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Posts by Mark Battalini

Unique Looking Trees for South Florida

Most are familiar with the shape of maples, oaks and flowering pear trees. There are some unusual trees native to countries around the world that can be grown in Florida due to the state’s unique climate. The trees have unusual appearances, growth habits, and histories that make them well worth the effort. It’s important before planting any species to ensure it’s not invasive.

Baobab

The first impression when people see a Baobab tree is that it was planted upside down. The effect is heightened when the tree sheds it leaves. It can be grown in South Florida, but may be tricky. It’s often referred to as the “Tree of Life” since it can live thousands of years. The trunks can hold several gallons of water and in its native Africa, it’s tapped and plugged for water.

Dawn Redwood

A holdover from prehistoric times and once thought to be extinct, it’s a deciduous tree that looks like an evergreen and has a distinctly pyramidal shape. The tree’s needles turn yellow and rust red each year before dropping. The hardy tree regrows its foliage each spring. It’s the smallest of the redwood species and can even survive northern winters.

Dragon’s Blood Tree

A native of the Socotra archipelago, it’s technically not a tree and gets its name from the red sap it produces. Its upturned canopy resembles an umbrella. Scientists classify the tree as a remnant of the Mio-Pliocene Laurasian forests that are almost entirely extinct.

Jabuticaba Tree

It’s an ordinary looking tree native to Brazil – until it produces fruit. Hairy white blooms give way to black fruit that grows in the branches and along the trunk. If conditions are right, it can fruit several times a year and many use the fruits to make juice or wine.

Rainbow Eucalyptus

This isn’t a tree to be grown in limited space as it can grow up to 250 ft. tall and is one of the fastest growing in the world. It gets its name from the strange coloration it displays when its bark is shed and each layer can be a different color. Over time, it returns to its natural brown hue before repeating the process. It has leaves that are more than six inches long that are aromatic when crushed and small white flowers when in bloom. It doesn’t tolerate frost.

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 have 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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Irrigation During the Dry Season

Keeping landscapes sufficiently watered during the dry season in Florida can be tricky without an automated irrigation system. Watering by hand or with a sprinkler and hose system can create far more problems than insufficient moisture in the ground. Irrigation during the drier, winter months is dependent on soil composition, type of grass planted, and the presence of shade trees.

More abundant rainfall during the summer months may have prompted homeowners to turn their irrigation systems off, while others are trying to control their irrigation systems manually. Without an irrigation system that can correct for rainfall and other variables, watering the landscape becomes a paramount concern. The University of Florida Extension Service recommends watering two days per week. That can be adjusted to tailor moisture to different areas.

Exact location is also a factor in watering and the type of plants within the landscape. If grass is walked on and the footprints don’t readily dissipate, the lawn needs moisture. Another sign is if the blades of grass are folding or the color is off. When those signs are present, ¾ inch of water should be applied. Make sure that all areas are being watered equally.

A good way to determine how long sprinklers should be run involves placing shallow cans or containers in various places around the yard. Run the sprinklers for 30 minutes and see how much water has accumulated in the containers. If they have ¾ inch, 30 minutes of watering is sufficient. If there’s ½ an inch, water for 40 minutes or 50 minutes if there’s only ¼ inch in the cans.

Watering should be performed early in the morning whenever possible at any time of the year to minimize evaporation. Following a measured water regiment for landscapes will keep them healthy throughout the winter months and save money on water bills.

 

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 have 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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Fragrant Foliage

When people think about fragrance in the garden, they typically envision annual or perennial flowers in beds, borders or containers with a profusion of blooms. There are several different types of bushes and vines with lush foliage and highly fragrant blossoms that produce a pleasant aroma. They can generate enough fragrance to scent an entire yard and with some the aroma is particularly strong at night.

The following plants are especially attractive to hummingbirds, along with pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The philosophy of Feng shui says that fragrant flowers planted in a front yard will attract natural energy. Studies have also shown that fragrant flowers can reduce stress.

Evergreen Clematis

The lush foliage is ideal for screens and to trail over fences since they’re fast growing. It produces small flowers at a time when other plants typically don’t and the flowers are sweetly scented.

Gardenia

These shrubs are well-known for their shiny foliage and strongly-scented white blossoms. Their fragrance has been described as exotic and intoxicating and the plant is highly valued for its use in high-end perfumes.

Night Blooming Jasmine

While not a true jasmine, it has attractive glossy green leaves and white flowers that are highly aromatic. It’s highly cultivated in Asia and India for its use in perfume making. It’s a shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall and the fragrance can be overpowering if someone is sensitive to scents. Use caution when planting, however. It produces berries that are toxic to people and pets if ingested.

Sweet Almond

Also known as incense bush, it’s a large shrub that produces white flower spikes and will bloom intermittently year-round. When in bloom, it fills the air with a scent that’s been described as that of almonds, almond cookies or amaretto liquor.

Wisteria

This vine can be left to ramble over fences and trellises, or trained to grow in the form of a bush. Depending on the variety, flower spikes can range from 6-12 inches in length and the scent fills the air long before the plant is spotted. It’s especially attractive to pollinators.

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 have 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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Lighting Can Make Your Yard Stand Out

One of the most under-utilized and misunderstood components of landscaping is lighting. It has the ability to beautify properties, increase curb appeal, and improve security. The installation of an outdoor lighting system can be used as accent lighting for unique plant specimens and to create dramatic effects for pools, fountains and waterfalls.

A well-lit yard is an effective deterrent to intruders and trespassers. Properties can be tastefully and artfully illuminated, while still remaining unattractive to those up to no good. It requires proper positioning to ensure the yard is lit without being a distraction, while eliminating shadowy areas in which people can conceal themselves.

At the same time, adding an outdoor illumination system also increases curb appeal. It’s essential for entryways to be well-lighted. It makes the home look inviting, welcoming, and it’s easier to see anyone that approaches the door after dark. It’s an important component of safety for friends and family so they don’t trip or fall on steps, stairs or other potential hazards.

Homes with unusual or unique architectural features can benefit from lighting that highlights rockwork, pillars and similar items. There are specific tricks to getting the lighting angled correctly so it showcases rather than making those features look garish. The same is true for garden attributes. Select lighting options are an effective way to highlight specific items within the landscape such as statuary, waterfalls, pools, and topiaries.

Lighting in any environment is important and especially so when highlighting homes or landscape features. There’s a myriad of selections from which to choose and the best way to know all the options is to seek the services of a landscape lighting designer. He/she can create a single illumination plan to accomplish safety, curb appeal and beautification, while maintaining the character of the home and surrounding landscape.

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 have 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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Dangerous Holiday Plants

Poinsettias and mistletoe add color and interest to homes during the holiday season, providing a festive environment. What you may not know is that many of those traditional decorative plants can cause a rash at the very least and some are highly toxic to children and pets.

It will be safer to purchase imitation plants with which to decorate. If you absolutely have to decorate with live plants, be sure they’re well above reach of children, dogs, cats, ferrets, birds and other pets. The following are some of the most popular plants for decorating during the holidays that you should know about.

Holly

The berries of the holly plant resemble candies to children and a plaything to pets, but eating the berries can be fatal.

Amaryllis

The big, beautiful blooms of amaryllis are a sight to behold and popular for decorating and gift giving. The bulbs and leaves are both toxic and can result in abdominal pain, convulsions and irregular heartbeat.

Calla Lily

The tubers are the primary danger. Ingesting them causes nausea and vomiting, along with convulsions and paralysis.

Cyclamen

Available in multiple colors, the tubers can result in nausea and vomiting, convulsions and paralysis.

Christmas Cactus

None of the cacti sold around the holidays is poisonous, but it causes nausea and vomiting in cats.

Christmas Trees

While cedars, firs and pines are only mildly toxic, ingesting the needles can result in perorations to the intestinal system. It’s unlikely that kids or pets would try to eat the needles, but it’s something of which you need to be aware.

Jerusalem Cherry

The plant is a species of nightshade and the fruits are poisonous. The fruits resemble cherry tomatoes, which make them attractive to children and pets, but they’re extremely dangerous to people, dogs, cats and birds.

Mistletoe

It may be fun to kiss under the mistletoe, but the plant produces a deadly toxin. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause nausea and abdominal pain, along with blurred vision and changes in blood pressure.

Peace Lily

The large white flowers of the peace lily beautiful, but they’re toxic to people if eaten and poisonous to dogs and cats.

Poinsettia

The brightly colored holiday flower isn’t poisonous, but the sap can cause varying degrees of irritation to the mouth, esophagus and stomach, resulting in nausea and vomiting.

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 have 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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Great Annuals for Cooler Florida Weather

The unique weather conditions in Florida means that you can still have colorful blossoms, even during the cooler months. Many flowering annuals can be planted in October and will provide color until spring.

African Daisy

Similar in appearance to a daisy, they’re available in striking single and bi-colored varieties. They’re especially prolific when temperatures are in the 50s or 60s. They’re great in beds, borders, and containers.

Calendula

Bold golden or yellow flowers and easy-care plants make this a favorite for brightening up any location. They’re best in beds and borders, but won’t balk at containers.

Cyclamen

Variegated, heart-shaped leaves and blooms in an array of colors are the hallmarks of this plant. They make a big impact in the garden or when planted in pots or containers.

Dianthus

There are dozens of fragrant species that achieve multiple heights and even a light frost won’t stop them. They’re great in borders or containers and some are tough enough that they’re classified as bi-annuals.

Dusty Miller

While they do bloom, the main attraction with these is their silver foliage. They’re an ideal filler plant for baskets and containers. They’re resistant to deer, drought, and disease.

Geraniums

These vigorous plants bloom profusely in cooler weather. They come in an assortment of colors, in upright and trailing varieties, that are great in pots, planters, and window boxes.

Pansies

These cheerful flowers love cooler weather and are available in a multitude of colors. They can be planted in beds, pots or containers.

Petunias

These hardy and prolific flowers actually do better outside the heat of summer. They’re available in solid and uniquely striped bi-colors and are happy in beds, pots or containers.

Snapdragons

They’re available in dwarf, standard and trailing types in multiple, vibrant colors. Depending on the size, they’re excellent in beds, containers and as cut flowers.

Sweet Alyssum

Bountiful blooms in multiple colors on small plants make them a welcome addition. They’re fragrant and perfectly happy in pots, borders and beds.

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 have 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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Vines You’ll Love

One of the most overlooked options in the landscape is vines. They provide shade when grown over a trellis and they’re a source of food for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Vines offer cover for birds and their blossoms can put on a spectacular display of color.

Many people avoid vines in the mistaken belief that represent too much work or they’re too invasive. While some can require more effort than others, vines can be trimmed and pruned to limit their growth and their fragrance and beauty are well worth the time. Some of the most popular vines are the following.

Clematis – This vine is easy to keep within bounds, but can grow up to 20 feet in height. Flowers come in red, blue, yellow, pink, purple and bi-color. Blooms can be single, double, or bell-shaped.

Honeysuckle – The vine has sweet-smelling blooms particularly attractive to birds, bees and butterflies, with autumn fruits that attract larger birds. Shrub varieties can attain a height of 15 feet, vining types can grow up to 25 feet high with support, but it can also be trimmed to a desired height. Blossoms come in red, yellow, orange and white.

Jasmine – Its fragrance is easily recognizable from its use in perfumes. Growing 15 to 30 feet depending on the species, it has star-shaped white blossoms that can scent an entire area. Flower colors encompass red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, pink and white.

Wisteria – This is one of the easiest to grow and can be trained over a trellis or pruned into a small specimen tree. Depending on the species, it can have fragrant flower clusters of white, pink, lavender and violet ranging from 6-36 inches in length. It grows quickly and can reach 30 feet in height with proper support.

Despite a reputation for rampant growth, vines can be trimmed and pruned to remain at specific heights or left to ramble over pergolas, pagodas, trellises and fences. They add beauty and grace to landscapes and an abundance of showy, fragrant blossoms to please people and pollinators.

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 have 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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irrigation company boca raton florida

Commercial Irrigation is no Joke

An irrigation system is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to have an attractive commercial property while saving money on the costs to maintain it. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t understand the importance of irrigation and still have visions of old-fashioned systems that were wasteful and expensive.

Modern irrigation systems are no joke. They’re highly complicated and complex systems that are carefully designed and planned. They contain automated systems to ensure the plants on a property have the proper amount of water without overwatering. The systems are designed to meet the needs of plantings that also take into account soil composition, land slopes, available water pressure, and drainage concerns.

There is also the type of sprinkler head to consider. There are multiple types, they emit different amounts of water, and will cause problems within the irrigation system and the health of the plantings. An irrigation professional will know how far apart to place each head for the specific needs of the property.

Wiring is required for the valves that determine how much water each zone receives and to shut off when the watering cycle is complete. One of the most important services an irrigation professional will provide is aiming the flow of water that comes from the sprinkler heads. Water will be directed toward plantings and not onto sidewalks or over curb edges. Some areas even have laws against watering sidewalks due to the potential for slip and fall accidents.

Modern irrigation systems are programmable and will be set to water during the late evening or early morning hours. Water during those times results in maximum absorption for plantings, while aiding in preventing the growth of mold, mildew and fungi. The high-tech systems also have sensors that detect when rain has fallen and will prevent irrigation from commencing until the soil is dry enough.

Commercial irrigation systems eliminate the work of watering and the guesswork of trying to determine if plantings have received enough moisture. They reduce water usage and costs, while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance for any type of commercial property.

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 have 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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Great Plants for Shade

Every property has them – shady spots where nothing seems to grow. The good news is that there are a variety of shade-loving plants that will flourish without full sun. Some also have bright blossoms that will add a splash of color. Few annuals tolerate shade well, so your best option will be ground covers and perennials.

The first item of business is to determine what type of shade you have – light, moderate or deep shade. Some plants prefer four or fewer hours of sun in the morning or afternoon. Others are happy in dappled shade through tree leaves and some are happy in the shifting shade that comes in close proximity to pines and evergreens.

The most difficult areas of shade are those that are very dry or wet, where no sun shines at all, soil that has a significant amount of tree roots, and locations that are shaded by structures. In some instances, it can be helpful to thin and prune trees and bushes. It allows more indirect light to enter, but should only be done by a professional. The following plants are all good for shade gardening.

Begonias – Many types are available for varying degrees of shade, have showy flowers of white, yellow, red or orange and have single, double and ruffled blossoms.

Bleeding heart – Available in red, pink, yellow and white, they bloom profusely in the spring and may bloom sporadically throughout the year.

Campanula – Known as bellflowers, they’re offered in white and hues of pink, blue, and lavender, and range from dwarf varieties to those of 12 inches in height.

Hosta – They have very dense root systems, come in variegated and non-variegated leaf varieties, and have stalks of white, to deep purple blossoms.

Iris – The plants are available in a rainbow of flower colors and each species has its own bloom time.

Primrose – Available in a multitude of single and bi-colors, they’re low-growing and the species will determine bloom times.

Shade gardening can be especially challenging, but there are numerous perennial species from which to choose that will thrive in various states of shade. They also provide brightly colored blooms that will keep you enchanted throughout the year.

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 have 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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Toxic Plants

Despite their beauty, there are many popular garden plants that no one should cultivate if there’s any way that children or pets may come into contact with them. Some can cause a painful or itchy skin rash if touched, while others can result in death if the leaves, flowers or seeds are ingested. Some of the most deadly include the following.

Larkspur is a member of the genus delphinium and they provide a bright splash of color in gardens. The entire plant is deadly, especially young leaves and mature seeds. Nausea, vomiting and burning of the mouth is almost immediate when ingested. The plants can be lethal in six hours or less.

One of the harbingers of spring, lily-of-the-valley is a sweet-smelling ground cover. The entire plant is toxic, especially the leaves, and affects the heart. A single bite can cause symptoms ranging from hot flashes and hallucinations to clammy skin before coma and death occur.

Hydrangeas were popular funerary arrangements at one time. They have large, showy flowers and while the entire plant is toxic, the flower buds are especially so. Ingesting any part of the plant is like consuming cyanide.

Known as poet’s daffodil, this variety of narcissus is smaller than others and is a cheery sight in the spring. They won’t attract deer, rabbits or rodents and all parts of the plant are toxic, especially the bulbs. Even the scent from a bouquet of narcissus in a room can cause a severe headache.

Rhododendrons produce showy displays of brilliant color in the garden, but the entire plant can be deadly. Swallowing any part of the plant will cause drooling, violent vomiting, low blood pressure, and seizures and coma before death occurs.

Dozens of common garden plants enhance landscapes and few know the dangers of death that they present. Individuals should thoroughly research any plant they’re considering adding to their property to avert a deadly disaster to their own children and pets, along with others in the neighborhood.

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 have 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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