Archives for Residential Landscaping

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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Tips for an Allergy-Friendly Yard

The wide array of beautiful blossoms that many people enjoy is often denied those with allergies. It’s just not bedding plants that increase the symptoms of allergies. Even trees that may have no obvious discernable blooms emit pollen and can trigger an allergic reaction. No one has to be content with a plant-free yard or settle for adorning their yard with statuary.

It’s important to understand that even though individuals may take every precaution to protect themselves, pollen is borne on the wind and the plants that a neighbor has six houses down can still affect them. It’s a good idea to consult with a landscape professional to discover plantings that produce the least amount of pollen.

If at all possible, have an allergy test performed. It will provide answers about the substances to which someone is most susceptible. Using information obtained by the test, individuals will know what not to plant in their yard. To minimize allergies, try the following tips.

  • Begin an allergy medication regimen about two weeks before pollen season starts.
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning to help filter out pollen.
  • Wear a NIOSH approved mask, but if one isn’t available, any mouth/nose covering is better than none. Glasses, gloves and long sleeves can minimize contact with pollen.
  • Immediately change clothes, wash what was worn outside when coming in from outdoors, and shower and wash hair.
  • Have a friend mow if grass produces an allergic response or use a lawn service.
  • Garden on windless days, early in the morning, or after a rain.

There are numerous flowers, bushes, trees, vines, and grasses that are known to produce less pollen than others or that typically don’t stimulate an allergic response as easily. Included in that list are snapdragons, zinnias, impatiens, clematis and begonias. Pears, plums, and Chinese palms are good tree choices for those with allergies.

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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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.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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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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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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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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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

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Why Tree Trimming is Important Before Hurricane Season

Floridians are well-aware of the dangers that hurricane season brings from June through November of each year. Having trees trimmed in anticipation of the hurricane season will aid in preventing damage from limbs that can become damaging and even deadly projectiles during tropical storms.

A strong, healthy, and well-rooted tree may manage to withstand the sustained winds of a hurricane without toppling, but there may still be weakened or diseased branches and limbs. They’re often not immediately obvious to the untrained eye.

During the violent storms, limbs can be ripped from trees and blown long distances through the air. Those limbs can cause damage to an individual’s home, business, or that of a neighbor. Once on the ground, limbs also have the potential to block roads and prevent police or medical professionals from responding in the emergency.

While there’s no way to hurricane-proof a landscape against every type of damage the storms can leverage, having a professional examine trees and remove any weak, sick, or damaged limbs is a critical step to minimize property damage. Some types of trees are better at withstanding the wind forces that accompany a hurricane and there are some that are at more risk than others.

Trees with a dense canopy, those that are dead or dying, have suffered insect damage, have double trunks, young trees, and new plantings are at increased risk and should be examined by a professional tree trimmer. If individuals are in any doubt about their trees, they can also seek the services of an arborist.

Yearly maintenance and trimming is essential for the health of any tree and will ensure they’re better able to withstand the ravages of a hurricane. Trees that have been well cared for and trimmed appropriately are more resilient to insect pests and breakage during a hurricane.

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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Landscaping a Small Yard

Landscaping a small yard can present an extreme challenge, especially if homeowners are looking for ways to make it appear larger. Many homeowners deprive themselves of plantings and other features in the mistaken belief that keeping the environment open makes it appear larger. Also, remember that fences narrow the perception of the space.

The single most important step is pre-planning. Homeowners need to define the predominate use of the space – a private retreat or an area for entertaining. Some may choose to create an edible garden. No matter what the primary usage, it’s important to plan the layout for maximum effect.

A good start is by removing unnecessary objects such as trash cans that take up space and contribute to a cluttered and undesirable appearance. The goal is to create a destination space in which people want to spend time. That can involve adding a small fire pit, compact yet comfortable seating, or a grill. A small patio set can be more effective in small settings than oversized furnishings.

When selecting trees for a small yard, it’s essential to choose trees that grow up rather than out. Some trees have a more compact and columnar growth habit, such as evergreens and dwarf varieties. They provide important shade and ambiance without the spread of oaks and maples, for example. Consider the strategic use of shrubs for a lush appearance that uses less space than a tree.

Perhaps one of the best ways to make small yards appear larger is through vertical plantings. That can include the use of hanging baskets or vines. Flower pots and pouches can be mounted to walls and fences. With a little creativity and a strong infrastructure, 2-3 pots can even be strung together on chains. Individuals can also create a dedicated “wall” of wire netting to increase the available space in their backyard.

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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