Reef Tropical Pool & Landscape

The 10 Best Smelling Plants in South Florida

Apr 16, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Mark Brown posted in Tree and Shrub Care, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Design

Plants can offer more than good looks and curb appeal—and flowers are more than eye candy for your South Florida property when you choose aromatic plants that smell great. You can literally enhance the sensory experience of your outdoor living space by selecting plants with fragrant blooms, leaves or bark. There is the subtle yet true cinnamon scent from the peeling bark of the aptly named Cinnamon Bark tree—and the floral perfume aroma from gardenia. Great smelling plants and trees add another layer of interest to your landscape that you can’t see, but you can experience.

So, what are some of the best smelling plants in South Florida to enhance your landscape? Here are 10 you can include in your landscape.

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The 5 Best Shade Trees For South Florida

Dec 21, 2017 4:50:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Tree and Shrub Care, Landscape Maintenance

Shade trees provide reprieve from the South Florida sun—they cool down your landscape and make outdoor spaces more enjoyable, even during the hottest times of day. Not to mention, shade trees are beautiful specimens! They introduce character, texture and color to the landscape year-round.

We’re fortunate in South Florida to have a variety of shade trees that thrive in our acidic soils. You’ll find a range of flowering trees with showy, vibrant color—and plenty of non-flowering shade trees that offer other fine qualities: textured bark, eye-catching foliage and interesting branches.

Since we already shared the top 10 flowering trees, let’s get to know the best shade trees for South Florida. It’s time to think beyond the classic palm tree and consider some of these picks, several of which are natives.

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Now Is The Time To Add Landscape Enhancements To Your South Florida Property

Dec 8, 2017 11:18:27 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscaping, Landscape Maintenance

Now is the time when snowbirds are planning their escape—they’re preparing for warmer days, balmy evenings by the pool, and plenty of time outdoors in the Florida sun. South Florida property owners who winter here want to make the most of their experience during the season.

Landscape enhancements that are performed now roll out the welcome mat. That includes putting down fresh mulch, replacing plants that have weathered damage, cleaning up the landscape (leaves, debris), and popping fresh flowers into beds. Not to mention, South Florida got hit hard in early fall with tropical storms, so some properties might require more attention than usual to prepare the landscape for time in South Florida this winter.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some practical landscape enhancements for your South Florida property that will get your grounds in shape so you can relax and enjoy your outdoor paradise. (We recommend doing these landscape enhancements now so you can enjoy them while you’re here!)

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After The Storm: Disaster Clean-Up After Hurricane Irma Destroys the Landscape & Pool

Sep 15, 2017 3:07:08 PM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Pool & Spa Maintenance

Mother nature gave us a stern reminder of who’s really in charge when the catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane Irma hit land, devastating South Florida properties.

Many who have lived or visited The Keys for decades say this was the worst storm they experienced in their lifetime. Ninety percent of homes suffered some type of damage, according to a report issued by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA). Irma destroyed 25% of houses in the Florida Keys, with 65% of homes weathering significant damage.

Now that the winds have died down and flood waters are settling, we face an overwhelming hurricane cleanup task that demands assistance from qualified, experienced professionals who can be on call around the clock.

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How To Protect Your Pool and Landscape During Hurricane Season

Aug 29, 2017 7:03:00 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Maintenance, Tree and Shrub Care, Pool & Spa Maintenance

The Florida Keys are a sought-after destination for tourists and property owners who own vacation homes in South Florida and appreciate the area’s stunningly beautiful environment. The beaches, the oceanfront homes, the luxury living and tropical climate make The Keys a true paradise. But nature isn’t perfect—hurricanes are a reality here, and you want to protect your pool and landscape from damage.

With hurricane-force winds, coconuts from your amazing palm tree become missiles and flying patio furniture can break through windows. Pools without proper overflows installed can flood.

The good news: You can prevent further property damage and protect your landscape and your pool during hurricane season by taking some precautions.

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The Best Flowering Trees for South Florida

Jun 13, 2017 10:21:20 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscape Design, Landscape Maintenance, Landscaping, Tree and Shrub Care

Vibrant blooms are a focal point in the landscape, and there are a range of flowering trees that thrive in South Florida and introduce color, texture and shape to your property.

Which flowering tree is best for your property? That depends. Are you looking for a specific color of flower to complement existing plants or to establish a theme? Do you need a flowering tree that is salt-tolerant because your property weathers ocean breezes? Do you prefer a tree that is compact to preserve views from your site—or, do you want to establish a natural screen with a flowering tree that offers coverage?

These are all questions to think about as you consider which flowering trees suit your needs and taste. Here is a list of our favorite 7 flowering trees for South Florida.

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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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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 Design, Landscaping, Landscape Maintenance, Tree and Shrub Care

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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The 7 Best Landscapers In South Florida: A Candid Look

Dec 16, 2016 11:43:41 AM / by Claude Kershner IV posted in Landscaping, Landscape Maintenance

Your landscape’s health and appearance should increase the value of your South Florida property and enhance your outdoor living experience. The quality of your landscape matters. To look its best, even a simple landscape requires regular maintenance from a knowledgeable professional.

But what landscape company should you hire? Who are the best landscapers in South Florida, and how will they serve your property’s needs?

We know that investing in your landscape can positively impact property value.

  • In a study by the National Association of Landscape Professionals, 84% said landscaping would affect their decision about whether or not to buy a certain home.
  • Meanwhile, a National Home Improvement survey found landscaping to be a top five recommendation realtors make for improving home value—and homeowners can expect an average 215% return on their investment in landscaping.  

The company you choose to care for your South Florida landscape can deliver that return on investment, or not. And, because we enjoy our outdoors year-round in South Florida, the beauty and health of our landscapes impacts our everyday life. That’s why this is a decision you should not take lightly.

So, let’s take a candid look at the seven best landscapers in South Florida, including Reef Tropical. We’ll compare services and expertise, and offer some insight on how these landscape companies stack up.

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