Archives for Residential Landscaping

wildlife

Be Aware of Wildlife When Gardening

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

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

Spiders

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

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

Snakes

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

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

Fire Ants

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

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Need Landscaping Ideas? Take a Drive

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

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

Artificial Turf

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

Less Lawn

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

Perennials

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

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

Trees

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

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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disease

Diseases that will Ruin Your Landscape

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

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

Armillaria Root Rot

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

Bacteria

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

Black Spot/Leaf Spot

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

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

Lethal Bronzing Disease

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

Mildew

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

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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weed

Weed Solutions

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

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

Biologicals

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

Chemical

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

Mechanical

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

Environmental

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

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Pros and Cons of DIY Landscaping

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

Budget

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

Exercise

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

Age

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

Tools and Equipment

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

Knowledge

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

Time

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

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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lawn care

Caring for your Lawn in the Dry Season

Most people are surprised to learn that South Florida has a dry season. The entire state is typically characterized as a tropical environment 365 days a year. October through May marks the official dry season and in January, the state can receive as little as 1.5 inches of rainfall.

A lawn is more than just the green space that surrounds homes and businesses. It’s an eco-friendly way to reduce erosion and glare, buffer sound, cool the environment, and filter contaminates. A lush lawn provides curb appeal and increases home values. However, the road to a healthy lawn is dependent upon proper care throughout the year, especially during the dry season.

Fertilizing

Different types of grass have specific care requirements. The most common turf grass in South Florida is St. Augustine grass. The final fertilizer application should be timed for early fall in South Florida. The amount of fertilizer will depend on if the lawn is established or newly created, the type of soil, pH levels, and overall health.

Mowing

Many homeowners keep their lawns too short. The average lawn should be maintained at a height of about three inches. Lower grass heights open the door to insect pests such as nematodes and doesn’t let the grass root as securely.

Short lawns are less resistant to drought. Only 1/3 of the grass height should be removed at one time. To keep a lawn at three inches, mow when it’s about 4-4.5 inches tall. Be sure to keep lawn mower blades sharp so they cut cleanly rather than tearing the grass. Let grass clipping dry before removing them.

Irrigation

During the dry season, irrigation is called for when the grass doesn’t easily recover. It begins to have a blue-green appearance, or it starts to wilt. About ¾ of an inch is usually sufficient during the dry season when turf grass isn’t growing as vigorously and should be applied on an as-needed basis.

Weeds and Insects

Controlling weeds and insects is a year-round task. There are different types of weed killers that can be applied, but it’s essential that homeowners know the difference. There are weed killers for actively growing weeds and herbicides for pre-emerging weeds.

The same is true for insect control. Applying insecticides can actually make a lawn more susceptible to damage and disease. It’s always best to consult with a lawn care professional with the knowledge, training and experience to provide expert guidance.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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fertilizer

Fertilization Keeps Plants Healthy

Fertilizer is an essential ingredient for green lawns, healthy vegetables and burgeoning blooms. It’s particularly important if the soil is less than optimal. Fertilizer provides edible and decorative plantings with a steady supply of the nutrients needed for strong growth. The first order of business is understanding what the labeling on fertilizer means.

Fertilizer bags will have three numbers listed in bold, for instance 12-12-12. The first number is the amount of nitrogen the fertilizer contains, the second is phosphorous, and the third is potassium. The fertilizer will also contain smaller amounts of other nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are the three major ingredients with which gardeners should be concerned.

Nitrogen is used for strong leaf growth and healthy green color. Phosphorus provides the nutrients required for plants to sustain faster growth, fight disease, form strong roots, and produce fruits, flowers and seeds. Potassium helps in fighting disease, producing strong stems, and faster, sustained growth. The nutrients are released over time.

If an organic-based fertilizer is selected, the bag will show an N-P-K ratio and the numbers will be smaller. They’re as potent as traditional, synthetic fertilizers, but the numbers in organic fertilizer represents the nutrients that are immediately available to plants once the compound has been applied. It also contains components that are released over time.

Applying a fertilizer high in nitrogen stimulates leaf growth. If applied to flowering plants, it will encourage growth rather than flowers or fruits. However, a fertilizer high in nitrogen is a good idea for lettuce, spinach and other leafy, green vegetables in food gardens.

Phosphorus promotes root growth and encourages fruit and flower production. It’s valuable in vegetable gardens for edible root crops such as onions and carrots, along with cucumbers and tomatoes for good yields. It also provides new plantings with a boost for root formation. Potassium levels are necessary for producing vigorous, sturdy and hearty plants.

Individuals need to choose their fertilizer carefully to match the effects they want to achieve – growth, fruit or flowers. Applying the wrong fertilizer mix, or applying it at the incorrect time of the year, will damage plants or a lawn and it may require the services of a professional landscaper to correct.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Designing your Summer Landscape

Now is the time to begin planning your summer landscape that will turn heads – and it does require planning. It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish. Some want a place to entertain, while others are just seeking a place to relax from a hard day. Still others are contemplating changes to make their property more attractive to buyers.

Whether you’re going to install new plantings or create an entirely new area, begin with what you like about your current landscape, plan around it, and try to envision what it would look like with the proposed alterations. You may discover that you’re already half way to realizing your dreamscape. If you lack inspiration, ideas are as close as an Internet search.

There are so many things that you can do with a modern landscape and it pays to plan early since landscapers are typically booked months in advance. A landscape professional can also help you with ideas and show you options that you may not know even exist. Planning early also gives you additional time to research options and their cost.

One of the reasons for early planning is that landscapes are dynamic creations with a life of their own. Color themes change, plants die back and new blossoms take their place. Trees may suffer damage from storms and need to be removed. You’ll also need to consider the size of trees and bushes when they’re mature, and how long the landscape renovation project will take to complete.

Hard features in your landscape run the gamut from swimming pools, fountains and fish ponds to patios, decks and outdoor kitchens. You can even host movie nights outdoors with modern systems encompassing video, Internet and streaming services through wireless connections. Installing those types of additions will require more time and be more expensive.

It doesn’t matter whether you just want to make a few changes to accommodate specific needs or want an entire redesign, start thinking about the changes you want to make to the landscape before summer arrives. You may find that with the options and opportunities available, you may arrive at a completely different plan than what you first envisioned.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

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Residential Landscaping Companies Near Me

Basics of Maintaining your new Landscape

When the work is done, a newly installed landscape is a wonder to behold. Maintaining that beautiful environment isn’t as easy. It will take effort and work on your part, along with an understanding of the plants in your care. If you travel frequently or don’t have the time to devote to the task, your best solution is to hire a professional landscaping company.

Lawns

A manicured lawn requires regular mowing, but be sure not to remove more than one-third of the height of the grass. Cutting too frequently or too short stresses the grass and makes it more susceptible to drought, heat, sunburn, insects and weeds. Always make sure lawn mower blades are sharp so they cut cleanly.

Weeds

A weed is a nutrient thief, often deceptively disguised as a flowering plant. Weeds rob the soil of nutrients that desirable plants need to thrive and they find their way into your landscape through multiple means. Remove weed blossoms so more don’t sprout and eliminate the entire plant if it’s possible to do so without causing too much disturbance to lawn or flower beds.

Fertilizer

Different plants have their own unique fertilizer needs. Native plants will require less fertilizer as they’ve evolved to local soil and climate conditions. Non-native plants may need certain combinations of nutrients to keep them healthy. Established plants will have different needs than those that are newly planted.

Pruning and Deadheading

Trees and bushes are pruned to remove damaged branches and stimulate growth. Pruning during the dormant season is essential before new spring growth appears. Trees and shrubs that are actively growing require more water and over-pruning deprive them of their natural ability to shade themselves against the sun. For flowers, deadheading may be required to keep them looking attractive and prevent them from propagating themselves throughout the garden.

Water

Moisture is essential, even in South Florida’s humid climate, and all plants don’t have the same water requirements. Too much or too little moisture is equally damaging. If you’re watering by hand or with sprinklers attached to the garden hose, be sure to water late at night or before dawn to minimize evaporation.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

Read more

Starting a Backyard Compost

Composting is still a popular endeavor and has a variety of benefits. It enriches the soil and reduces the need to apply chemical fertilizers. It also has benefits for the overall environment. Composting reduces the amount of yard and food waste in landfills where they decompose and emit the greenhouse gas methane.

Starting a backyard compost “pile” doesn’t mean leaving all those food scraps and grass clippings in the backyard to become a smelly eyesore. Self-contained, premade containers are available on the market in varying sizes. A properly managed compost pile won’t attract rodents or insect pests. Successful composting requires three ingredients in the right amounts.

Those ingredients are characterized as greens, browns and water. Green materials are those that include items such as vegetable and fruit waste, coffee grounds and grass clippings. The browns are composed of dead leaves, twigs and branches. Moisture is also required for the proper breakdown of the components. Organic materials should be layered, but a composting receptacle that allows for easy turning and mixing of the materials is an easy and convenient alternative.

There are a great many materials that can be composted. They include coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, nutshells, and fruit and vegetable wastes. Also on the list of compostable items are hay, straw, leaves, sawdust, grass clippings and houseplants. Cardboard can also be added, along with pet hair and fireplace ashes.

There are some limitations that should never be added to a compost pile, such as scraps from meat or fish, charcoal ash, dairy products, or pet waste. Black walnut shells release substances that can be harmful to other plants, so omit them.

Compost piles should be located in a dry, shady spot and materials moistened as they’re added. Depending upon the mix of composting materials, individuals can have dark, rich compost ready to use in as little as two weeks, with the average being about two years. For those that lack outdoor space, small mini-units can be purchased for indoor composting that will produce ready-to-use organic material in 2-5 weeks.

RCH Landscaping is a full-service landscape company based in Boca Raton, Florida. We design, install and maintain Commercial and Residential landscapes all around Boca Raton, Delray Beach, and The Palm Beach areas. Our team of highly skilled landscape technicians has an undisputed track record of creating and maintaining beautiful commercial and residential landscapes all over South Florida.

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

Read more