscaping needs for your particular area, whether in Bandera, Fredericksburg or Ingram.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Colorful Autumn...

The heat of summer may have caused some plants to go into hiding as the temperatures rose. With fall quickly approaching, you may find your gardens and yard coming to life again. If your landscape appeals to birds, your autumn view will be that much more colorful.

Landscape in Hill Country Texas that contains a natural garden or trees and lively shrubs containing seeds, berries and blooms will draw birds for the fall and winter months. Providing a water source and shelter encourages American goldfinches, robins, orioles and ruby-crowned kinglets. Golden-cheeked warbler nests in Ashe junipers.

Don't forget to look up! This month you can see V-shaped lines of geese and cranes on their way to brush country. Hawks and kestrels will also be looking back at you.

Burroughs Landscaping is happy to share ideal plants and trees so you can enjoy a breathtaking view for many falls to come.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Foliage in Texas

In the Hill Country of Texas hardwoods put on a color display in autumn, though some are more fiery and prolific than others. Maples are among the most renowned; in East Texas, red maples and boxelders add vibrant yellow and crimson to woods and shrub lands. Native oaks such as eastern black oak and southern red oak tend to put on a slightly more subdued display of browns, reds and yellows. Other hardwoods colorful in autumn include walnuts, sycamores, beech, sweetgum, elms, cottonwoods and black cherries. Groves of quaking aspen, widely scattered in the highlands of far western Texas, turn a mesmerizing yellow. One conifer native to East Texas, the bald cypress, is deciduous; its feathery needles turn from green to golden or orange-brown in the autumn before dropping. This great tree of buttressed trunk and fibrous bark lords over many a backwater swamp in the Southeast. 

Trees are not the only ones showing off their color displays in autumn: A host of shrubs, from sumacs to poison ivy, add to the visual feast. The four most common species of sumac found in Hill Country Aromatic Sumac, Prairie Flameleaf Sumac, Evergreen Sumac and Littleleaf Sumac. While they are all different in appearance, they all produce red berries and are shrubs or small trees.

By Peggy Cunningham

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall is in the Air

Fall is upon us. If you are looking for ways to be able to spend some time outdoors on those cool nights, a fire pit could be the answer.

Backyard fire pits are one of the most popular of all landscaping features. They are attractive, functional and provide an outdoor gathering place for the entire family and friends.

Fire pits can be built out of various stones or blocks. Make sure you have a good dirt bottom and level area for the foundation. You should be at least 25 feet from trees and structures. Circular fire pits are about two feet tall and five feet in diameter with a three feet interior dimension. These beautiful pits will add so much to your landscaping and some great memories out by the fire.

Whether you are in San Antonio or Kerrville, or anywhere in the area, Burroughs Landscaping has great plans and ideas to share and build your fire pit. All that is left for you to do is add some great outdoor furniture and round up some family and friends. It's Fall Y'all!!

By Peggy Cunningham

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rock and Stone ~ Beautiful and Low Maintenance

Landscaping with rock and stone to accompany plants and trees, or to use as stand-alone elements can be a refreshing way to add texture, color, and interest to your lawn in Hill Country, Texas. With common drought conditions, this is a great low maintenance, permanent, attractive solution.
There is a difference between stone and rock. Technically a stone has been exposed to weather or water near the earth's surface for a long period of time, while rocks come freshly broken from a larger mass below ground, most typically by blasting them out at a quarry.

Stonescapes need not be enormous. Planters and large containers that combine attractive stones with succulents are always stunning. Use specimen stones to reflect light from solar lanterns on your deck or patio.

Stone can have a strong unifying influence on the landscape year-round, a powerful and practical element in any scene. Take time to envision what you want the area to look like in two to three years, mindful that the stone will become visually dominant in winter. Ideally, you want to create scenes in which you cannot tell which came first, the garden or the stone. It should look and feel as if the stone emerged from the ground, and all you did was collect the best pieces and put them in order, as humans have been doing for thousands of years. Landscaping with stone and rock can make your lawn or patio a beautiful creation. 

So if you are ready to dress up your lawn or patio, let Burroughs Landscaping help you make your visions and ideas come true.

By Peggy Cunningham

Friday, September 19, 2014

An End to Summer

The end of summer is just about here. Now is great time to see just how well your landscape did during the hottest parts of the year.

If you watered your landscape it likely survived most of the heat. The right plant selection, placement and good maintenance may have actually thrived during these hot days of summer and drought.
Walk around your landscape and observe anything that may need some attention. If you spot some brown areas it could mean not enough soil for moisture retention, wrong plant selection or wrong site, etc. More importantly, it is an easy way to identify areas that may need change. You may only need to replace grass with more drought-tolerant plants or even attractive patioscape. But always remember brown does not equal dead. Native species go dormant with dying.

Embrace the opportunity, fall is a great time to make changes that will help you create an attractive resilient and water-saving landscape for next season.

If you have questions or concerns about your landscape, or need some good advice before you start, Burroughs Landscaping, Kerrville, TX can help you with all your needs.

By Peggy Cunningham

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Texas Hill Country Character

The Texas Hill Country is characterized by thin alkaline soils and limestone outcroppings supporting Live Oaks and springtime drifts of blue bonnets and other wildflowers.

As suburbs continue to be developed from Fredericksburg to Boerne and Bandera, the natural landscapes that make the area desirable are in danger of being replaced with a more traditional landscape. The thin, alkaline soils make these types of landscapes difficult to maintain.

Today many home builders and home owners are choosing to leave a portion of their land in the natural state that drew them to the area. A landscape that is designed to blend seamlessly from the untouched area of a property to a more formal landscape close to the house can be achieved through a landscape design. Have a space for wildflowers and other plants that will blend in with your landscape.

Bluebonnets always make a beautiful flower garden addition. There are many plants native to the Texas Hill Country. Burroughs Landscaping can help you design your new home or existing home exterior property to look as beautiful as you dreamed.

By Peggy Cunningham

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cedar and Allergies in Texas Hill Country

The robust and sturdy cedar tree is a predominant evergreen in Texas, especially in the Hill Country. They can be beautiful or very annoying depending upon your point of view. Older cedar appears gorgeous and provide shade, food, and wildlife habitat in a region that can become devoid of natural benefits during the grueling Texas droughts.

However if you happen to been one of the many people who are allergic to the pollen it can be a nightmare. Those itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezes.

It is not really a fever, but can certainly give you the general feeling of flu-like malaise. It seems we have only ourselves to blame. Certain pollutants increase stress on the plant, resulting in the pollen that enhances the allergic response in people. Burrough's Landscaping can recommend the right treatment for all of your planting needs.

The silver lining to all of this is the timing. Stay inside and avoid the pollen. If you must go outdoors go when the pollen is at its lowest which is during the afternoon or evening. This can keep you healthy and avoid cabin fever.

Although there is no real cure for cedar allergies, there may be hope for peaceful coexistence in the near future.

By Peggy Cunningham

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beautiful Hill Country Landscape

Living in Hill Country Texas can be difficult in the summer. With the heat and lack of rain it can be hard to stay cool and keep your yard shaded and green. Trees play an important role in this. Planting trees that will stay green for as long as possible.

Evergreen plants and trees stay green all year long, hundreds of species thriving in climates around the world. Flowering evergreen plants, trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines bring color to gardens and landscapes. Evergreens attract birds and other wildlife to feed on nuts or seeds and take shelter under thick-growing foliage.

Trees define the landscape, creating the bones of your yard. Evergreens do not lose their leaves and remain green year round, creating wonderful shade for those hot summer days. Burroughs Landscaping has done all of the research for you, saving you both time and money later on down the road. In addition, Burroughs knows which plants and trees have a long blooming period, lasting from mid-summer to fall.

By Peggy Cunningham

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Winning the Fight With Oak Wilt Fungus...

Oak wilt is a major disease problem on live oaks, Spanish oaks, water oaks, black jack oaks and many others. Areas in the Texas Hill Country have been devastated by the fungus that causes the disease called oak wilt. There is a program developed by Texas A&M University to stop the needless loss of the precious trees. 

Burroughs Landscaping can assist in first identifying the problem. Once it is determined there is in fact fungus, there are steps you must take. Pruning is a good place to start. When possible, prune the tree between December 1 and February 1. It is best to avoid pruning between February 15 and June 15.  If the tree cannot be pruned due to the fact it is already dead, the diseased tree should be burned in place when possible.

Trees within a buffer zone can be treated with systemic fungicide. Alamo is a product labeled for the use in control of oak wilt. Many products are out there, and Burrough's Landscaping has the latest products available. You could cause more harm than good if you are not careful.

Live oaks can always be successfully replanted if precautions are taken to avoid wounds. Mike Burrough's and his team of experienced landscapers are anxious to assist in saving your trees.

By Peggy Cunningham

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Pathway to Hill Country

When landscaping a yard, walkways often get overlooked in Hill Country, Texas. We concern ourselves with poolspatios, and plant selections, but then we neglect to consider how to connect the different spaces in our yard. By ignoring paths, a garden can become disjointed because of the lack of thought put into the transitions and connections.

Not only do walkways guide people throughout your yard, they can also be used to create a mood or atmosphere. You will want to begin by determining if you are trying to create a formal or informal feeling. Then you will need to make a number of important decisions regarding shape,dimensions and materials, which can range from simple gravel to decorative stamped concrete. Other factors to consider include your budget, the desired traffic flow, the amount of foot traffic your walkway will receive, and safety. Be sure to add some path lighting for safe walking after dark. Always remember solar lights are an inexpensive way to bring beauty to your new walkway. You can emphasize a path's shape with plantings, such as using formal boxed hedges as a border along a straight-edged walkway.

Do not ignore the important roles pathways can play in your home's overall landscape. Be sure to consult Burroughs Landscaping for advice and assistance on choosing the best materials and specifications.

By Peggy Cunningham

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Backyard Makeover

If you are looking for suitable ideas for landscaping your yard, here are some great ideas. Most of the plants on this list are tolerant of the alkaline soils and drought conditions typical to the Hill Country. This will help you grow healthy plants, trees, and shrubs. Make your lawn as beautiful as you want it to be.

Select plants suited to your particular growing conditions (soil type, amount of moisture, and amount of sun or shade.)
  • The optimal season for planting trees and shrubs is late autumn through early winter.
  • Plant wildflower seeds September through November.
  • Thoroughly water plants during the first year and during periods of drought.
  • Trees need to be watered regularly for 2 years and when they become stressed during drought.
  • Mulching will reduce weeds and watering frequency.
  • Protect all plants from deer.
  • No plant is deer-proof!

Remember Burroughs Landscaping can help you with all you lawn and landscaping needs.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Butterflies are Beautiful

Butterfly plants are both beautiful and useful in and around Kerrville, Texas. Butterflies need four elements for survival:

  • Shelter
  • Water
  • Food
  • Place to raise their young

A natural garden in your yard will encourage butterflies to congregate, making your natural area more beautiful with their graceful colors. Shelter and protection will be available here in the form of shrubs, trees, tall grasses, even a stack of logs or limestone.

There should be some area that is protected from winds by shrubs, trees or even a vine filled lattice wall. Trees and hollow logs provide protection and encourage butterflies to lay eggs. This is the perfect spot for a butterfly's metamorphosis from caterpillar to pupa to a "flying flower".

A small fountain, bath or bond is necessary for moisture. It does not have to be large or ornate, simply  provide enough water for emerging butterfly families. A few large, flat rocks allow places for sunning.

By depending on native plants, we encourage butterflies to our area by having their natural food available. Trumpet honeysuckle, cross vine, salvias, sages,  verbenas and zinnias are some nectar plants that are appealing to butterflies.

Use irrigation for any watering, rather than a sprinkler that will wash needed nectar from flowers. Do not use pesticides in or around any natural areas. Eliminate fire ants with boiling water as they will be predators on the butterfly larvae.

Now, sit back, enjoy, even grab a camera, as your natural butterfly garden comes to life this summer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bring in the Bees

When we think of natural garden landscaping in Texas Hill Country, one of our important friends to remember is the bee. Pesticide spraying and lack of natural habitat is leading to a lack of bees to pollinate our crops. 

Bees are necessary not only for honey and beeswax, but for food production as well. We may not even realize how important they are to our survival. Our food crops such as apples, berries, chestnuts, almonds, beans, tomatoes, carrots, even cotton and soybean all depend on bee's pollination. Livestock is even dependent on bees pollinating their clover.

A win/win situation for all, planting flowers, fruits and vegetables will attract bees, serving several purposes:

  • Saving the bees
  • Saving ourselves
  • Eating healthier
  • Saving money

The more variety of flowers and plants, the more bee species will be attracted. Without bees, many plants fail to set seed and without flowering plants, there is no food for bees. No bees means no food or flowers.

Since bees need nesting sites that are undisturbed, sunny and have a variety of flowering plants, that corner of your yard that is allowed to be natural will go a long way toward protecting one of our necessary neighbors. 

If a garden is too much to handle, helpful hints such as cutting up leftover fruit and dropping into a recycled plastic jug to entice bees will help keep bees happy, and helping us at the same time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Brighten Up an Outdoor Living Room

Because we live in Texas Hill Country, in the essence of cost and maintenance, our yards and patios may not be blooming with brightly colored flowers everywhere.

Do Not Despair!! There are other ways to brighten up our outdoor living areas, enticing us out to enjoy summer. One of Burrough's Landscaping, Kerrville, TX specialties is Hardscaping.

A bright coat of paint on outdoor furniture immediately draws us outside.  Add some splashy outdoor cushions and you will not want to go back inside. 

Soothing, or bright panels of curtains on the corners of a deck can add finesse and serve as shade on a hot afternoon. Consider an outdoor rug. This raises the comfort level as well as giving a focal point to decorate around.

Pots, barrels, and baskets with flowers add personality to a patio or deck without the expense or maintenance of a whole flower garden. Use your imagination for containers, paint, stack, hang, the options are endless. 

Add a swing to your porch. Nothing is more relaxing with a cool drink and a favorite magazine. There is nothing like the gentle movement of a swing. It may be everyone’s favorite spot. Be prepared to add another one!

While we are careful to conserve water, a small tabletop fountain adds charm to our patios with soothing sounds and enjoyment without being overly wasteful.

Just a couple of these inexpensive pretties will make your very own private oasis without every having to leave home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Water Saving Tips for Outdoors

In the heat of the summer, it is important to conserve as much water as possible. Some grasses, flowers and plants may still need more water than is provided by our limited summer showers.

  • Prior to watering, feel the soil, look at the grass. Confirm it indeed needs water. 
  • Use a sprinkler that waters low to the the ground and provides drops, not a mist, which can evaporate into the air. 
  • Rain shut off devices should be programmed to avoid unnecessary watering.
  • Automatic sprinkler systems provide regular watering, avoiding the lawn getting too dry.
  • Water early in the morning, avoiding evaporation in the heat of the day.
  • Grouping similar grasses and plants avoids over watering plants that are more drought resistant.
  • Watering by hand held hose is a good idea for small areas, avoiding wasting water the street or a sidewalk.
  • If you have a swimming pool and have to empty it, pump the water onto an area that needs water.
  • Collect rain in buckets or a large trash can to water potted plants or small gardens.
  • When you replace the water in a fish tank, use the old water on plants.
  • If it is necessary to run water in the kitchen sink until it is hot, collect the running water in a pitcher for plants or flowers.
  • New grass, plants and trees may need slightly more water the first year, then less in years following as root systems have become established.
Be creative with new ideas to be conservative. Encourage family members to come up with new suggestions.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Watering in Summer...

With summer upon us, there will be less rain and hotter days. Some things to consider when watering the gardens and yards the next few months, according to Mike Burroughs Landscaping in Kerrville, TX.

  • When planting flowers, plants and grass, consider watering needs for each, as well as sunny and shaded areas. Group similar plants together, avoiding wasteful watering. This is known as hydrozoning.
  • Have sprinkler heads checked periodically to confirm they are functioning to full capacity with no leaks and still pointing the right direction.  
  • Do not water the pavement, and make sure the water is not hitting a bush blocking the grass. 
  • Only water when needed. If the landscape is mostly native plants and flowers, there may be no need to water often. 
  • Watering between dusk and dawn prevents the water from evaporating in the heat and wind. This allows the water to soak into the ground reaching the roots.
  • Installing a rain sensor to turn the system off during a rainstorm will avoid waste and save money.
  • Compost will keep the water in the soil longer and avoid runoff.
  • Replacing mulch once or twice each year will hold moisture in the ground. One to two inches will allow water in, and keep it there longer. 
  • Allow grass to grow slightly taller. This allows it to protect it's own roots, shading them from the heat of the sun. 
  • Change the watering schedule with the seasons. In cooler weather, native plants and flowers will not need as much water as in hot summer months.

"IMG_9605" by Fabrice Florin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Putting Rainwater to Good Use...

Plants prefer rainwater, according to Burrough's Landscaping, Kerrville, Texas. It is free, naturally softer and chemical free, benefiting plants roots. Using native plants and flowers that are more tolerant to our environment will make the most of the rain that we do get. Add compost to the soil to hold the water in longer.

Water features such as ponds and fountains will collect rainwater and add beauty to your yard and gardens at the same time. Confirm how much rain is needed to maintain the pumps.

Whether a gardener wanting cleaner water for your plants, a conservationist who hates the waste of rainwater just running down the drive or out of the gutters, or if a reliable alternative for household use is needed, the choices can be as simple and inexpensive, or elaborate and as costly as you choose.

You can spend as much or as little as you choose to collect rainwater. Simply placing a large clean trashcan out will allow you to water plants and flowers. Rain barrels with taps are available. Connect a hose to water outdoors. There are elaborate systems to filter and cleanse water for inside use. 

Screen wire should always be used to cover barrels to avoid mosquitoes from breeding and algae growth.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How Much Water Does Your Yard Need?

How much and often does your yard need water?   

To develop deep roots that will take advantage of water when it does rain here in our dry Hill Country, Texas area, water once per week. Depending on the type of grass, time of year, amount of shade, this may vary. Buffalo and Bermuda grass, which grow only in full sun will need one half inch per week. Depending on the weather, this can be reduced or eliminated in the cooler seasons. St. Augustine and Zoysia grass that are in full sun need three fourths of an inch in the summer, but in the shade they only need one half of an inch per week.

If brown or dry spots appear, use a hand held hose to water these areas to avoid soaking remaining grass, and wasting water.

Avoid sprinklers that throw water into the air allowing too much to evaporate. Choose a sprinkler that waters close to the ground to gain the most from the water you use.

Test areas to see how much water is actually being sprinkled. Use a shallow pan, such as a cake pan, or tuna can to collect water for twenty minutes. Sprinklers may distribute different amounts of water, so this will confirm you are gaining the most for the water used.

Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are best for newly planted trees, shrubs and flower gardens. Hook soaker hoses to another hose that is connected to the faucet to get the best use of the water. Turn the faucet only a quarter of a turn at first. Check the soaker hose to confirm the water is slow enough to sink into the ground, allowing it to reach the roots, and not running off. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Texas Hill Country Natural Garden

That corner in your backyard ~ you know, the one you keep meaning to clean out and landscape. A good suggestion may be to have a natural garden.

If you already have plants that are native to the area, they can provide food, water and shelter for butterflies, bees and birds. Plants and flowers can provide nectar, seeds and berries. Texas Hill Country native plants attract wildlife to your yard easier than exotic plants may.

The following trees and plants will encourage birds as they produce seeds and grasses:

  • Little Bluestem
  • Pigeonberry
  • American Beautyberry
  • Texas Barberry

To invite lovely butterflies, their favorite flowers include:
  • Salvia
  • Sages
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle
  • Cross Vine
  • Verbenas
  • Cosmos
  • Zinnias

It will be necessary to appeal to pollinators including moths, bees and black-chinned hummingbirds. They are all attracted to:

  • Kidneybush
  • Cherry Laurel
  • Mexican Buckeye
  • Yucca
  • Flame Acanthus

Interesting birds, butterflies, moths, etc will need adequate shelter. Butterflies need protection from winds. They, along with insects and lizards will make their homes in stacked, dry stone. High trees and thick cedar brush provide shelter for cardinals, blue jays and mockingbirds. Wax myrtle and holly produce berries for food. A brush pile or even a log or dead tree is idea for small birds such as wrens. Owls and woodpeckers will find a tree with cavities appealing.

As we are limited on water during the hot summer months, a permanent pond or fountain is ideal, but not necessary. Simply installing a bird bath with a dripper will quickly attract birds. If you enjoy hummingbirds, they love a mister. This is a fun addition to any yard.

Broken flower pots work well for toad houses. Place them near the bird bath with a dripper to encourage guests. Adding birdhouses or nesting ledges, protected from the elements entice young families to live in your garden. 

Prepare to be entertained in your little bit of paradise as you begin seeing God's creatures mingling in your garden.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first impression friends, family and passersby have of our homes. For most of us, the front of our home is what greets us each time we arrive, whether at the end of a long day at work, or a fun day out playing! With regular maintenance, it is not overwhelming to keep our yards and gardens in tip top shape and make us look forward to coming home to our private sanctuary each day.

To make our homes inviting, warm and welcoming, there are a few relatively inexpensive updates that will make a world of difference:
  • Keeping the grass cut and walkways, trees and bushes trimmed is the first step in looking clutter free
  • Replacing mulch will add instant neatness and some color
  • Touching up paint on shutters, eaves, doors and fences will make your house look instantly new again
  • Clean or replace light fixtures. If they are outdated, painting them black is an inexpensive fix
  • Replacing light bulbs will provide beauty, but more importantly safety at night
  • Painting and cleaning up around the mailbox will make a statement
  • A splash of color with some bright flowers can be added easily enough, even a couple of pretty pots on the front porch
  • Pressure washing the walk and drive at the beginning of summer, then sweeping periodically keeps everything else looking tidy
  • Wipe, sweep or wash front porch and door to remove any spiders or other unwanted guests
  • Investing in a new front door mat will just make you feel happy
  • Opening blinds and windows brightens a house from the outside as well as the inside
The back yard and entertainment area is important as well since it is summer and we are spending more time outdoors grilling, entertaining or are lucky enough to have a swimming pool:
  • Find a focal point, whether a fire pit, grill or outdoor kitchen. Arrange outdoor seating in an inviting, conversational area. 
  • Clean, paint or repair any fencing
  • Without being cluttered, arrange yard decorations or decorative pots sparingly for a personal touch
A nicely manicured yard and fresh, bright paint with pops of color from a few beautiful flowers are the first steps toward looking forward to coming home each day.  Mike Burroughs and his team in Hill Country, Texas would love to assist with low maintenance hardscape and a few deer resistant plants.