Reef Tropical Pool & Landscape

Swimming Pool Automation Offers Remote Control, Monitoring and Cost Savings

May 1, 2017 8:04:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Maintenance, Pool & Spa Construction

You’re stepping off the plane, thinking about wading in your warm South Florida pool—so you pull out your mobile device, click on an app and adjust the pool temperature. The water will be ready by the time you arrive home.

You’re renting your Florida Keys home to visitors during the months you are away. Rather than worry about guests adjusting pool settings (and possibly emptying a gas tank or running up electric costs), you remotely adjust and lock the settings. Wherever you are, you can check in to see if the pool temperature, lights and filtration systems are where you want them to be.

You’re entertaining in your outdoor living space, so you use your tablet to turn on an LED light show that changes the pool color. You also can slow down or speed up the flow of water streaming from the pool’s waterfall.

Swimming pool automation gives you the control and flexibility to manage pool settings with the click of an app on your phone, tablet or computer. Plus, a pool maintenance provider can gain access to the master controls to monitor efficiency, sanitation and filtration.

Pool owners gain peace of mind knowing that they can manage pool settings when they’re not at home—and the convenience of using a mobile device to change lighting, water temperature and other features.

Here is how today’s advanced swimming pool automation equipment works and why about 98% of our pool and spa owners are adopting this technology.

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How Our Tiling Process Has Changed The Way Pools Are Built In South Florida

Apr 26, 2017 4:10:00 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Construction

Do you notice a white film covering your pool tile that requires constant care but never goes away? Are pool tiles popping? Do you notice darker tiles that indicate areas where groundwater is leaching into pool?

Unfortunately, poor pool tile installation reveals itself months and even years after a job is complete. By then, you have invested thousands of dollars in materials and labor—and your pool is in use.

There are a number of pool contractors in South Florida that bring in tiling subcontractors who do a fine job of tiling bathrooms, kitchens, floors and backsplashes. But the process and materials required to correctly apply tile in a submerged application like a pool are completely different. The pool tiling process is sophisticated, requires ongoing training and an understanding of pool tile and manufacturers’ tiling requirements. (Don’t expect a manufacturer to uphold a warranty if tile was not installed according to their specifications!)

Inferior pool tile is such a problem for many property owners, so Reef Tropical has focused resources on developing a pool tiling process that is designed to maintain the beauty and integrity of tile. Our process may take longer and cost a bit more than competing pool contractors, but the difference is, you won’t be calling us six months or several years later with tile problems that require expensive renovations.

We can’t emphasize “buyer beware” enough. If the price of tiling your pool sounds too good to be true, it is. We educate general contractors and architects about the proper pool tiling process so they can include the time, cost and materials in the overall scope of work. (For example, you cannot rush the curing process, unless you want tile problems down the road.)

What is the pool tiling process at Reef Tropical, and what does this mean for your pool project? Let us fill you in…

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What Is Heavy Pruning and Why Is It Important In South Florida?

Apr 17, 2017 7:05:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance

The fragrant, beautiful flowering Bougainvillea bush makes a statement in many South Florida landscapes. Vibrant green hedges are a defining feature, and grasses lend a textured, natural feel to properties. The growing never stops in South Florida, so routine landscape maintenance often includes trimming plants to maintain their shape and general size.

But when plants are only lightly pruned throughout the year, you’re essentially removing new growth. By trimming every few weeks, plants’ leaves and flowers never reach their full potential. Instead, you get a “nice looking” flowering plant or “just fine” shrub. We have higher standards for the landscapes we maintain, and annual heavy pruning is important for achieving lush, healthy plants.

We know it seems counterintuitive to prune back up to a foot of growth, even removing most foliage. But the reality is, heavy pruning is much better for plant health and appearance than continuously trimming back.

Here’s why heavy pruning is beneficial for your South Florida landscape if you want your plants to peak perform.

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How Realtors Can Offer More Value by Partnering with Reef Tropical

Apr 7, 2017 5:03:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Hiring a Pro

The first thing a buyer sees when viewing homes for sale is the landscape. Often the first question a buyer has about that landscape is whether or not there is a pool. In South Florida, the swimming pool is a center for family life, entertaining and recreation. When a buyer asks, “Can we add a pool to the property?” you want to provide an accurate answer and connect with an expert in the field that can guide them through the process.

Because most buyers want to put their own mark on their properties, enhancing the landscape so they can enjoy that outdoor living space is a priority. Do you have a landscaping and pool provider partner you can rely on as a go-to and supportive resource for your buyers?

Realtors benefit when they can offer landscaping and pool services as an extension of their professional services. You can make sure buyers’ questions are answered before the sale, and include any important concessions in the deal that will allow their backyard dreams to come true.

After all, knowing the landscape’s needs, costs and possibilities could be the different between making a sale or having the prospect walk away.

For sellers, an impressive, pristine landscape could position their home to sell faster and for a higher dollar amount. (Realtors can secure discounted rates with Reef Tropical to help with already tight budgets because we value our partnerships with realtors.)

As a long-standing affiliate partner of The Florida Keys Board of Realtors, our team of 85-plus trained experts can assist realtors (with little or no out-of-pocket expense) so you can focus on achieving buyers’ and sellers’ goals.

Here’s how partnering with Reef Tropical as your landscape and pool “team” can benefit your clients who are buying and selling homes and position you as a realtor of choice.

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How To Transplant A Palm Tree In South Florida

Mar 7, 2017 9:43:20 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Tree and Shrub Care

Some palm trees are like works of art in a South Florida landscape. Slow-growing specimens can take up to 70 years to reach a substantial size. Palms like the Bailey palm (Copernicia baileyana) are relatively rare and can cost thousands of dollars to acquire and install. (To give you an idea, one Bailey palm installation we completed cost $25,000.)

On the other hand, common varieties like the Canary Palm are widely available in South Florida. A faster-growing typical palm wouldn’t necessarily be considered a landscape “delicacy” unless the property owner had a particular attachment to the plant.

These are important points to keep in mind when discussing whether to transplant a palm tree. Before you make a decision, consider: the value of the existing palm; the cost of transplantation vs. acquiring a new plant; the type of soil it’s growing in; and overall condition of the tree.

Some palm trees warrant transplantation—like that special Bailey palm—because there is no way to replace growing time and interesting character. Other palms are common and the cost of transplantation and the risk of it acclimating to the new site do not warrant moving the tree.

Any palm tree can be transplanted given enough time and resources. Here is how the palm tree transplantation process works and factors to consider before making the decision.

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What’s the Best Way to Heat My South Florida Pool in Winter?

Feb 27, 2017 6:06:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Maintenance, Pool & Spa Repair and Renovation

Even in South Florida where we swim outdoors year-round, pools need to be heated during winter so you can fully enjoy the water. Night-swimming, splashing with children, entertaining guests, appealing to renters and those sensitive to water temperature—these are all reasons to maintain an optimum water temperature of 84 degrees.

A pool heater will simply make your pool more comfortable, and you’ll want to run it approximately November through March. (We always recommend connecting the pool heater to mobile devices so you can adjust the temperature easily.)

So, what is the best way to heat your South Florida pool? There are gas and electric heaters that do the job, and each has benefits. Let’s talk more about what type of heater will work best for your South Florida swimming pool.

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Your Guide to Hiring a Commercial Pool Service in Miami and South Florida

Feb 10, 2017 7:24:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Pool & Spa Maintenance

You’re a property manager charged with overseeing a commercial pool at your South Florida resort, condominium or club. You have staff caring for the grounds, but the pool is a different story. It requires more attention and knowledge of chemicals and pool mechanicals. There are codes and regulations that must be met in order for the pool to be open to the public. (“Pool closed” is not an option at your resort—people expect to enjoy the water.)

You’re hiring a commercial pool service, but how do you select the best professional for the job?

Here are four questions to ask before hiring a commercial pool service to help you choose a knowledgeable, experienced partner to maintain the safety, health and beauty of your commercial swimming pool.

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Gas Powered vs. Electric Leaf Blowers: Which Method Is Best?

Jan 31, 2017 6:05:00 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance

Noise pollution is a real, viable concern in many South Florida condominium communities, country clubs and neighborhoods. The sound of gas-powered landscape equipment can interfere with guest experience at a resort, or diminish quality of life at home.

One thing many property owners in Monroe County share is a love for their surroundings. It’s the reason they choose to spend time in South Florida at a second home, on vacation or as a full-time resident. As a property manager, that means finding ways to preserve the natural setting and seeking out sustainable options for landscape maintenance.

But let’s fact it: Leaves need to be blown out of landscape beds, and grass clippings should be whisked away from edging and off walkways and driveways to maintain an attractive property. The equipment used for leaf and debris cleanup can be loud if it’s gas-powered. And, cleanup happens during daytime hours when people are out enjoying their properties.

The good news is, there are alternatives to gas-powered blowers—and we’re talking about quiet, battery-powered leaf blowers that can significantly cut down on noise pollution. As a property owner or facilities manager, you should have a choice: gas powered or electric leaf blower?

Here are some facts about gas and electric powered hand-held equipment that landscapers use, along with pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your Florida property.

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Navigating Landscape Restrictions in the Florida Keys Native Hammock

Jan 13, 2017 6:03:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Landscaping, Tree and Shrub Care, Landscape Design

The owner of a home in the Florida Keys called us because he wanted to install a driveway. The request seems simple enough—but because the project would mean removing trees that are part of a hardwood hammock, there was much more involved.

The fact is, there is a lot of protected land in the Florida Keys, including native hammock and other conservation easements. Tropical hardwood hammocks are canopy forests with a diverse range of native species. Hammocks are located throughout southern Florida, and in concentrated areas of Monroe County. Native hammocks are carefully protected land because of their importance in sustaining wildlife.

The Keys hammock area is attractive to some homeowners because of its natural beauty. However, the Florida Keys hammock has been threatened by development, so there are regulations on how one can alter the land. It’s important to know before you buy a property on the Florida Keys that the hammock is protected land.

Going back to the driveway example, the property owner did eventually get approval to remove some vegetation to build. But first, a biologist had to conduct a vegetative survey at the owner’s expense. Then, rat, snake and snail surveys were performed to determine how removing some of the hardwood hammock from the property would impact this wildlife. The whole process took about nine months, and in the end the homeowner had to pay about a $10,000 mitigation fee for removing the trees—and that’s before the driveway project could begin.

If you purchase a home or build in the Florida Keys hammock, here’s what you need to know about landscape restrictions and how owning land in the hammock or on a conservation easement could impact your ability to change the landscape. 

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Tree And Shrub Care In South Florida: Fertilization And Pest Control 101

Jan 5, 2017 2:15:31 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Tree and Shrub Care

The attractive, vibrant plants we grow in South Florida thrive in the tropical climate here. But the reality is, many of the ornamental trees and shrubs in our landscapes are commercially grown and not native plants. This means they require  fertilization and pest control to stay healthy and beautiful.

You might be tempted to cut back on lawn care services because fertilization and pest control add cost to overall landscape maintenance. But it’s easy to spot properties that neglect tree and shrub care. How do you know? Foliar damage. Browning out. Dead or dying branches. All of this can develop quickly.

It doesn’t take long for pests to find and feed on compromised plants. And disease naturally sets in when plants do not have the nutrients to fight back.

If you think about it, fertilizing trees and shrubs is a lot like making sure you eat your vegetables and get proper nutrients. When we are healthy, we are less likely to get sick. When our plants are strong, they too stand up to pests and disease.

What’s more, fertilizing trees and shrubs is a matter of protecting your investment in the landscape. What do you think costs more: a monthly tree and shrub care program, or replacing plants? (We promise, you’ll thank us for the fertilizer visits when you find out the price tag on grown trees and shrubs.)

So, what kind of fertilization program do you need for your South Florida trees and shrubs? What’s actually involved in caring for your trees and shrubs so they can stay healthy and you maximize the investment in your property?

Here is what you need to know about fertilization and pest control in the Florida Keys.

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