fertilization and irrigation

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

Read more

Don’t Skimp on your Irrigation System

An irrigation system will keep your lawn and other plantings healthy throughout the year. It’s a smart investment that will save you a considerable amount of time, effort and money on your water bills. However, irrigation systems can be expensive and many people are tempted to do the work themselves or skimp on materials. It’s a decision that could come back to haunt you.

Water for All

Trees, shrubs, vines, and flowers all need water, but they need them in different amounts. Watering them all in the same way will result in some plants getting too much, while others are water-starved. Installing irrigation heads in the right number and calibrating the output is essential.

Different Methods

A properly installed irrigation system typically incorporates sprinkler heads for lawns, along with a drip system for flower beds and similar areas. Trusting in lawn sprinkler heads to water delicate flowers can beat smaller plants down with the force of the precipitation.

Output and Boundaries

Sprinkler heads should be adjusted to operate at different output levels for varying amounts of time, depending upon the area being watered. Without proper calibration, you can also have overspray in which the precipitation is dispersing water over your boundaries and into your driveway, sidewalk, and roadway.

Coverage Area

Each type of sprinkler head has a maximum distance over which it disperses water. Putting in fewer sprinkler heads than necessary will result in dry areas where the moisture doesn’t reach. You’ll be plagued with dry areas where plantings don’t receive sufficient water.

No Rain Shut Off

Florida receives a substantial amount of rain that feeds the moisture needs of plants. Every irrigation system should include a rain shutoff setting that senses the amount of moisture in the soil. It ensures the sprinkler system only activates when necessary for plant health and water savings for you.

Technology and Professionals

It’s well worth the money to hire irrigation professionals. They have knowledge of, and access to, the latest technological advances. They know how to calculate coverage area, adjust sprinkler heads for appropriate output, and install systems that ensure every planting receives moisture according to its own needs.

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

South Florida Winter Lawn Care

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

Fertilizing

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

Seeding

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

Watering

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

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

Colorants

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

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

Contact RCH Landscaping Today for a Free Estimate

561-779-9760

Read more

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

Read more
boca landscaping company

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

Read more
residential landscaping boca raton florida

Lawn Care Basics

Everyone wants a lush, green lawn. It provides a friendly place for playing and entertaining. Obtaining that elusive and highly desirable greenery requires forethought and some work on your part, but the results are well worth the effort.

Fertilizer

Fertilizer feeds a lawn, providing it with essential nutrients. Choose one that’s high in nitrogen and features a time release formula. It can be applied from spring through fall, but not during times of drought. It’s a good idea to water immediately following application.

Grass

All grass is not created equal. Some are heat tolerate, while others are not. St. Augustine grass has become the gold standard for South Florida lawns, but others such as Bahia, Bermuda, Buffalo, and Zoysia are also good choices. St. Augustine grass has the advantage of being able to flourish in the heat and humidity of Florida summers without requiring an exceptional amount of maintenance throughout the year.

Insects

Too little moisture or not enough can result in a pest infestation of epic proportions that can be time consuming and expensive to eradicate. Chinch bugs are a particular concern in South Florida. They can be controlled with a pesticide application.

Mowing

You may be keeping your lawn to short without knowing it. You’ll typically want to mow about three times per month during summer and twice a month during the winter months. A good rule of thumb is to only cut 1/3 of the total grass length on each mowing to keep lawns looking good and promote root growth.

Water

A properly designed and installed irrigation system is the best way to ensure lawns receive the correct amount of moisture – and at the right time. Water restrictions are in force during some times of the year and a programmable irrigation system enables lawns to flourish while enabling you to adhere to water restrictions.

Weeds

It’s easy for weeds to get a foothold and they steal the nutrients meant for your lawn. Herbicides can be applied to inhibit their growth. Select an herbicide that contains both a pre- and post-emergent formula. It will control weeds throughout the growth cycle and will mean less time spent on the task for you.

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

Professional Irrigation Installation can Save you Money

Irrigation systems have evolved significantly over the years and they’re no longer inconvenient arrangements that leave puddles or end up watering sidewalks and streets. Today’s irrigation systems are programmable, can be operated from a smartphone, and even have the ability to sense if it’s rained.

Irrigation is most effective when it’s performed in the late hours of the evening or early hours of the morning to prevent evaporation and ensure that lawns and plantings receive the full benefit of the moisture. Watering at other times is a waste of money. An irrigation system can be programmed to turn on and off at the appropriate times, ensuring the most efficient use of water and thereby saving money.

Watering by hand with a nozzle or using a sprinkler head is time-consuming, creates puddling and run-off, and doesn’t ensure every area receives the correct amount of moisture. Irrigation systems use sprinkler heads that are adjustable and directional. They’re capable of delivering varying amounts of water to different areas within the landscape to meet the needs of different plants. It eliminates run-off and puddling that wastes water and cash.

Old-fashioned irrigation systems delivered water on a pre-determined schedule, even if it was already raining. A state-of-the-art irrigation system is capable of sensing and monitoring the level of moisture in the ground. It only waters when the ground is dry enough to save on watering costs. The systems can also be programmed to deliver varying water amounts based on the time of year.

Perhaps one of the best water and money saving features available with the installation of an irrigation system is the ability to combine it with drip irrigation. It effectively and efficiently delivers moisture to the root systems of plants in flowerbeds or vegetable gardens. It utilizes far less water and results in minimal evaporation.

One of the biggest expenses associated with a well-maintained lawn is the cost of watering it. Installing an irrigation system eliminates puddling and run-off from overwatering. The systems ensure that each element of the landscape has the exact amount of water required, at just the right time. The result is a beautiful landscape with a significant reduction in water costs.

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

Best Times to Fertilize the Grass

Many homeowners have fertilized their grass, only to see it slowly wither, brown out, and die – or show no improvement at all. While the problem may be the type of fertilizer used or the amount that was applied, it can also be the result of improper timing.

Florida lawns are different than those in other parts of the U.S. and standard guidelines often don’t apply due to the state’s unique climate and weather. It’s important for homeowners to know that warm-season grasses will brown out when temperatures dip, it’s normal, and they often spring back.

The best time to apply fertilizer is in the spring when grass begins to grow and throw out new shoots – typically around mid-April. Fertilizer provides essential nutrients to maintain health and replenish elements that may have become depleted in long-established lawns. It supports healthy root growth and enables grass to recover from conditions ranging from pests to hurricanes.

Florida contains some areas that restrict the use of fertilizer during months when heavy rains are a concern. People living in those areas can still feed their lawn with a time-release fertilizer before the restrictions go into effect that will nourish the lawn throughout the season.

To be effective, fertilizer must have the time to release nutrients and for it to be absorbed into the soil where grass can utilize it. Just as it’s important to know when to fertilize, it’s equally essential that homeowners understand when not to apply it. Fertilizer shouldn’t be applied:

  • When a storm – especially a tropical storm – is expected within 24 hours
  • If more than two inches of rain is anticipated
  • When new turf grass has just been planted
  • After mid-September to mid-May

Fertilizer will typically need to be reapplied to the average lawn every 6-8 weeks throughout the summer, but be careful not to over-fertilize. Err on the side of caution. Fertilizing too early can promote weed growth, while fertilizing when the weather is extremely hot can weaken and damage grass. Getting it “just right” will ensure a lush, green lawn throughout the year. Whenever possible, utilize the experience of a lawn care professional.

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