wildlife

Be Aware of Wildlife When Gardening

South Florida is home to extensive diversity of wildlife that individuals may encounter in their garden. Some are poisonous, others deliver a painful bite, while some are just scary looking. They seek shelter in gardens and want to be left alone, but they will defend themselves against what they perceive as an attack.

The best solution when gardening is wearing pants, long sleeves, socks and shoes – not sandals – look carefully where hands and feet are placed or if movement is detected. Individuals may also want to contact a professional should an infestation become apparent.

Spiders

Spiders are the most common type of wildlife that individuals will encounter. The two most dangerous are the southern black widow and the brown recluse. Humans typically won’t encounter a brown recluse, but it’s important to be aware. While it’s not poisonous, it’s dangerous in the effect it has. The venom injected by a bite result in liquification of the flesh around the bite site.

Southern black widows don’t have the distinguishing red hourglass markings of their northern counterparts. They’re venomous, but their bite typically won’t result in death. The bite can cause pain, burning, swelling, redness, nausea and severe pain. The venom affects the nervous system. Some people are relatively unaffected, while others may have a severe reaction.

Snakes

Between breeders and owners releasing exotic snakes into the wild and hurricanes that send snakes seeking higher ground, there are many different types of snakes in South Florida that people may encounter. Only six species are truly dangerous with bites that can harm people, but no snake should be trifled with, just to be safe.

Dangerous species include the Canebrake rattlesnake, copperhead, coral snake, cottonmouth/water moccasin, diamondback rattlesnake and pigmy rattlesnake. While most people won’t encounter the pythons or any of the other constrictors, they can appear. Snakes typically enter gardens in search of food such as moles, voles and mice, along with gophers, chipmunks and other rodents.

Fire Ants

Gardeners may encounter several species of fire ants that inhabit Florida. The red fire ant is the biggest problem. The species is native to South America and found a favorable environment in Florida. The imported species is aggressive and attacks anything that disturbs them. They come out of their mounds en masse and each ant can sting numerous times. The most common reaction is pain, itching and swelling. While the sting is painful to most, it can result in a life-threatening reaction for some.

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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Maintaining Roses

Successfully Maintaining Roses in South Florida

There’s something inherently desirable about roses. They’ve been written and sung about since ancient times. Rose fossils have been found dating to 35 million years ago and there are currently more than 150 species in the Northern Hemisphere. They were so highly prized in the 15th century that the plants and rose water was an accepted form of currency.

Individuals can grow roses in virtually every color of the rainbow in single or double flower forms, many of which are highly fragrant. Each type of rose variety also has height variations – an important fact to know when selecting a favorite. Those that want roses in the environment can choose from multiple types.

  • Miniatures are typically grown as houseplants.
  • Polyanthas roses range in height from 18 to 24 inches.
  • Floribunda roses grow from 1.5 to 2.5 feet in height.
  • Grandiflora roses are the result of modern breeding programs and grow from 3 to 5 feet tall.
  • Hybrid tea roses range from 3 to 8 feet in height.
  • Climbing roses, sometimes referred to as rambling roses, can attain heights of 20 feet.

Growing roses in South Florida is entirely possible, providing gardeners pay attention to their needs. Roses need 6 to 8 hours of morning sun each day – midday sun is too hot – and soil that’s rich in organic matter. They’re heavy feeders and don’t do well near plants competing for nutrients. Monthly feedings will do wonders for keeping them healthy and happy. Roses can also be grown in containers.

A drip irrigation system is best for in-ground roses as it doesn’t get water on the leaves or blooms that can make them vulnerable to disease. There are some varieties that do better than others in the Florida environment. They include Don Juan, Gold Medal, Christian Dior, Belinda’s Dream and Perfume Delight.

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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Need Landscaping Ideas? Take a Drive

Those that are at a loss with what to do with their landscape have only to take a drive to see dozens of ideas that can easily fit their current environment, along with those that can be scaled up or down to accommodate larger or smaller properties.

Individuals will find original options by professional designers, along with those of non-professionals that have an eye for design. Ideas are available for individuals that have extensive time to spend on landscaping and low-maintenance landscaping options that required little work to maintain.

Artificial Turf

For those that like a flawless green lawn but don’t want to spend every weekend mowing, try artificial grass. It can be obtained in varying gradations of green and multiple heights to accommodate any preference.

Less Lawn

The less lawn that an environment has, the less tending and mowing there will be. That means patios and other elements that only requires an occasional sweeping to keep them looking great. Pavers and custom designed stonework provide an excellent gathering place for family and friends. Hardscapes such as falls and fountains have the ability to provide a relaxing environment.

Perennials

Consider planting perennials for a gift of blossoms that returns each year. There are dozens of species that provide the bright colors of annuals, without the fuss of planting them anew each year. Individuals can also select easy care ground covers to eliminate weeds on hills and slopes.

Native plants that are adapted to the South Florida climate are more resistant to the depredations of insects, weeds and wildlife. Consider mulching with small stones and gravel to control weeds and provide a point of interest. When planning a landscape, less is more and there’s no reason to cram plants together in a small space. A few strategically placed plants make a powerful impact.

Trees

There’s an endless variety of trees and shrubs that can be planted to provide shade and beautiful blossoms. Be careful when making selections, as some can litter the ground with faded flowers and dropped fruit. Another consideration is the mature height and spread that has the potential to interfere with foundations and utility lines above and below ground.

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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Consider Disease When Choosing Plants

Plants get diseases just like humans and animals. Before deciding to add a plant to the landscape, it’s a good idea to consider the potential for disease. Some plant diseases are easily transmissible among different species and can spread throughout an entire neighborhood.

Plants that are placed in locations contrary to their natural preferences will become stressed, fail to flourish, and are more vulnerable to attack from diseases, along with a variety of insect pests. When individuals see a plant they want to add to the landscape, do some research to ascertain if it’s prone to diseases ranging from mildew and root rot to blight and canker.

Soil, Sun and Water

The soil composition in the landscape is important. Some plants require alkaline soil while others prefer soil that’s acidic. Plants that need soil with excellent drainage will develop root rot in wet and soggy conditions. The spores of fungal infection can spread among different plants and be transmitted by insects. Heat and humidity provide a breeding ground for mold, bacterial, and fungal infection. Light requirements can vary widely and shade plants will quickly wither in full sun.

Proximity

Some very disparate plants can spread disease simply by being in close proximity to each other. There are plant diseases that require two hosts to complete its life cycle. An example is cedar-apple rust. The fungal spores infect eastern red cedars and are released in the spring where they infect the leaves of apple and crabapple trees. The disease matures over the summer and mature spores are released in the autumn to infect the cedars. The same type of co-infection affects junipers and quince.

Choosing Plants

It’s critical to purchase plants that are healthy and show no signs of disease. There are dozens of plants native to the South Florida environment, while others have been introduced to the area from locations with similar growing conditions and can thrive.

White pine is a species that’s not a native, but grows well in the state. However, it doesn’t tolerate salt and shouldn’t be planted where they’re exposed to saltwater. Some plants within the same family that are introduced from abroad have increased hardiness and resistance to disease in the Florida environment.

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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disease

Diseases that will Ruin Your Landscape

Insects that can infect your landscape and create havoc may be your primary concern. However, there are a variety of diseases of which you need to be aware. Some have the potential to infect plantings near and far. Others can wreak so much damage that flower beds may need to be evacuated and trees eliminated if the disease isn’t identified early and control measures prove ineffective.

Diseases can affect the roots, stem/trunk or flower/fruit production. Other diseases are cosmetic in nature. While they won’t kill plantings, they can affect their aesthetic value and the appearance of your property. Diseases are difficult to identify, as some are similar in appearance to insect predations. It’s always best to seek the expertise of a plant specialist.

Armillaria Root Rot

Also known as mushroom root rot, a tree or shrub infected with the fungi may appear wilted, have little foliage, and remaining leaves look shriveled and dry. The fungus prevents plantings from absorbing water and it’s the most common fungi species infecting shrubs and trees in Florida.

Bacteria

More than 170 types of bacteria can affect plants and they can cause symptoms ranging from leaf spots and yellowing of leaves and fronds to plant wilt and death. Citrus Greening is one example. Typically found in citrus groves, it can also affect backyard citrus. Yields drop, eventually stop, and the tree dies.

Black Spot/Leaf Spot

Both types of the fungi produce black spots on the upper surface of leaves. Primarily affecting roses, it can also be found on the leaves, flowers and fruits of other plantings. It flourishes in hot, humid conditions. Black spot is the most serious disease of roses in Florida and can cause severe defoliation.

In Cercospora Leaf Spot, a small round spot appears and grows larger as the disease progresses. The center of the spot eventually turns a tan/gray color. The leaf dies and the lesions can appear on any other part of the plant.

Lethal Bronzing Disease

Affecting palms, the disease is relatively new to Florida and is caused by a phytoplasma – a unique type of bacteria. It results in a quick decline of the palm and death. There is no cure.

Mildew

Powdery mildew and downy mildew are both fungus infections that are similar in appearance The symptoms of yellowing leaves and white spots are the same, but downy mildew is more grayish colored. Powdery mildew can be anywhere on the leaf surface, while downy mildew is limited by leaf veins.

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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landscaping software

Landscape Software Lets You See the Final Project

Creating a new landscape or updating an existing panorama in your backyard is exciting. With the assistance of landscape software, anyone can be creative. The consumer-based landscaping software of today has evolved considerably, is highly versatile, and has features of which you may not be aware.

There are also many price points from which to choose. It pays to do some research before settling on a specific program. Some of the less expensive versions may not have all the features you want, while high-end software can have a distinct learning curve to overcome. However, they’re an excellent place to begin your landscaping journey.

Digital Property

Depending upon the software, you can scan an image of your property into the software. You can drag and drop different types of trees, bushes and flowers, along with hardscape items that includes homes, outbuildings, driveways, swimming pools, and patios. The finished product will be a digital image of the existing property from which to work. Some also provide 3D views and a virtual tour.

Forecasters

Especially useful are features that provide a growth forecaster so you can see how your choices will appear over time as they mature. It’s easy to see if a tree will overgrow its boundaries, produce too much shade, block a view, or interfere with utility lines.

Some software provides shade forecasters that enable you to see where shadows from trees and buildings will fall at any time of the day and throughout each season. Others will even give you an estimate of what the landscape costs will be.

Disadvantages

Landscape design programs can’t provide an accurate account of irrigation needs or how an irrigation system should be laid out. They also can’t tell you what type of soil you have, which will affect the type of trees and plants you can grow successfully.

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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weed

Weed Solutions

Anyone with a patch of green knows how easy it is for weeds to appear in their lawn and flowerbeds, no matter how hard they work to eliminate them. Most people consider a weed to be a wild plant, but even cultivated species can earn the designation of weed if it’s growing where it’s not wanted.

Prevention is essential, as seeds can be carried great distances by the wind, birds, and other wildlife. Any soil that’s been disturbed or lacks mulch is fertile ground for weeds to take hold. The quicker that property owners detect weed growth, the easier it will be to prevent a major infestation.

Biologicals

This is a method that utilizes living plants to suppress weed growth rather than eradicating it. Groundcovers are an excellent solution for large spaces. There are groundcovers that will grow in virtually any soil, many of which have blossoms that attract pollinators that include bees and butterflies.

Chemical

It’s easy to obtain herbicide sprays for home use that kill multiple types of weeds. However, the chemicals are dangerous to children, pets, and the individual performing the application will need to take precautions to prevent the spray from making contact with their skin. Another disadvantage is that some chemical weed killers will also kill desirable plants if the applicator isn’t careful. Granular herbicides that target lawn weeds are also available.

Mechanical

The only tool individuals may need for mechanical elimination of weeds is a shovel so they can dig them up. Mechanical methods also include simply pulling up the offending growth. The best method is digging. While a great number of plants proliferate through seeds, others do not. Many weeds spread through the growth of underground rhizomes. These types of weeds are especially difficult to eradicate.

Environmental

Mulching is one of the easiest ways to prevent weed growth in flower beds. It’s environmentally-friendly, enriches soil, and conserves moisture. Crushed stone and gravel are another mulching alternative that’s effective and can be used to create stand-out 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 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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sprinklers cooler months

Mixing Hardscapes and Plants

When most people think about landscaping their properties, they’re focused on the plants with little to no consideration for hardscapes. The features are essentially manmade aspects that can add to the enjoyment of outdoor spaces and make the environment more attractive. One of the most important questions to answer before beginning any landscape project is whether the finished project will reflect a formal or informal look.

Hardscapes can encompass a wide range of items such as walkways, fountains, statuary, and retaining walls, along with decks and patios, swimming pools, outdoor lighting, gazebos and more. Hardscapes also consist of stone, gravel, pavers, concrete and wood. They add interest to the landscape and in larger environments are generally intended to provide a traffic pattern for traversing the landscape. That doesn’t mean that smaller landscapes should be bereft of hardscape features.

People don’t like to step on living plants and hardscapes should be created that recognize that. Pavers, concrete and gravel can create flowerbeds that are completely unique and unconventional. Small stones and crushed rock are effective mulches. Plants work to soften the impact of hardscapes and greenery can be chosen with leaves or blossoms that emulate the shape of hardscapes.

For landscapes that are already highlighted with gravel, boulders or crushed stone, that “natural” look can be complemented by planting small trees or low-growing junipers. Consider tucking a flowering plant here and there among the hardscape to create a burst of color that continues the naturalistic theme.

It’s important to note that stones, crushed rocks, and other types of mulches can change the pH of the soil. It’s a consideration that will need to be taken into account when choosing plantings. Planning a combination of plants and hardscapes is a task that’s best suited to a professional landscaper. The professionals are cognizant of soils types, plant species, and can design a landscape that’s beautiful, functional, and complements architectural styles.

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

Pros and Cons of DIY Landscaping

There are small and simple jobs of landscaping that people are able to handle themselves with no problem such as mulching or planting a tree, shrub or flowers. However, for more extensive projects, unless an individual has skill or experience in that area, a DIY project can quickly go awry. There are pros and cons to a DIY project, that includes the following.

Budget

A DIY project is always going to be less expensive than hiring a professional and individuals often have the assistance of spouses, children or friends to help save on costs. A professional landscaping company is more costly, but they always have the manpower required for the job to complete it quickly and efficiently.

Exercise

Landscaping is good exercise, gets people out in the fresh air, and working with plants is therapeutic. A potential drawback, however, is if an individual has asthma, allergies or some other type of respiratory difficult.

Age

Older individuals may feel up to doing their own work, but health concerns, stamina and physical strength can be an obstacle.

Tools and Equipment

Depending on the project, specialized tools or equipment may be required that the average person doesn’t have. Many types of equipment can be rented, but individuals may also be faced with a learning curve in their operation. Landscapers have the tools and equipment needed.

Knowledge

The average individual doesn’t have the knowledge required to determine if a plant is invasive or will thrive in any specific location. Landscapers are knowledgeable about different plants, their unique needs, the best location for a specific plant, and its ongoing care.

Time

It’s always going to take more time to complete a DIY project than when hiring a professional. What individuals estimate as a few hours project can easily require multiple weekends to finish. Combined with that is the time investment required for maintenance and upkeep. A professional landscaping company makes short work of the entire process, from installation and maintenance to removal if necessary.

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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South Florida Summer Color

Flowers and shrubs always do best in their native habitat, but there are dozens of plants that can be successfully grown in other areas if climatic conditions are similar. Not all plants enjoy the humid conditions found in South Florida.

However, there are a number of annuals that will thrive and don’t mind the humidity and heat at all, though some do require partial shade and well-drained soil. No matter what type of flowers or shrubs are planted, gardeners will need to be aware that powdery mildew is always a potential problem.

Coreopsis

The daisy-like flowers of coreopsis feature bright, yellow blossoms. They bloom throughout the summer and are low maintenance. They attract bees, butterflies, and birds like the seeds. They grow from 1.5-4 ft. tall. Hybridization has given rise to colors of red, orange, pink and white.

Marigolds

Available in various shades of summer color, yellow, orange, and those that are highlighted by red, brass and copper, marigolds don’t mind the humidity. They offered in heights ranging from 6-24 inches to accommodate any area of the garden. The long-lasting flowers require little maintenance.

Sunflowers

There are sunflowers to meet any garden need. They’re available in varieties ranging from heights of 12 in.-15 ft. Pollen-free varieties have also been developed. Sunflowers are available in traditional yellow, shades of red and burgundy, orange, bi-colors and even stunningly beautiful white, along with single and double flowering varieties that require little maintenance.

Wishbone Flowers

The bi-colored flowers are offered in a myriad of hues and look like miniature gloxinias. The blooms are long-lasting and plants typically grow 6-12 in. in height. It can be placed in the summer garden and will even thrive as a houseplant.

Zinnias

Zinnias are available in every color of the rainbow except blue, including solids, bi-colors, and even a creeping style. Depending on the variety, they can grow 6-8 in., 1-3 ft. and there’s even a variety that can attain heights of up to 4 ft. They can be used for cut flowers, are low maintenance, and long-lasting.

 

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