fertilization and irrigation

Benefits of Acidic Soil

People can spend thousands of dollars trying to “sweeten” their acidic soil, Acidic soil is typically referred to as sour and there are actually plants that prefer an acidic soil. Some of them include azaleas, hydrangeas, nasturtiums and daffodils. Acidic soil loving plants also include trees such as evergreens, mountain ash, dogwood, magnolias beech and oak. Fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries also prefer acidic soil.

Soils within a neutral or alkaline range are typically what people strive for in their planting environment. Soil can become acidic from many causes, the most common of which are rainwater and human-based activities. Rain can leach minerals from the soil and environments that receive a significant amount of rain are more likely to have acidic soil.

Carbon dioxide is produced by decaying organic matter. It reacts with water in the soil to form carbonic acid – the same acid that’s present in acid rain. Fertilizers also contribute to creating acid soils and the more fertilizer that’s used, the more acidic the soil will become.

Nutrients

There are a number of nutrients that are more soluble in acidic soils and contribute to the growth of trees. Those grown in acidic soils can more readily absorb iron, aluminum and manganese. Acidic soils have a higher concentration of hydrogen and nutrients such as iron, copper, boron and zinc.

Microbes

Some types of microbes and bacteria reproduce and thrive in acidic soils, which also play a role in a plant’s ability to use nutrients in the soil. However, acidic soil also limits the amount of decomposition that takes place of organic matter.

Solutions

People with acidic soil have a couple of solutions available to them, depending on how much money they want to invest and the type of plants they want to grow. Individuals can spend thousands of dollars to sweeten the soil through the application of lime. The other solution is to grow plants that prefer acidic soils.

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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Fertilizing Plants Can Help Restore Life

Before gardeners decide to uproot that dead-looking plant in their flower bed, try fertilizing it first. Most people assume that a poorly performing plant is suffering from lack of water, and while it may be, it’s important to understand that the plant’s health will fail if it’s not receiving the nutrients it needs.

Fertilizing Plants

Before taking any action, diagnosing the problem is critical. The plant may be getting too much water or not enough. It may need more or less sun. Be on the lookout for insect pests that can sap a plants strength and vitality.

Assuming that the roots are still alive, it’s often possible to rejuvenate a seemingly dead plant by fertilizing it. Don’t overfertilize and burn the roots. Check the root ball for signs of healthy, white roots. Plants use the nutrients in the soil as fuel for growth and flowering. Over time, those nutrients are depleted. Fertilization replaces nutrients and can give a favorite plant a new lease on life.

One of the problems stems from the South Florida soil. It’s primarily composed of rock known as Miami limestone, sand, muck, and a type of soil known as marl. Limestone has a high pH value and doesn’t retain water or nutrients well. That makes it difficult to grow plants unless the dirt has been amended or topsoil is added.

Signs to look for in a plant that lacks nutrients are stems that are weak and dying. It may also have discolored or deformed leaves, and exhibit slow or stunted growth. Before applying fertilizer, trim back any dead leaves or stems. If the stems look completely dead, trim the stem back, leaving a small amount of the stem above the soil line.

After fertilizing the problematic plant, wait at least a month. If it shows no sign of new growth, it’s probably beyond any hope of recovering. However, that dead plant can still be used to support and give life to new plants through composting.

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

Signs Your Plants Need Fertilizer

Plants make homes more welcoming, desirable, and add value to properties. From trees to flowers, plantings need to have their needs met to remain healthy and vibrant. They typically obtain nutrients through the soil, but there are times when that source is insufficient for their needs and fertilizer will be required.

Even if you began with ideal soil, over time the plants will absorb those nutrients and they will need to be replaced with an application of fertilizer. Each plant has specific nutrient needs and no fertilizer is a one-size-fits-all solution.

There are signs that plants require certain nutrients, but fertilizing plants should be done carefully. Over fertilization is one of the most common mistakes that gardeners make. Plants with a deficiency will demonstrate the following symptoms.

Nitrogen

Plants in need of nitrogen will have new growth that’s light green in color and it will typically be spindly and stunted. Leaves will also begin to drop and new growth will be weak. A lack of nitrogen also affects blossoms and fruit. Both may be delayed and the fruits and flowers produced will typically be smaller than usual.

Phosphorus

A lack of phosphorus will cause plant leaves and stems to take on a dull green appearance. Older leaves will show the effects first and may turn a purplish hue. Tips of leaves will begin to brown and die. The plant’s root system will be weakened, resulting in smaller plants and few or no flowers.

Potassium

When a lack of potassium is the culprit, you may see small spots on the undersides of leaves. Those spots will get larger over time and expand into significant areas of discoloration. Leaf tips will become yellowish colored, curl, and plants will often have a scorched look. The development of roots, seeds and fruits will be reduced.

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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Yard transformation

Sprinklers in the Cooler Months

Lawns need moisture 12 months of the year, but that requirement is significantly less during cooler winter months since the rate of evaporation is far less. Many popular lawn grasses enter a dormant phase in the winter to wait for warmer temperatures in the spring. However, using a sprinkler system correctly in the winter will help ensure the lawn has a healthy return in the spring.

In the South Florida climate, an automated irrigation system is almost a necessity to avoid overwatering or underwatering. The systems can be adjusted to accommodate highly sensitive seasonal needs. Homeowners that don’t know how to set their irrigation system should definitely engage the services of a landscaping professional.

Water Requirements

Lawns will typically require 1 inch of water during the winter. Beginning in Sept., experts from the University of Florida recommend that lawns be watered twice a week for 48 minutes and reduce that time to 43 minutes in Oct.; 32 minutes in Nov.; 16 minutes in Dec.; 12 minutes in Jan.; and 17 minutes in March.

Overwatering

When a lawn is overwatered, homeowners are essentially drowning the roots of their grass. The roots are unable to breathe and the part of the root system that survives is shallow, which opens the door to predation by insects and diseases. Overwatering also supports the proliferation of weeds, which adds an additional level of stress to shallow root systems.

Lawns that are overwatered aren’t able to absorb the nutrients they need through the roots. The result is grass that’s unhealthy and lacks the desirable rich, green color. It will also lead to extra work during the upcoming spring and summer months to rectify the damage done.

Underwatering

Even though the grass isn’t actively growing during the winter months, it still requires a certain amount of maintenance moisture. A lawn that’s underwatered will have grass blades that are brittle, fragile, easily damaged, and the lawn may not return in the spring.

 

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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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

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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

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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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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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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

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