Archives for Residential Landscaping

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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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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Can you Cut your Grass too Short?

If you’re experiencing brown outs and bare spots in your lawn, you may be cutting the grass too short. Like any plant, grass requires a certain amount of available green growth to remain healthy. Shorter isn’t always best when it comes to lawns. You should only be removing about 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow, which makes the optimal grass height for mowing about 3 2/3 inches.

When you cut your grass too often and leave it too short, you’re setting the stage for a myriad of problems to develop and they only grow worse over time. If the damage is severe and has been going on for a while, you may have to reseed the lawn.

Many people mistakenly believe that fertilizing the lawn will alleviate the problem. Instead, it can burn the lawn. If the damage isn’t too severe, fertilizing will make it grow lusher and lead to a vicious cycle of additional growth and mowing, while failing to address the original problem.

Lawns that are too short are ripe for the invasion of weeds and damage from heat. Grass that’s too short doesn’t have the necessary energy reserves from the roots for growth. The blades of grass will weaken and can even lead to its demise with no hope of coming back.

It’s also important to keep mower blades sharp to create a clean cut and prevent grass blades from being torn and shredded. The frayed ends of grass will turn brown and leaves the lawn vulnerable to a variety of diseases that can be expensive to address. Grass that’s growing in shaded areas can benefit from being left at a slightly longer height when mowing.

Cutting your grass too short will deplete root resources. If the brown spots in your lawn are the result of cutting too short, they can grow back if they’re only a few inches across but the process will be slow.

The best solution is to increase the blade height of your mower, even if it means mowing more frequently. Alternately, you can hire a professional lawn care service that has a deep understanding of lawn grass and can establish an appropriate lawn mowing schedule.

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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lawn pest control

Common Yard Pests that can Destroy your Landscape

A great range of insect pests live and thrive in South Florida’s tropics-like climate and an infestation can decimate the landscape. Some will attack lawns, while others will gravitate directly to the foliage or flowers of specific plants. A well-cared for landscape can be irresistible to insect pests.

Aphids

Often referred to as plant lice, they can be red, green, black, brown or purple. They multiple readily and typically feed on leaves and stems. They’re indiscriminate eaters, sucking the sap from any type of plant growth. Aphids secrete a sugary liquid called honeydew that provides an ideal environment for the growth of a fungus called sooty mold.

Armyworms

They’re the larval form of a moth, primarily attacking blades of grass, but they’ll also settle for vegetables. The striped worms are voracious and can defoliate a lawn within a matter of days.

Coconut Mealybugs

Like aphids, they suck the juices from plants and leave excrement upon which sooty mold grows.

Japanese Beetles

One of the most voracious and destructive insects to ever invade the U.S., Japanese beetles are not picky eaters and will destroy landscapes in short order. The grubs thrive in moist soil and are very active in warm temperatures that prevail in South Florida.

Mole Crickets

Some species eat plant materials, while others will feed on a combination of greenery and other insects. The primary cause of damage caused by mole crickets is through their burrowing habits that disturb roots.

Spider Mites

Very small and sometimes difficult to see, species come in different colors. They typically leave fine strands of silk-like webbing on plants they infest. They feed on foliage and suck sap from plants.

Slugs and Snails

Both types of pests prefer young, tender growth for their meals, but are equally able to derive sustenance from decomposing plant matter. They’re indiscriminate feeders.

White Grubs

Commonly known as white grubs – a generic term – these pests are the larvae of scarab beetle species. They feed on the roots of a wide range of lawn grasses and it can be difficult to diagnose which species of larvae is in residence without professional expertise.

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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Unique Landscapes: Bamboo

The bamboo plant is one of the most often overlooked options for the landscape. Its appearance enables individuals to create unique environments. Bamboo has advantages and drawbacks. For individuals that are attempting a DIY project, it’s critical to understand the growth habits of the two types of bamboo and what the planting will be designed to accomplish.

Bamboo is a fast grower and can gain 2-3 feet in height each day, attaining its full height in four years. Some varieties throw out underground runners and spend more of their energy growing outward rather than upward. Running bamboo seldom stays where it’s planted and can be extremely invasive.  Clumping bamboos typically only grow a few inches in width each year.

Individuals need to be aware that even clumping bamboo is capable of damaging foundations, driveways, walkways, fountains, pools, and similar items over time. There are also plants that resemble bamboo in appearance and gardeners should make sure that they actually have bamboo and not an invasive plant that they’ll regret planting.

The growth habit of clumping bamboo makes it appropriate for use as privacy screens and sound barriers. Bamboo is often used against chain link to hide the fence from view. Bamboo provides a pleasingly contrasting texture and color to the landscape, along with an exotic feel.

The plant is a member of the grass family and the canes will get larger in diameter each year. With clumping bamboo, it’s easy to create a graceful oasis in any corner of the yard. Bamboo isn’t always a uniform green hue, either. There are species featuring stem banding in shades of blue, black, purple, brown, pink and yellow.

It’s a good idea to consult with a landscaping professional who is knowledgeable about the various types of bamboo and the growth habits of each. While most bamboo prefers a sunny location, there are also species that grow best in shaded areas. No matter what color is preferred, bamboo is sure to add interest within any 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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