Signs of a Stressed Lawn

A beautiful, healthy lawn is an invitation to play. However, lawns can become stressed for any number of reasons. Many individuals try to address the situation on their own, but doing so can exacerbate the problem. It’s best to consult with a professional that has the knowledge and experience to diagnose the underlying cause and treat it accordingly.

A stressed lawn can take many forms and the same symptoms can be the result of different causes. Heat, over or under watering, drought, weeds, insects, the need for aeration, and even excessive foot traffic can cause a lawn to brown, weaken, and look unkempt. Improper fertilization and mowing practices can actually harm a lawn.

Brown or Bare Spots

Depending on the cause and the stage of stress the lawn is under, the tips on grass blades may begin to turn brown. Similarly, spots within the lawn that turn brown or become bare may be a sign of stress from an insect infestation.

Color Change

Grass will often turn colors when stressed. It may turn a darker shade of green or take on a gray hue.

Curling and Wilting

Grass that’s stressed will typically curl, try to fold in half long ways, or wilt to save itself from whatever is challenging its ability to survive.

Grass Doesn’t Spring Back

The footprint test is easy to conduct and is a sure indication of a stressed lawn. Footprints that remain visible long after someone has walked on the grass is a sure sign of stress. Even the popular and hardy St. Augustine grass can suffer stress from multiple causes.

Weeds

When homeowners begin to notice weeds popping up in their formerly great looking lawn, it’s a sure sign that the lawn isn’t getting what it needs for lush growth that will aid in drowning out the weeds.

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.

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Pre-Hurricane Yard Prep

The average hurricane season produces a dozen named storms, with an average of six becoming hurricanes. Of that number, about three become major hurricanes. Years may pass between the worst of the storms, but preparing for the worst is a necessity for Florida residents.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts the probability of the dangerous storms each year, but an exceptionally active season and early tropical storms can always form. South Florida residents should be performing their annual pre-hurricane yard prep no matter what the prediction. Broken glass, toys, and tree limbs can become deadly projectiles in hurricane winds.

Garages and Outbuildings – Everyone works to secure their home, but they also need to ensure that garages, sheds, and other outbuildings are securely locked, anchored, and protected.

Gutters and Shingles – Gutters and downspouts need to be clean to facilitate drainage. It’s also essential to ensure that tiles/shingles, gutters and downspouts are securely attached to homes and outbuildings.

Irrigation Systems – Always turn irrigation off in advance of a hurricane. The potential for a broken pipe exists and if that happens, it will simply add to flooding problems.

Lawn Items – Secure lawn furniture, toys, tools, and decorations in a garage or storage building. Anything that can’t be moved should be securely tied down.

Plantings – Shoring up bushes and other plantings will help them weather the storm. Don’t hesitate to call in a professional landscaper for assistance. Whenever possible, remove trellises on which vines are growing or at least secure them to the ground. Individuals should harvest any produce from their fruit trees or vegetable gardens if they don’t want to lose it in the hurricane.

Potted Plants – Don’t leave potted plants outside. Bring them in the house, or at the very least place them in the garage or an outbuilding.

Storm Drains – Make sure they’re free of debris to aid in drainage once the storm arrives.

Trees and Coconuts – All trees should be inspected by a professional for dead or damaged limbs early in the season. They should be trimmed or removed accordingly. Stake young or newly planted trees to provide support during the storm. Palms don’t need trimming, but coconuts should be removed prior to a hurricane.

Windows – Board up windows in the home, garage, sheds, and other buildings to minimize breaking glass.

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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Common Florida Weeds and how to Target Them

The warm, lush Florida climate is an ideal environment for multiple types of unwelcome weeds. Once they get a toe-hold, they can quickly spread and permeate lawns, vegetable gardens, and flower beds. The most painstaking way to target weeds is by removing the plants that individuals want to save and targeting the weeds by removing the roots.

That solution can be used for small infestations, but for larger areas like lawns, it’s just not feasible. The best overall solution is to hire a lawn service that has experience with the weeds that homeowners want to eradicate. Commercially available preparations are also available. The following are just some of the common weeds that individuals may find invading their outdoor spaces.

Broadleaf Plantain

It has a long tap root similar to that of dandelions, making it resistant to stress, herbicides, and eradication. The large leaves are deeply veined, rounded, and have wavy edges. Various commercially prepared herbicides are available that are designed to kill the root system.

Bull Thistle

Bull thistle is a biennial that begins with large, fleshy, coarsely-toothed leaves that appear spiny. If left unchecked, the second year they produce flower stalks with highly fertile, rosy to purple blossoms, ready to spread their seeds far and wide. Dig it out, making sure to get all the roots and cut off any seed heads that may form. Use a commercial herbicide to aid in controlling it.

Spurge

Emanating from a central tap root, the stems fan out in all directions to form a dense mat. It has milky sap, produces thousands of seeds, and can mature in a single week when conditions are right. The tap root makes it difficult to eradicate. Commercial herbicide preparations can be applied.

Quackgrass

Aggressive rhizomes are the hallmark of quackgrass. The bud sheathes appear hairy and resembles ryegrass. It’s a perennial, will quickly take over any area, and is extremely difficult to control. Commercially prepared quackgrass treatments are available and it’s a good idea to dig up any plants after they’ve been killed.

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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Using Color to Design Your Landscape

Professional landscapers and designers utilize a color wheel when creating projects for their clients and you can do the same. It’s important to note that professionals also consider other principles encompassing scale, texture, form, proportion, and line in their creations. They visualize how the plants will appear during their yearly transitional phases for a complete sense of unity.

Interplay of Color

No landscape is a solid shade of color. The foliage of each tree, bush, vine, and flower has its own hue of green. It’s important to consider how each shade of green will appear next to each other to create contrast and unity.

The Color Wheel

The wheel is divided into four different color categories. They are the primary colors of red, yellow and blue; secondary colors of green, purple and orange; tertiary colors that are a blend of the first two categories; and neutral colors of white, gray and silver. Some categories of colors only appear at certain times of the year, depending upon the planting.

Warm and Cool Colors

Colors can be categorized into warm vs. cool colors. They can be used to influence the mood of a landscape. Blue, green, and purple are cool colors that are calming and relaxing. Warm colors are red, yellow and orange that are exciting, refreshing, and rejuvenating in nature. All the colors can be used in specific ways. Warm and cool color combinations can make a small yard appear larger, while combinations of warm colors will have the opposite effect.

Contrast or Unity

A single color group can be used throughout an area for unity. Colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel can create a unique form of unity of complementary pairing. Harshly contrasting colors can be jarring, but planting a transitional color between the two can help bridge the gap and make it less so.

Neutrals

Whites, creams, and grays are the neutrals and can be used in various ways. They can create a softening effect for warm colors or be utilized exclusively as part of a monochromatic color scheme. Gardens of white and cream are often called moon gardens and designed for nighttime viewing as they appear ethereal by moonlight.

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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Popular Hardscape Materials

The term hardscape refers to the hard elements within a landscape that don’t change as time goes on, unlike trees, bushes, flowers, vines, and lawn grass. There are several types of hardscape materials from which to choose encompassing wood and faux wood; rocks, gravel, and stones; and concrete, bricks, and pavers.

Hardscapes are non-living items in the environment that includes statuary and water features, driveways and pathways, patios and decks, fireplaces and firepits, and walls, steps, and fences. The following are the most popular hardscape materials, in no particular order.

Wood

The use of wood in the landscape is perhaps one of the most popular options of all time. Available in a multitude of natural colors, it’s used for fencing, decks, and pergolas. Composite decking or “faux wood,” is equally popular since it provides the appearance of wood, but lasts longer.

Concrete

Whether it’s a birdbath or a driveway, most homes have at least one concrete item as part of the landscape. Concrete is popular for its durability, versatility, and longevity. It can be used to create walls, courtyards, patios and walkways. Concrete can be polished or stamped to create unique patterns and textures. It’s also popular for creating water features.

Stone

Loose stone comes in different sizes and colors that can be used in and around flower beds, as walkways, and around pool areas. It’s a fairly inexpensive option for sprucing up around the yard. An alternative is natural stone that can be cut into specific shapes for steps, patios, and walkways. Pavers also fall into this category and it’s easy to replace if one happens to sustain damage.

Asphalt

An increasingly popular material is asphalt for driveways and even walkways due to its durability and longevity. It’s the same material used to pave roads. It can last for 30 years, its dark color aids in camouflaging stains, and it’s typically much less expensive to install than concrete.

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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Creating a Raised Garden

Raised garden beds are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. They require less weeding, provide more growing space, and are an elegant solution for locations that have poor soil. A raised bed is warmer earlier in the year which extends the growing season, aids in preventing depredations by moles, gophers and other pests, and promotes water retention.

They can be created at any height for ease, comfort, and to accommodate individuals with disabilities. They can be constructed with a multitude of materials ranging from wood and metal stock tanks to blocks and concrete and can last for up to 20 years, depending on the selected materials. The beauty of a raised bed is that it can rest on the ground or on support legs for an elevated solution.

The best lumber for gardens constructed of wood is redwood, cedar, or black locust due to their resistance to rot and treated lumber is safe to use for raised beds. Cinder blocks and concrete are durable but can retain more heat than is desirable in the South Florida climate. Cinderblocks are far less expensive than concrete and individuals are getting creative with recycled items.

Raised beds can be constructed in any size dimensions or shapes desired. The beds don’t have to be deep to be effective. A raised bed that’s 14 inches high will accommodate most plants, while some have had success with beds built of untreated 2x4s for a height of six inches.

No matter what material or form that individuals choose, laying down plastic or other types of gardening material in the bottom before adding soil is critical for gardens resting on the ground. Failure to do so will result in weed growth coming from beneath the bed.

Raised gardens offer multiple benefits and enables gardeners to maximize their tillable area. Once the beds are installed, there will be far less work to keep them weed-free. Individuals can begin their annual planting much earlier whether it’s a vegetable oasis, kitchen garden spices, or simply a place to plant flowers for personal enjoyment.

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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Fertilizing Plants vs. Grass

Fertilizing isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Different types of plants each have their own nutrient requirements and should be fertilized at varying times, and in different quantities. Some fertilizers promote root growth, while others encourage flowering.

Additionally, standard recommendations for other parts of the U.S. are often inappropriate for South Florida’s unique climate. It’s one of the primary reasons that many homeowners prefer to hire a professional landscaper that has in-depth experience and knowledge of South Florida weather conditions and plant species.

It’s important to understand the composition of fertilizers. They will feature three numbers, such as 12-12-12, that indicates the primary nutrients and the quantity. The first number indicates the amount of nitrogen, the second is the amount of phosphate, and the third is the amount of potash/potassium. Fertilize is typically needed more during the warm, wet growing season and less in the cool, drier months.

Nitrogen promotes photosynthesis, rapid growth, lush foliage and fruit. Phosphate is required for respiration, energy, root growth, and strong, robust plants from seedling to maturity. Potash aids plants in absorbing moisture, utilizing a range of nutrients, boosting disease resistance and hardiness, and producing abundant blooms.

Bushes and Trees

In general, established bushes and trees do well with two or three applications of fertilizer each year. Typically it’s applied about February and October, with another during the summer if needed. Fertilizer for trees and shrubs should be applied at the drip line, not around the trunks or base.

Grass

Fertilizer should be applied to lawn grass in the spring, but only when it’s actively growing and creating new shoots. That typically happens about mid-April. Use a time-release formula before any fertilizer restrictions go into effect and applications should take place approximately every 6-8 weeks during the summer. It’s better to err on the side of caution when fertilizing the lawn and take into account the type of grass and its needs.

Flowers

Perennial flowers and bulbs can benefit from occasional fertilizing, but be careful when applying it near newly planted flowers. It can be a good idea to give them a little time after planting to acclimate and become established before fertilizing.

Native Plants

Native plants, grasses, and flowers have adapted to the prevailing conditions and generally require little fertilizer – if any. Fertilizing native species can actually do more harm than good.

 

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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Adjusting your Sprinkler System for Summer

A sprinkler system is convenient and saves money on watering costs. It’s essential in arid conditions, but in South Florida where it rains nearly every day in summer, an irrigation schedule will need to be adjusted to account for the levels of natural moisture.

The majority of rainfall comes to South Florida from June through September. Depending upon the exact location, rainfall totals can range from 39 to 74 inches. Individuals will also need to consider the type of lawn grass they have and it’s unique moisture needs.

Installing a state-of-the-art irrigation system is one solution. The modern, programmable systems have the ability to monitor the moisture in the ground and automatically adjust the frequency with which water is applied, along with the amount.

Many individuals simply turn off their irrigation system during the summer months, relying on nature to provide the needed watering. The problem with the approach is that even though South Florida sees rain almost every day, the actual amounts can vary considerably.

Lawns need about ½ to ¾ inches of water twice a week to keep it healthy. Individuals making their own adjustments to their irrigation systems will need to consider the quantity of water being delivered, the frequency, uniformity of coverage, type of soil, and the time of day water is administered to the lawn.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension recommends that individuals monitor their lawns for signs that it may need water before activating their sprinkler systems. Those include footprints that remain visible on the grass, lawns that appear bluish-gray, and blades of grass that have folded in half to conserve water. Then it’s time to provide ¾ of an inch of water.

Overwatering wastes money and water. An easy way to ascertain the amount of water being delivered in a specific time period is to place empty cans around the yard and measuring the amount of water after 30 minutes of irrigation. If cans have ¾ of an inch of water after 30 minutes, individuals know how long to run their irrigation system to deliver the appropriate amount of life-giving moisture lawns need. Adjust any sprinkler heads that are under-delivering or over-delivering compared to the other heads.

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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Heat Tolerant Perennials

Perennial plants offer the advantage of coming back every year without the need to plant anew each spring. In South Florida, gardeners have the very real concern of locating plants that can also withstand the high heat that summer brings. There are actually a number of heat tolerant flowering perennials that provide brightly colored blossoms and food for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

  • Monarda, also known as bee balm, attracts honey bees and butterflies, is deer and rabbit resistant, and blooms July-Aug. The foliage also emits a minty scent. Seek cultivars that are mildew-resistant.
  • Coneflower features a variety of colors, is deer-resistant, and grows 1-3 ft. tall. It provides three months of bloom from June-Aug. and can be used as a cut flower.
  • Coreopsis is a low-maintenance perennial that will even grow in soil that’s rocky or sandy in nature. It’s sometimes called tick seed due to the appearance of the seed capsules. They’re deer-resistant and butterflies flock to them.
  • Gaillardia, also known as blanket flower, is native to Florida and features a wealth of red and gold blooms. It can bloom year-round, and is also salt tolerant for locations near the ocean.
  • Pentas are native to Africa, producing clumps of flowers in a wide range of colors. They’re attractive to butterflies and available in low-growing and taller varieties.
  • Phlox is heat tolerant, mildew resistant, has showy blossoms, and makes an excellent cut flower for indoor use.

It should be noted that many flowers considered annuals in northern climates will easily self-seed in Florida and come back year after year. Morning glories are one such climber and they’re available in day and night blooming varieties. The low-growing portulaca, also known as moss rose, is another species that will readily reseed itself and generate many years of blossoms from the original sowing.

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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Advantages of Mulch in Flower Beds

Mulch isn’t just a material to be placed around trees to protect their trunk or to create garden paths. Mulch has a wealth of applications that are practical in nature that will make less work for gardeners, enrich the soil, and aid in plant growth and development.

Individuals can choose from multiple types of mulch ranging from shredded bark and wood chips to landscape fabrics and stones. Some are more effective in specific locations than others and gardeners will need to weigh the aesthetic appeal of each against their individual preferences and whether they want organic or inorganic mulch.

One of the most important functions of mulch is that it helps retain moisture, which means less time watering for those that are doing so by hand. It’s also beneficial for those with an irrigation system. Flower beds will require less watering and that means savings on water bills.

Mulch is an effective means of minimizing weeds and keeping them at bay. That means a lot less weeding and nutrients go to the plants for more lush growth. It’s inevitable that an occasional weed will find its way into the bed and when it does, and it can easily be plucked out without any harm to the plants.

Some types of mulch break down over time, thereby enriching the soil. That means a healthier environment for the plants and it’s particularly beneficial for areas where soil composition is poor and fertility is low.

Mulch enhances the esthetic appeal of flower beds and aids in protecting them from trimmers and lawnmowers. Some types of mulch also have the ability to inhibit and even repel invasions by fleas, ticks and gnats into the landscape.

There’s a wealth of choices when it comes to mulch and each comes with its own price point. Gardeners will want to examine selections carefully to determine the best type if they’re doing the work themselves. For extensive flower beds, it’s often more convenient to hire a landscaping service that can assist in choosing the best mulch to accommodate aesthetic preferences, soil needs, and budget.

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

Read more