The Q&A Archives: Townhome Small Front Lawn

Question: Do you know of an inexpensive way to spruce up my lawn in the front of my townhome I have 3 small bushes in front by bay window and a tree in the middle that divides my drive way and my neighbors with grass weeds growing I'd like to do something with both those areas a friend suggested mulch Any Ideas?
Also I have a few brown spots in my in my back lawn with ant piles any way to get rid of this.

Answer: For the most part, ants do not cause any serious problems in gardens. Exceptions to this are the species that bite or protect aphids. Ant hills in flowerbeds and lawn areas can become a nuisance, however, as can ants that come indoors when foraging for food, returning to outdoor nests. If you have ant colonies that you wish to control, there are several things you can do. A good least-toxic method is the use of boric acid baits. Boric acid baits can eliminate some ant colonies in about one week. The trick is to not kill the ants at the bait station, but to get the ants to carry the boric acid back to the nest, poisoning the members of the colony that never leave the nest. Most ants feed either on sugars or on protein, fats, or oils. To see which type you have, place small dabs of jelly and peanut butter (not mixed) where ants are seen and watch which food they are attracted to. If they are attracted to the jelly, you can make a boric acid bait by mixing one-half cup jelly, such as apple jelly, with 1 1/4 tsp boric acid powder. Punch several holes in the lid of the jar, then screw the lid on tightly and seal with tape. The holes should be large enough for the ants to pass through to reach the bait. Place the bait jar on its side where the ants will come in contact with it. If the ants are unable to gain footing on the jar lid, you might want to scratch the surface with sandpaper or a pebble. If the ants are attracted to peanut butter, use that for your bait rather than jelly. If you find many dead ants around the bait station, which ever bait you use, lower the amount of boric acid in the mixture. If you are still finding live ants after a week to 10 days, increase the amount of boric acid. Although boric acid is of very low toxicity, it is best to place bait jars where children and pets cannot reach them.

If you decide to place mulch in the area you'll want to first remove the weeds and then lay a weed barrier landscape fabric to keep new weeds from sprouting up through the mulch. You might also consider planting annuals or perennials in some bare places. After removing the weeds and installing weed barrier you can cut X's or slits in the weed barrier to plant your plants, then mulch over the area with bark chips or other mulch materials. I think a little color will make a big difference in your yard. Enjoy!

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