Gardening with Kids

Florida is a fortunate place to live for gardeners. Unlike colder climates where gardening depends on the whims of the weather and seasons, people in Florida can garden even during the winter. It’s also an ideal time to introduce kids to the joys of gardening and growing their own food.

Make a Plan

Decide what you want to plant, preferably vegetables that kids actually enjoy eating. Plants will need to be located in an area in which they receive at least six hours of light each day. Since watering will be part of the gardening process, make sure the garden is near a ready source of water that doesn’t have to be carried a significant distance.

You can use raised beds or create an in-ground bed. For success, pay attention to optimal planting dates as there is variation depending upon which part of the state you live. You can purchase seedlings for some plants, while some seeds can be planted directly in the ground – a task that’s easy for even young children.

Winter Vegetables

There’s an abundance of cold-weather vegetables that can be cultivated in Florida. They include carrots, radishes and cabbage to arugula, Swiss chard, and multiple types of lettuce. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kohlrabi are other good choices.

You may be surprised to learn that it’s possible to grow garlic, onions, celery, beans, and English peas during the winter months. You and your child can also cultivate multiple types of herbs. An additional benefit of gardening in the winter is that there will be fewer insect pests to worry about.

Learning Opportunities

There’s nothing quite like the wonder on a child’s face when they harvest the first produce to eat that they’ve grown themselves. Planting a variety of vegetables gives children the opportunity to observe the growing habits of different plant types. Peas and beans also provide an opportunity for your child to learn about vertical gardening.

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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South Florida Winter Lawn Care

Residents of South Florida are fortunate in that they still have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities even in the winter while their counterparts in northern climates are buried under a blanket of snow. A green lawn in winter begins with proper preparation. The following are some tips to help keep lawns healthy and green.

Fertilizing

Stop fertilizing in September or October. Grass growth will naturally slow during the winter months. Fertilizing during that time will undo all the care taken during the summer and if the grass doesn’t die, it can be severely damaged.

Seeding

Overseed the lawn with grass that grows well in the winter to maintain a green yard in the winter. The winter grass will die off and disappear by the time summer grass begins to grow again. Be sure to mow the lawn before seeding. Remove any weeds and debris and attend to any fungal concerns. Ryegrass is an inexpensive winter option that has a good germination rate and it’s a fast grower.

Watering

Individuals will want to alter their watering or irrigation patterns for winter and it’s a good time to have irrigation systems checked. There’s less evaporation occurring during the winter. The same watering habits utilized in the summer will result in standing water and can lead to disease and fungal infections in the lawn.

A good way to identify when to water is to observe the grass blades. If they’re folding in half longways or footprints remain visible in the grass after walking on it, it’s time to water.

Colorants

Individuals also have the option of lawn colorants that provide the appearance of a lush, green lawn during months in which maintaining the desired coloration can be a problem. It’s the same technique employed on sports fields and golf courses, but coloration should only be performed by a lawn care specialist. Using a colorant is a short-term solution and a regular lawn care regimen will still need to be maintained.

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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Shrubs or Fence for Privacy

There are basically two options for establishing privacy – shrubs or fencing. There’s a myriad of elements to consider when choosing which is best for any given location and circumstance. Before making a decision, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. The following are some pros and cons of each type.

Shrubs

Shrubs provide a natural living fence that offer a friendlier and less regimented look than an artificial barrier. It’s important to understand that the appearance of a live fence will depend on the shrubs selected. A formal, manicured hedge will require more time and effort to maintain. Some shrubs look best when left to grow naturally. There are also flowering and non-flowering shrubs.

The plants are eco-friendly and provide an environment in which wildlife can shelter. Depending on the size of the selected shrubs, it may take some time for the plants to provide the desired level of privacy. However, a living privacy fence isn’t the best option for homes that are very close together as the plants can encroach on a neighbor’s property.

Shrubs aid in buffering noise and dirt, while providing a good windbreak. It’s usually necessary for individuals to obtain a permit before any planting can begin. The cost of installing shrubs will be less than that of erecting a traditional fence.

Fencing

A traditional fence of wood or manmade materials has the ability to provide immediate privacy without the wait. There are new fencing materials that can be recycled and that aid in muting sound and dust from the outside. Those same materials can mimic the appearance and texture of wood and stone. Some are able to withstand winds of up to 110 mph., are resistant to UV rays, and are almost maintenance free.

Traditional fences enhance a property’s value and are a good choice when homes are very close together as they require less space to erect. Individuals will definitely need a permit before construction of the fence can commence. The installation and associated costs of installing a traditional fence will be substantially more expensive than the alternative.

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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Different Tree Shapes to Accent your Yard

Trees have a wide variety of growth habits and that diversity can add special interest to any landscape. Knowing the shape of a tree is an important facet when choosing a new tree to plant in the landscape.

Classifying tree shapes doesn’t always depend on a tree’s silhouette, but on the manner in which the branches grow. The trick is matching the shape and growth habit with the landscape environment. Different varieties within the same species can also demonstrate varying shapes. Those are just some of the reasons why it pays to consult with a landscaping expert for guidance.

Columnar

These grow in same shape as the name implies. Columnar trees present a formal appearance and are tidy with uniform branch lengths. Examples are arborvitae, Lombardy poplar, Italian cypress, some junipers, and Japanese holly. There are also specially developed columnar fruit trees.

Fastigiate

The branches in this group of trees appear to grow vertically or almost horizontally to the trunk. They tend to be tall, narrow and erect in growth. Some junipers and yews are in this grouping, along with thujas of the cypress family.

Globe/Round

Regular, rounded tops are the earmarks of these trees. When planted in rows along a drive they provide a stately appearance. A good example is the Black maple and some flowering dogwoods fit the classification.

Horizontal

These trees tend to be massive in size and often have a blocky appearance. The branches are horizontal along the entire trunk and can overwhelm small environments. Red and White oaks and Red cedars are some examples.

Open-Headed/Irregular

The trees in this group often have no exact or definable shape. A good example is the honey mesquite.

Oval

Trees with oval shaped heads are often lumped into the same category as those with rounded heads. Examples include green mountain ash, Bradford pear, and Norway maples.

Pyramidal/Cone

This is a very large grouping that includes conifers and deciduous trees. They can create a dramatic effect in the landscape. The Dawn redwood, Colorado blue spruce, some cedars and cypresses.

Umbrella

An umbrella-shaped tree is exactly like it sounds and resembles an open umbrella. Acacias, Japanese maples, and palo verdes are in this category.

Vase

These trees are small at the bottom and open up gracefully like a vase at the top. They provide shade without inhibiting the headroom of those walking beneath them. Crape myrtles, redbuds, and American elms are good examples.

Weeping

Willows are the most expressive example of this category, though there are also a variety of other species that exhibit the weeping growth habit that includes some birches, cherries, hemlock, and weeping white pine.

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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Watch out for these Thorny Shrubs and Plants

Everyone knows that roses have thorns and plant them accordingly in locations that will showcase their beauty, while minimizing the potential of injuries to people and pets. However, individuals often create landscapes only to discover as a plant matures that they have a thorny mess on their hands.

While these thorny plants can be great as a living security barrier, care should be used when planting them as a permanent fixture in the garden. Hikers should also be careful as many thorny plants grow in the wild.

There are a number of plants and shrubs that don’t give any indication of the thorns they’ll develop later on. The following are just some of the thorny shrubs and plants of which people should be aware.

Agave

The same agave that’s harvested for its sweetening effect in food and beverages is also a popular landscape plant with cup-shaped blooms. The succulents protect themselves with thorns or spines on leaf tips.

Bamboo Cycad

The bamboo cycad has an exotic appearance and it’s a unique addition to the landscape. The plant has existed since the dinosaur age, develops sharp thorns, and shouldn’t be planted near sidewalks and other locations frequented by people and pets.

Barberry

Best-known as a plant for hedges and barriers, it offers a change of colors with the seasons. It also produces blooms, attractive berries, and spines.

Bougainvillea

Showy and beautiful, bougainvillea is available in a bush, vine and tree form, all of which have thorns capable of piercing clothing and flesh.

Devil’s Walking Stick

This is a plant many people encounter in the wild. It’s an invasive species that usually takes the form of a multi-stemmed tree resembling a bush. The leaves are equipped with small thorns.

Flowering Quince

Heralded as a harbinger of spring with its bright blooms, its dense growth habit hides sharp thorns and is best planted in the back of a border.

Golden Dewdrop

A beautiful flowering shrub from the tropics, it blooms profusely. The shrub develops sharp thorns on the stems of mature plants.

Yucca

A stately plant that has a symbiotic relationship with the yucca moth, the tips of yucca leaves are sharp and the plant is toxic to people and pets.

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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Keeping Roses in Florida

Many Florida residents long for the sight and scent of roses in their garden. Getting roses to grow in Florida can be done, but it’s not an easy undertaking. The very weather conditions that people seek to enjoy can actively conspire against growing them.

Sun

Roses need to be planted in full sun where they’ll receive 6-8 hours of sun each day. However, the afternoon sun in Florida can be too hot for the plants. An ideal location is a place where they’ll receive the majority of their light requirements from morning sun and a limited amount of afternoon sun.

Feeding

Roses are deep and heavy feeders. Their roots can easily extend 15 inches or more down into the soil. They also don’t like to be planted near the roots of other plants, though they don’t seem to mind growing near the roots of other roses.

Soil

The soil should be well-drained – roses don’t like wet feet. The plants like loamy soils and black dirt rich in organic matter. Those conditions can be difficult to accommodate in the garden without amendments to the soil or the assistance of a landscaper. It’s led many people to grow them in containers.

Water

A drip or soaker hose system is best for roses. It enables water to be placed at ground level near the root system where it’s needed. The humid climate can lead to powdery mildew and leaf spot if they’re watered from above.

Type

The type of rose is also important. Most people envision tea roses, but gardeners can also choose from miniatures, floribundas, grandifloras, polyanthas, shrub types and climbers, along with tree roses that have been grafted and trained to grow into tree form. Some withstand the Florida climate better than others.

Insect Pests

Roses are subject to damage by the same types of insect pests as other plants. They’re especially attractive to Japanese beetles and nematodes. A new pest and an emerging threat introduced from Asia, Africa, and Oceania is the chilli thrip. The insect isn’t fussy about what it consumes and typically damages buds and leaves. It’s best to call a landscape professional if an infestation occurs.

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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Messy Florida Trees

Florida residents have an exceptional variety of trees that will grow in the environment. Unfortunately, many people may view the blooms or fruit of a particular tree specimen and plant in their own landscape without fully understanding its habits.

Messy Florida trees are a common problem due to leaf drop and drippy sap, along with fruits that can fall causing injury to people, pets, and property. Planting evergreens won’t alleviate the problem. Conifers also shed their needles and produce pine cones that will need to be removed.

Mulberry

They produce an unbelievable amount of pollen that attracts insects. The fruits are tasty and attract wildlife, but are sticky when they fall to the ground and stain paint jobs and driveways.

Northern Catalpa

An interesting tree with heart-shaped flowers, they produce fluffy blooms and that fluff blows around easily in the wind. It sheds leaves and pieces of bark all year and the long seed pods require considerable time to rake. The tree is frequently infested with catalpa worms, though the caterpillars make good fish bait.

Pawpaw

The trees produce a lot of litter ranging from leaf fall to sweet and succulent fruit that’s extremely sticky. Pawpaw blooms also have a disadvantage before they fall and make a mess on the ground. Many people have likened their smell to that of rotting flesh.

Pecan

They provide a great supply of pecans for people and wildlife that’s encased in an inner and outer shell. They shed leaves that can clog drains, ooze sap, and shed twigs on a regular basis. A stiff wind can bring down large branches.

Southern Magnolia

Beautiful in bloom and fragrance, petals will carpet the ground when they fall. The tree also sheds leaves year-round. It produces hard fruit called cones that can be a dangerous projectile if hit with a mower.

Sweet Gum

They drop their leaves in the autumn, but the biggest disadvantage is seeds/fruits that are hard, round, spiky balls. They’re painful to people and pets if stepped on and the trees tend to ooze sap.

Oak

A stately oak is a beauty to behold – until it begins dropping leaves, branches and acorns. Some oak species are less likely to drop twigs and experience breaking branches. Acorn production provides food for wildlife, but they also turn into dangerous projectiles when caught by a mower.

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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Plan Your Landscaping with a Professional

If you’re contemplating any type of landscaping change, hire a professional. It will be more expensive than a DIY project, but you’ll be glad you did. Professional landscapers have the experience and knowledge to ensure every element works in harmony and you’ll have an environment that will make you happy for years to come.

Landscapers do far more than plant greenery in the soil. They have comprehensive knowledge of all types of plants and their requirements. They can help you choose plants for your environment that provide unique visual interest, complement each other, and won’t overgrow their space.

Qualifications

There are many professional organizations with which professional landscapers may hold memberships. Some landscaping companies offer a variety of services, while others specialize in one area. Hire a professional that has expertise and experience in the type of work you want to be done.

Ideas

Your landscaper can help you choose materials and create a cohesive design. They’ll be knowledgeable about drainage features, architecture, irrigation, soil composition, and plants of all types. They can help you achieve the oasis of your dreams while remaining within budgetary requirements.

Pitfalls

A major advantage of hiring a landscaper is that they will know how to avoid common mistakes. Many people invest time and money doing their own landscaping, only to discover what they want to accomplish won’t work in their particular location.

Permits

A wide array of permits and permissions will be required. A professional will know what permits are needed according to prevailing safety laws and local regulations. Without the proper permits, you could easily find that your new plants or patio must be removed after it’s already installed.

Multiple Services

Your landscaper will be able to provide landscape architecture and installation of features ranging from fire pits, fireplaces and kitchens to pools, spas, landscape lighting, and fountains. They’ll be able to install irrigation systems, build custom decks and patios, and ensure every plant is right for its 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 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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South Florida Lawn Fertilization

One of the secrets to a beautiful and healthy lawn is fertilizer. However, fertilizing at the wrong time or using too much will produce the opposite effect. Weather conditions and the type of lawn grass will determine when the lawn is fertilized and how often.

St. Augustine grass is one of the most popular and frequently selected choices for South Florida lawns. It’s a dense grower, has attractive blue-green blades, and it’s easy to grow even in shady locations – though it doesn’t like deep shade. It’s also one of the most versatile and easily able to tolerate heat, humidity and salt. It’s not picky about the type of soil in which it grows.

Individuals should be aware that fertilization should only take place when grass is actively growing. While it’s true that the grass will grow year-round in South Florida, it’s most active from March-April through Sept.-Oct. The best solution for lawns is a fertilizer that contains slow-release nitrogen to feed the lawn throughout the season. Depending on the type of soil, additional applications may be needed.

Be aware that fertilizer will have three numbers on the package, such as 16-4-8. It’s the amount of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash it contains, respectively. The amount of fertilizer that’s applied is equally important as when it’s placed on lawns. Applying too much will burn the roots, kill the grass, and negatively impact the environment. Individuals will need to be cognizant of laws regarding fertilizers.

Proper application will also rely on knowing how many square feet the lawn encompasses for accuracy. Once that number has been determined, the county’s local Extension office can assist in calculating how much fertilizer to apply and when. An alternative is hiring a professional lawn service that will know the exact requirements of the grass depending on multiple variables.

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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The Popularity of Raised Gardens

There’s nothing like the taste of fresh vegetables or the fragrance of a newly picked bouquet of flowers. Millions of people are discovering a new hobby, a healthier lifestyle, and even making extra money through the use of raised gardens.

Rather than placing plants directly in the ground, an increasing number of people are having raised beds constructed, building the containers themselves, or purchasing pre-made kits. Raised beds can be created from a wide variety of materials ranging from wood to stone. Some creative gardeners are even repurposing items such as claw-footed bathtubs to add a decorative look while growing flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

A raised bed can be as plain or elaborate as desired and one of the most welcome features is that they can be created at any desired height to make gardening less stressful and painful on the back. Most people favor beds that are 6-12 inches in height and placed directly on the ground, many individuals are choosing to support their beds on legs so they don’t have to bend over at all.

Raised beds mitigate the tedious and time-consuming task of weeding. They’re ideal for areas where drainage is a problem or the soil is poor and won’t support plants well. Gardeners have the ability to control the type of soil in a raised bed, allowing them to provide optimal conditions for any type or plant they want to grow.

With the addition of a well-supported net, trellis or other structure, individuals can even grow vining and climbing varieties such as morning glories, pole beans, and sugar snap peas. Vertical gardening can easily be combined with raised beds to add additional growing space. It also reduced damage from insects and disease, while facilitating harvesting.

There’s really no limit to what individuals can grow in a raised garden bed, up to and including raspberry canes. Just be sure to select a variety without thorns for ease of harvesting. Fragrant herbs are another choice. When selecting plants, keep in mind that some can be aggressive growers and become invasive if not carefully monitored and controlled.

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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