Posts by Mark Battalini

When Should You Hire a Professional Tree Service?

A professional tree service has the knowledge, expertise and highly trained specialists needed to deal with a wide variety of tree-related issues. There are multiple instances when hiring a professional tree service will save time, and money and prevent you from putting yourself and others in danger.

Time and Knowledge

It can take a significant amount of time to shepherd a young tree to maturity while maintaining its unique shape and growth habit. Even if you have the time, you may not have the knowledge required to prune it to allow for optimal sunlight, growth, or to minimize damage from storms.

Poor Performance

If one or more of your trees appears sick, the problem could be an insect infestation or disease. It could also be the result of not having the tree’s sun, soil, moisture or fertilizer requirements met. Tree professionals have the knowledge needed to identify pests and diseases, keep contagious conditions from spreading to other trees throughout neighborhoods, and promote optimal growth.

Tree Removal

Trees may be disrupting underground utilities, affecting foundations, or sustained significant damage in a storm. You might need the services of a tree professional if a tree has come down in your yard or on the property. Safely removing a tree requires special techniques to control how it falls, prevent damage to surrounding structures and plantings, and to keep people and pets safe.

Stump Removal

No one wants a dead tree stump marring their landscape. Some types of trees will sprout unattractive suckers from the stump. The solution is to have the stump removed through grinding or excavation. Professional tree services have the powerful tools required to grind tree stumps down below ground level so they can be mowed over and don’t present a problem. The professionals can also excavate the stump to completely remove it from the ground. Excavation is the best answer if you want to plant another tree in the same place.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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What is an English Landscape?

More popularly known as an English garden, its characterized by structured informality that gives it a wild appearance to the untrained eye. It provides a stark contrast to the strictly planted and regimented style typical of most gardens in the U.S.

The style was highly popular in England from the mid-18th century to early 19th century and can still be seen in the English countryside. It was designed as an idealized version of nature and pioneered by William Kent and Charles Bridgemen as a protest against rigid architectural style gardens.

Elements encompassed lakes or ponds, gently rolling lawns, tree groves, bridges, and even decorative Gothic type ruins were used to create a pastoral landscape in large tracts of land. In later years, it was revised to include graveled walkways, shrubs and flowers.

In rural areas, English gardens were practiced on a smaller scale that primarily focused on the plants without the rolling lawns, lakes, bridges and other decorative touches. Also known as cottage gardens, they relied more heavily on plants with fragrant blossoms, along with medicinals, herbs and vegetables. The English garden was also invested with political meaning – as in disrupting the established norms. Shrubs were often used as natural borders.

An English garden is full of contrasting colors, textures, shapes and sizes that provide relief from the formal, regimented styles of strict lines to create a softer look. The gardens were installed with mindfulness for complimentary plantings, successive bloom times, and natural harmony.

English and American gardeners have a distinctly different view of gardening. For those that prefer straight lines, minimal maintenance, want to impress the neighbors, or just want an appealing view from the outside, an English garden won’t satisfy. Those that enjoy a little wildness in their garden can create an English garden landscape that’s practical, whimsical and low maintenance with the correct mix of plants.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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5 Low Maintenance Trees in Florida

Dozens of trees grow well in the South Florida landscape, but some require a considerable amount of maintenance and produce nuts or fruit that can be messy and sticky. The following are 5 low-maintenance trees for the Florida landscape that provide beauty and shade.

Dogwood

The dogwood tree is well-known for its spring blossoms. Highly adaptable, multiple types are available and some have variegated foliage. The Asian Kousa dogwood has a slightly different appearance than the traditional dogwood and has the advantage of being resistant to anthracnose. Kousa dogwood bloom colors are available in white, light pink and deep pink. The trees are undemanding trees, highly ornamental, and the only real “mess” they create is when they shed their leaves in the autumn.

Eastern Redbud

The tree provides a striking display of white or dark pink blooms in the spring. It’s actually a close relative of peanuts, tamarind and other types of legumes. Highly attractive to bees, birds and butterflies, it grows from 20 to 30 ft. and can be single or multi-stemmed. Breeding programs have produced varieties with leaves of yellow, lime green, purplish-red, bronze and burgundy. They’re resistant to drought once established and light pruning is all that’s needed.

Fern Pine Tree

The fern pine isn’t really a pine and is best reserved for large areas. It can grow 50 to 65 ft. tall with a trunk of 2 to 3 ft. in diameter if left alone. Professionals know how to prune it to a modest 20 to 30 ft. and it can also be espaliered. It’s a native of Eastern Africa with long, narrow leaves that can be 4 inches long when the tree is mature. Blooms are inconspicuous and the berry-like fruits are fleshy and contain a single seed. A moderately fast grower, it can live up to 150 years.

Sweetbay Magnolia

Unlike the Southern Magnolia, Sweetbay Magnolia won’t litter the lawn with spent bloom petals or seed pods. It will shed a few leaves throughout the season and it’s resistant to a variety of insect pests and diseases. The tree has highly fragrant white blooms and the glossy leaves have a frosted appearance on the underside. The seeds provide a food source for a wide variety of birds.

Shady Lady Black Olive

Desirable for shade and beauty, it can have an awkward appearance when young that’s remedied with light pruning. It features yellowish-beige flowers in the spring that many say gives the tree the appearance of being frosted with brown sugar. It’s salt-tolerant and can grow to 30 ft. The Shady Lady variety is the newest and most improved cultivar of the species, but it’s not actually related to olive trees and doesn’t produce olives.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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What is a Landscape Design Drawing?

Planning a new landscape is fun and exciting, but without a landscape design drawing serious problems can arise. A landscape design drawing is essentially a floor plan of how the property appears. It shows where man-made and natural elements are located, and it’s properly scaled for distance and size.

Without a design drawing, there’s no way of knowing if planned features will actually fit into the landscape, if trees will be too close to structures, or if they’ll interfere with utility infrastructures. A design drawing also enables people to make accurate estimates about the cost of their intended project.

Do-it-yourself fans can purchase software programs to help in the process. The software ranges from simple to extremely complex. However, not all programs provide the needed tools to accurately plan a project.

The landscape design drawing begins with creating an outline of the project area. It may include an entire yard or just a portion of it. Each pertinent facet of the project area should be included from outbuildings and fences to rocks, power poles and other features that won’t be moved. The idea is to create a visual representation of the project area.

Add existing elements slowly and ensure that their size is accurately represented within the plan. Once the design drawing has those features, the new elements for the landscape can be added. That includes trees, flowers, shrubs or hardscapes such as fountains, ponds, patios and walkways.

Bear in mind that wanting a particular tree or plant and being able to have it in the landscape can be two very different things. Professional designers work with plant experts that are knowledgeable about the growth habits of an extensive variety of species. The mature version of a tree or bush may not fit into the allotted space. Installing it would be a waste of money. A professional landscaping company can advise individuals about their choices and suggest alternatives when needed.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Grow Herbs

How to Grow Herbs in Florida

In days gone by, almost every home had a small herb garden just outside the back door. The herbs were used to flavor dishes and in preserving garden produce for the winter. The practice declined for many years, but is making a spectacular comeback as people seek natural spices and healthy alternatives.

Herbs typically don’t do well in intense heat and are best planted in the spring or autumn months in South Florida. However, herbs that include oregano, rosemary and thyme can be planted almost any time of the year and thrive. Some stay where they’re planted, while others like to spread and sprawl.

Plants or seeds can be planted directly in the ground, in raised beds, and in containers on decks and patios. It’s easy to tuck herbs in amongst flower beds. They’ll require at least 6 hours of sun and will do well being shaded from intense, afternoon sun – especially mint.

Plucking the newest leaves and pinching back plants when needed aids in extending the harvest, while helping to keep them from flowering. Herb production slows down when the plants bloom and they’ll try to produce seeds.

Basil is extremely popular and while some varieties are annuals, there are also perennial types. Peppermint and spearmint easily spread to other areas via underground roots. It’s best grown in pots where it can be contained. Oregano can be grown year-round as a perennial. Rosemary is a perennial that can get very large if not pinched back.

Chives can be cut to the ground if they become overgrown and they’ll begin to regrow in about a week. Dill adds flavor to a variety of dishes and can become a host for black swallowtail butterflies. Fennel is another herb that can be cut to the ground and regrow. It’s often a perennial in South Florida and also provides a home for the black swallowtail – along with parsley.

Sage is an herb that can also be grown as an ornamental. Shiso is a Japanese herb that does well in South Florida for those that enjoy Asian cuisine. Typically used as a sushi garnish, it’s also known as beefsteak plant.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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types of grass

How Many Types of Grass are There?

There are 10 commonly used types of grass for lawns, but only 4 are predominantly used in South Florida landscapes. The warm and humid climate is great for warmth-loving grasses. For the cooler and transitional months, many residents sow a mix of grasses to ensure a green lawn throughout the year.

St. Augustine Grass

St. Augustine grass is considered the easiest to grow in South Florida and is widely favored. It grows quickly and intensely dislikes cold, making it an ideal choice for the warm Florida climate. It can tolerate shade and does best when kept cut to a height of 2 to 4 inches in height. It does go dormant during winter months, which is why other types are usually planted with St. Augustine grass. It doesn’t tolerate heavy foot traffic well.

Zoysia Grass

The grass is equally happy in sun and shade, and it’s a relatively slow growing variety. It can be kept at a height of 1 to 1½ inches without impeding growth. It’s resistant to disease and weed growth, doesn’t require much fertilizer or water, and is low maintenance.

Buffalo Grass

For a carpet of blue-green colored lawn, buffalo grass is the solution. It actually flourishes in high temperatures and tends to remain green year-round. It thrives when kept at a height of 1½ to 3 inches, doesn’t like overwatering, and does best with light to medium foot traffic.

Bermuda Grass

Popular for golf courses and athletic fields, Bermuda grass doesn’t mind being manicured to a height of 1 to 1 ½ inches. The grass is able to handle heavy foot traffic and withstands heat and direct sun. It’s well-suited to a variety of different soil types. A creeping grower, it will enter flower beds and gardens if restraint measures aren’t taken.

Other Options

Bahiagrass is resilient, thrives in sandy soils, has deep roots enabling it to survive drought conditions, and can survive without an irrigation system. It prefers full sun and has a coarse texture. Keep it at 2 to 4 inches. The grass is low maintenance and won’t fail under foot traffic. It’s becoming increasingly popular for lawns, even though it was originally used for pasture land.

Centipede grass is also an option since it likes acidic and sandy soils. Keep it at 1½ to 3 inches high. It usually doesn’t require fertilizer, is low maintenance, and grows relatively slowly. It may go dormant during drought conditions and doesn’t care for a lot of foot traffic.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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commercial landscape

Commercial Landscaping on a Budget

Most people envision landscaping as expensive, sweeping changes to the landscape that involves heavy equipment and uprooting mature trees. It’s entirely possible to beautifully landscape commercial properties without spending a fortune. It doesn’t always involve large scale removal or installation of plants. It can encompass smaller changes or hardscaping features to enhance spaces.

Perennials For Annuals

Most people plant annuals for their splashes of bright colors. They provide vibrant interest in the landscape, but they have to be purchased anew each year and replanted. They can take a considerable amount of time and effort to maintain and may have significant moisture requirements leading to expensive water bills.

Commercial landscaping can replace annuals with perennials that only need to be purchased and planted once. They’re often more heat-resistant and drought-tolerant than annuals, which means savings on water bills. They require little maintenance and many perennials sport bright blooms that work to create an ever-changing landscape throughout the year.

Native Plants

Installing native plants produces a lower impact on the environment and typically require less care and maintenance. They’ve evolved to grow in the South Florida climate. They provide a food source of seeds, berries and nuts for birds and wildlife. Some have blossoms that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Pavers

Permeable pavers are known as a hard feature, as opposed to plants. They can be used to create pathways, patios, coping around swimming pools, and to surround retention ponds. They have a low impact on the environment and even help filter pollutants. Permeable pavers are beneficial for reducing and managing runoff.

Wildflower Gardens

Not every inch of a commercial property requires manicured lawns. Commercial enterprises can reduce costs, beautify their property, and provide a refuge for birds, bees, and butterflies by establishing a wildflower garden. It just needs to be planted once, requires little in the way of maintenance, and it’s particularly beneficial for reducing erosion on slopes and hills.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Drought Resistant Plants in Florida

Homeowners and businesses have a myriad of plants from which to choose that provide blooms and beauty throughout the season. Florida is known as a warm and humid state, but what people may not know is that weather records going back to 1900 indicate that at least one severe drought has occurred in Florida during every decade.

Residents of South Florida have flowers, bushes, ferns and trees that are able to tolerate dry conditions and even a drought without withering and dying. The following are some drought resistant plants from which to choose.

African Iris

Exotic looking white flowers emerge in the spring with distinct purple and yellow markings. It’s a low maintenance plant, the blooms last for only a day but it’s a profuse bloomer.

Beach Sunflower

Known as beach sunflower and dune sunflower, it can be found growing wild in coastal regions and can easily be adapted for inland plantings. A summer bloomer, the daisy-like yellow flowers may appear year-round in South Florida. It attracts pollinators that includes bees, butterflies and moths, while birds eat the seeds.

Beautyberry

The shrub produces lavender blossoms followed by clusters of purple berries in the autumn and winter. The seeds and berries are a food source for a variety of bird species, provides cover for birds, and the foliage is a favorite of deer.

Blanket Flower

A native to the state, it features red and gold flowers that attracts butterflies. It’s an annual that also readily reseeds itself.

Fern Leaf Lavender

Silvery foliage produces purple flowers that attract butterflies. The blooms and foliage are fragrant.

Firebush

The bright red tube-shaped flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. The plant provides cover for birds and the seeds are a source of food for multiple types of songbirds.

Locust Berry

The Florida native features flowers of white, pink and red all on the same plant and it attracts butterflies. It can be grown as a small shrub or tree, birds eat the seeds, and it provides cover for multiple avian species. It’s a threatened species in the wild.

Reed-Stemmed Orchid

Also known as crucifix orchid and rainbow orchid, it’s easy to grow and the blossoms attract hummingbirds. The most common color is red-orange, but is also available in white and hues of pink, purple and yellow.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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butterfly

6 Plants to Create a Butterfly Garden

A butterfly garden is a visual feast for the human eye and serves an important conservation function. Approximately 1/3 of Florida’s butterfly species are endangered or have become extremely rare and are on the verge of extinction. Planting a butterfly garden provides an essential food source for declining, imperiled and rare species, along with more robust species. Milkweed is a good example. It’s the only food that monarch caterpillars eat.

Butterflies are pollinators just like honey bees. They’re typically not viewed as seriously as bees since honey bees are more involved in the growing of fruits and vegetables, yet they perform the same function and are beautiful to behold. They prefer flowers and bushes that provide a place to land as they walk across blossoms gathering pollen.

Lantana

Available in hues of red, orange, yellow, white and pink, they’re drought resistant annuals. They have a long bloom season, providing food throughout the summer and nectar for migratory species.

Sunflowers

The friendly flowers are available in colors encompassing yellow, red orange, chocolate, cream and bicolors. Some remain a modest 12 in. in height, while giant varieties can attain heights of up to 16 ft. tall.

Pentas

The hotter the weather, the better pentas perform. They’re available in pink, purple, red, lavender and white. They reach heights of 12 to 24 inches, depending on the variety, and attract multiple types of butterflies.

Marigolds

The humble marigold is rich in nectar, easy to grow, and offered in solid and bicolored varieties. They’re an irresistible magnet for butterflies. They’re offered in dwarf to standard heights for any place in the landscape.

Zinnias

The blooms are a favorite of butterflies and available in a rainbow of colors. They’re available in dwarf varieties that flourish in flower boxes, to those that grow up to 4 ft. tall for planting straight into the garden.

Petunia

Available in a multitude of colors, butterflies, moths and bees just can’t resist them. Fragrant varieties are available and they’re offered in single and double flowered varieties. They do equally well planted in containers or directly in the ground, growing 8 to 36 inches in height, depending on the variety.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

Read more
bamboo

The Beauty of Bamboo

The quickest growing plant on the planet, bamboo is capable of growing 3 ft. in just 24 hours under optimal conditions. Studies have shown that bamboo absorbs more carbon dioxide than other plants and releases 30 percent more oxygen. Bamboo reaches maturity after 3 to 5 years, depending on the species – and there are numerous species from which to choose that thrive in South Florida’s climate.

Privacy

One of the most popular uses of bamboo is as a living hedge. Green and graceful, it’s an excellent privacy barrier. Stay away from Golden bamboo – it’s been declared an invasive species. All types of bamboo have a dense root system and shouldn’t be planted near retaining walls, foundations, sidewalks, driveways or fences.

The clumping type of bamboo is non-invasive and can be used to create an accent planting, small grove or a hedge. Clumping bamboo growth habits is similar to that of bushes. It spreads by sending out short runner roots of 6 to 18 inches.

Running bamboo spreads much quicker by sending out long horizontal roots. Some species will send out runners mere inches from the mother plant, while others produce runners of up to 10 feet. It can easily become invasive if not contained. The good news is that with the assistance of a professional landscaper, it’s possible to contain running bamboo.

Smaller Species

Bamboo is available in dwarf species that remain under 15 to 20 ft. in height. Larger varieties can grow from 30-50 ft. tall. The plants provide cover for avian species to rest and hide from predators. Clumping bamboo does best in the tropical-like climate in South Florida.

“Lucky bamboo” plants are popular houseplants that are often offered in supermarkets and similar venues. A native of Africa, it’s not considered a true bamboo, but rather a succulent, and is toxic to dogs and cats. This type of bamboo won’t give you a hedge or screen, but it can make an appealing gift for family and friends.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

Read more