No gardener wants to deal with invasive pests that may inhabit their yard. This is especially true with garden pests in Central Florida, as we certainly have our fair share. No matter how big or how small, pests can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy lawn and/or garden. In an effort to help you keep your garden free of any unwanted critters, today we take a look at the best way to get rid of some of the most common pests.
Just look at this little guy...how cute is he? Well, cuteness factor aside, he can do some major damage to your lawn. If you notice small mounds of soil dotting your yard, chances are you have a mole. The mounds are created when moles dig up dirt in search of grubs and insects. Most moles can be driven away by saturating the holes they make with a castor oil mixture. Simply mix four tablespoons of a vegetable-based detergent with twelve ounces of castor oil, put the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray liberally where the creatures are digging. This method won't do any permanent damage to your furry friends, only cause them to get an upset tummy and seek a more desirable location.
The Chinch Bug
Now on to the not so cute critters. Did you know that the various Augustine grasses are the most popular in Florida? As it turns out, in addition to being popular with Floridians, they are also popular with chinch bugs. If you've got Augustine grass in your yard, you need to be on the lookout for chinch bugs. These pests can leave ugly, dry, brown spots on your otherwise beautiful lawn. Chinch bugs can be kept at bay by properly aerating your lawn. If it's too late for preventative maintenance and you notice an infestation however, you will need a lawn care professional to get rid of them for good.
The Japanese Beetle
The Japanese Beetle, aka Popillia japonica is about as attractive as a bug can get. With a combo green/gold shell, they are easy to spot after they have infested your garden. Adult Japanese Beetles feast on both the fruit and the leaves of various plants. They do so in swarms which means that damage to your garden can happen very quickly and be very severe. Japanese Beetle grubs can eat the roots of your grass and cause brown spots to appear.
The easiest way to get rid of adult Japanese Beetles is simply to pick them off of your plants by hand and drop them in a bucket of soapy water. I highly recommend using a pair of thick gardening gloves when doing so if you're at all skittish about touching them. For grubs, the solution is a bit trickier. A useful product for getting rid of grubs is milky spore. This is a natural bacteria that kills grubs and causes them to decompose. After decomposition, the leftover material creates new spores in the ground which in turn kill additional grubs. That's what I call a win-win!
If you need help getting rid of any of the pests mentioned above, give Aventura Nursery & Landscaping a call today at (352) 799-3200. We are ready and waiting to help you keep your lawn and/or garden pest free!
Maybe it's because you care about your neighbors and your neighborhood. Maybe you got roped into it because no one else would volunteer. Whatever the reason may be, if you find yourself in charge of your neighborhood's HOA you will have your work cut out for you. Dealing with city and/or county officials, neighbor disputes, and vendors will all be necessary in your role. While we can't provide guidance on dealing with bureaucracy or feuding neighbors, we can provide you with a few tips on hiring the best HOA landscape contractor you can. Let's take a look at some of the methods you can use to keep costs down and appearances up.
The most common complaints that HOA facility managers have about their landscape vendors are that they do not communicate well or provide proactive advice for their clients. A landscaping company in Central Florida may "mow and blow" reliably but not do anything else to provide value to the client. Before hiring a vendor for your landscaping needs, ask them about their communication methods. Do they check on their clients periodically? Do they make suggestions about what types of plants and flowers would look and do the best in the area?
It is also a must for any landscaping company to have an enhanced hiring process in place. This will ensure a stable and reliable workforce that can really get to know what your HOA's landscaping needs are and the challenges you may face. A good crew will provide frequent advice on how service and appearance can be improved.
Asked and Answered
Ask any potential landscaping company for your HOA what "value added" services they provide. Will the company be able to provide tree removal services or fixes to the HOA's irrigation systems should the need arise? The last thing you want to do is get involved with a myriad of different companies for your various landscaping needs.
It is also a good idea to ask any company you are considering for referrals. Take the time to call and speak with these referrals and ask them what they think about the company. How is the company's customer service? How do they handle disputes and/or disagreements? Are there any areas that they need to improve in? These are all important questions to ask before you make your final decision to hire.
The Time Has Come
You've asked the right questions and received the right answers. You've found a landscaping company that can perform the work you need at a reasonable price. Before you sign any kind of contract, make your requirements and expectations known. Tell them if you expect correspondence and with what frequency. Tell them that you expect their employees to provide suggestions on how they can improve your HOA's landscape. Making your demands clear in the beginning is the best way to avoid conflict and hassle down the road.
We here at Aventura Nursery & Landscaping can work with you to provide the best possible service at the best possible price for your HOA's landscaping needs. Give us a call today at (352) 799-3200 and give us the opportunity to make your HOA look its best!
Every homeowner wants to get the most money they can get for their property when it's time to sell. As a result, potential sellers are likely to spend tens if not hundreds of thousand dollars on various upgrades when preparing to put their house on the market. A question we often hear is: "Will landscaping increase my home's value?" The answer to this question is a resounding YES! As it turns out, spending a little extra on your home's yard can yield big results when selling. Today we take a look at why this is and what you can do to maximize profits with your landscaping.
You're probably very familiar with the phrase curb appeal. As it turns out, curb appeal is a very real phenomenon. First impressions are also important. It's a simple fact that one of the first things a potential buyer is going to see when they pull up to your house is your yard and the state it is in. Having quality landscaping on your property lets any potential buyer know that your house has been well cared for and well maintained. A well landscaped yard will add instant value to your home. Keeping it well maintained over the years will also pay off more than most interior upgrades will due to the fact that landscape designs will not go out of style in the same way a bathroom or kitchen remodel will. Spending a little bit on your yard now could bring big profits when selling.
How Much Are We Talking?
According to this article in the San Francisco Gate:
"A well-landscaped home has a significant price advantage over a home with no landscaping. This advantage ranges from 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent depending on the type of landscaping and the home's original value. That translates into an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home. There's more to landscaping than sticking some flowers and a couple shrubs in the ground, however. The number-one thing that buyers are looking for in landscaping is a manicured design. Close behind is plant size and maturity. A lesser factor, but one still worth considering, is the diversity of plant life within the landscaping design."
If there's one advantage to landscaping in Central Florida, it is certainly diversity of plant life!
A Plan of Action
Every project worth doing needs a plan. The number one mistake a homeowner can make is not having a comprehensive plan before beginning to upgrade their landscaping. An owner may decide to add a shrub here, a tree there, and maybe sod a few years later. The result is a yard that looks disorganized at best and, ugly at worst. Why not hire a professional landscape designer to do the job for you?
If you're ready to add serious value to your home by upgrading your existing landscaping, give Aventura Nursery & Landscaping a call at 352-799-3200. Our team of experts will be happy to assist you with designing a plan for your yard and putting that plan into action. We look forward to making your yard the absolute best that it can be.
Outsourcing. A dirty word to some business owners and a complete and total necessity to others. From payroll to digital marketing, chances are that both large and small business outsource at least some of their work to someone else. Outsourcing commercial landscape services is no exception. While some business owners may balk at the idea of hiring an outside company to do so, there are several benefits to outsourcing your various landscaping needs. Today we take a look at these benefits and why doing so may actually save your company money!
Okay, we understand. Hiring a Central Florida landscaping company will require an upfront monetary investment. That's bad for your bottom line, right? As it turns out, doing so will actually save you money in the long run. Not only will you save money on payroll costs, there is no equipment to buy, (not to mention fuel and equipment storage as well). Additionally, you and your staff will have more time to devote to your business. Think of all the time you and your employees can save by avoiding having to do yard work around your company's building. This is time that you can devote directly to your business endeavors and as they say: time is money!
Less Risk, More Reward
Whether we care to admit it or not, we all make mistakes. While most mistakes are harmless, some can be disastrous and even deadly. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 58,000 people in the United States are injured by gardening tools each year. This number jumps to a whopping 91,000 injured by lawn mowers on a yearly basis. You can avoid the costs associated with or any other issues that may arise from injury by hiring a reputable landscaping company. Additionally, outsourcing your landscaping needs will also yield better results. As handy as you are with a mower and a trimmer, chances are that you or your employees will not come close to the quality that a professional landscaping company can provide. This will in turn make your business location look better and more attractive to potential customers and clients.
Consistency is Key
Professional landscaping companies are focused on one thing and one thing only: making sure that your commercial space looks good. Whereas you and your team of employees have other tasks to focus on, a commercial landscaper does not. How many times have you said, "I'll get around to it later," when it comes to maintaining your commercial space? Outsourcing your landscaping needs can ensure a level of consistency with maintaining your yard space that you won't get if you do it yourself. Save yourself the headache and let a professional handle it.
If you are interested in outsourcing your commercial property's landscaping, give Aventura Nursery & Landscaping a call today at 352-799-3200. We will be happy to provide you with the best landscaping, sod, and yard maintenance services available. We even take care of trees and shrubs. We look forward to hearing from you!
Finding the right lawn care company in Hernando County to take care of your yard can seem like a daunting task. There are seemingly thousands of companies to choose from, and no guarantee at the company you hire will perform the work you want at the standard you deserve. While no screening system is perfect, there are questions you can ask any lawn care company you are considering hiring that will increase the likelihood of getting what you want. In an effort to help you find a company that's right for you, today we present you 5 questions that you can ask any potential lawn care company before you hire them.
1. Tell Me About Yourselves
Any lawn care or lawn maintenance company worth hiring should have a history. How long have they been in business? Are they licensed and insured? How many people do they employ? Can they provide references of satisfied customers? Unless you are willing to give a brand new company a shot at your business, these questions are all important to ask.
2. What Professional Qualifications Do You Have?
Would you rather hire a doctor or lawyer with training and experience in their given field or someone who learned their trade watching YouTube videos? The same question can be asked of your lawn care company. Would you rather hire someone with education and experience in the field, or someone who just went out and bought a mower and started cutting grass? Asking your potential lawn maintenance company for their qualifications is a good way to weed out any unqualified companies before you hire them.
3. Can You Help With Landscaping?
Landscaping is an important aspect of lawn care and maintenance. Can your company help you design the lawn that you want? Can they clear and clean up any dead trees, fallen tree limbs, and dead leaves that may be plaguing your yard? If not, it may be a good idea to go with a company who can. You never know what kind of service you may need in the future.
4. What Can I Do Differently?
It is important to receive polite feedback from an expert about what is working and what is not working in your yard. A decent lawn care specialist should be able to tell you where you are getting too much sun or too much shade. This person should also be able to tell you what kind of plants and grass will work the best on your property. Don't be afraid to ask for an honest assessment of your current yard.
5. How Often Do You...?
Good lawn care companies will have a seasonal schedule that they stick to for their customers. They will also have a schedule for performing regular duties such as mowing and special duties such as weeding and leaf pickup. It is important to know when and how often these different services will be performed, and your lawn maintenance company should have a plan of action in place for you before you hire them.
Aventura Nursery and Landscaping will work with you to develop a strategy for providing all of your lawn care, maintenance, and landscaping needs. Our team of experts know what works and what doesn't in Central Florida. Please give us a call 352-799-3200 today and let us know how we can make your yard the yard of your dreams.
Being in the nursery and landscaping business in Spring Hill, Florida is wonderful. Living in Florida is wonderful. The year-round sunshine, the beaches, and best of all: no snow! Unfortunately for us Floridians, there are certain pests that enjoy the Sunshine State as much as we do. One such pest is the dreaded Pickleworm.
The name sounds innocent enough. Perhaps it reminds you of a whimsical character in a children's book. Unfortunately, Diaphania nitidalis (better known as the pickleworm), is a very serious agricultural pest.
Much like those of us who live in Florida, pickleworms don't like cold weather. These pests are mostly found in southeastern states, but have been spotted as far as Illinois, Iowa, and even parts of New York. The life-cycle of a pickleworm is remarkably short. Most of these insects only live for around 30 days. Depending on location, there can be up to four generations of pickleworms per year! There are only two locations where pickleworms are found all year round: Texas and Florida. Lucky us!
Pickleworms feast on both wild and cultivated cucurbit species. Pumpkins, cucumbers, cantaloupe and squash are all preferred by the pest. The pickleworm's absolute favorite food however, is the summer squash. Every year, large amounts of damage to summer squash crops can be attributed to the pickleworm.
Damage to crops caused by the pickleworm can be observed by the lack of flowers and new leaves on the plant. These are the first parts of the plant to be eaten. Damaged vines and leaves can become riddled with holes and cease to continue growing. Pickleworm larvae also eat the fruit, and have been known to burrow deep into the flesh leaving a trail of white frass in their wake. Yuck! Once these pests are able to burrow into the fruit, the damage done usually results in rotting.
So What Can We Do?!
Fear not my fellow feisty Floridians! We can defeat the pickleworm and his dastardly plan for world domination. First and foremost, we can opt for certain varieties of plants that have proven to be resistant to these pests. Inquiring minds have discovered that the butternut and Golden Hubbard varieties of squash tend to be much less susceptible to pickleworm infestation. If given the opportunity, it may be in your best interest to choose one of these instead of the summer variety.
If prevention has failed and you find yourself face to face with a pickleworm, you may want to consider "Bt pest control." Spraying your crops with Bacillus Turingienis (Bt for short) can be a great strategy. The active ingredient in Bt is a crystal protein which serves to paralyze the insect's digestive tract. The pickleworm will subsequently stop eating and starve to death. Bacillus Turingienis has also been essential in the fight against the West Nile Virus and the pesky mosquitoes that spread it.
You might also consider adding floating row covers to your crops at night. Pickleworms are most active after dark, so this strategy will substantially decrease the likelihood of infestation. Please remember to remove the covers during the day so that the bees can get to your crops however!
Drop By and Say Hello!
If you're in the Spring Hill, FL area and have questions about the pickleworm or any other subject pertaining to your crops, please drop by and say hello! We also specialize in landscape design and sod installation. You can also give us a call at 352-799-3200. We would love to hear from you today!
1. Before digging, call 1-800-432-4770 for a free underground utility check. Accidentally cutting an underground utility is costly and potentially dangerous. Also check to see where your septic system is if you have one. Avoid planting near it.
2. Location. To cool your house, choose to plant trees to shade the eastern, southern, and western exposed walls of your house. Small trees can be planted 10’ – 16’ from the house. Large trees can be planted 16’ – 22’ from the house.
3. Look up. Don’t plant under utility lines unless the mature size of your plant will be shorter than the height of the line.
4. Do your homework. Call the local county extension office for recommended trees for your site and needs.
a. Buy quality plants.
b. Buy trees with only 1 trunk except for small trees such as crape myrtles.
c. Don’t buy pot-bound plants.
d. Make sure that your choices are not on the prohibited plant list for the county.
e. Palm trees don’t provide much shade. Use them in groups or in narrow areas.
5. Digging the hole. Hire a tree hole digger if needed. Make sure the planting hole is no deeper than the size of the pot and 2 – 3 times wider than the root ball of the plant.
Planting and maintenance is critical to the health of your plants.
a. Never handle the plant by the trunk. Carry it by the pot.
b. After removing the pot, gently loosen roots and cut circling roots. If pot-bound, make several 1 – 2 inch deep slices down the sides of the root ball.
c. Position the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface.
d. If the tree is balled and in natural burlap, remove the top 1/3 of the burlap after planting the tree in the hole. If the root ball is wrapped in synthetic burlap, remove all of it after setting the tree in the hole. Remove any twine or rope that is around the trunk.
e. Fill the hole with soil that was removed to make the planting hole. Do not add any other materials (such as organic matter, potting soil, fertilizer, etc.) to the soil. They are not needed.
f. When the hole is half full of soil, saturate with water to remove air pockets, then fill the hole until it’s even with the ground level.
g. Build a 3” high circular berm around the outer edge of the planting hole.
7. Watering. Water deeply and thoroughly.
8. Mulch. Use an organic mulch such as eucalyptus, Enviro-Mulch (melaleuca), or pine bark, two to three inches deep over the entire planting area. Keep the mulch at least 2 inches away from the trunk.
9. Tree staking. Stake the tree only if needed. If it is top heavy, unstable, or in a windy location, stake the tree. Remove the stakes 1 year after planting.
10. Watering schedule. For well-drained soils after planting -
Month 1: Water daily, making sure entire root ball is saturated
Month 2: Water 3 times a week, making sure entire root ball is saturated
Month 3: Water 2 times a week, making sure entire root ball is saturated
a. For large trees continue to water once per week for 1 – 2 years.
b. Less water may be required in winter.
c. For soils that are not well- drained, water less frequently. Use your best judgment.
d. The root ball should be kept moist but not wet.
11. Fertilization schedule.
a. Broadcast the fertilizer under the drip line of the tree canopy but not close to the trunk.
b. Six months after planting, apply a light feeding with a balanced, complete slow-release fertilizer.
c. After the first year, fertilize three times per year (spring, summer, and early fall).
d. Some palms have special fertilizer requirements.
a. Don’t prune until 1 year after planting unless to remove dead or damaged limbs.
b. Never hat-rack or top trees. It’s illegal and harmful to the long-term health of the tree. The tree will also be susceptible to damage from high winds. Instead, thin out the canopy to allow wind to blow through.
c. Trim branches properly (not flush cut).
d. Don’t apply tree wound paints.
13. Never injure the trunk with weed-eaters or lawnmowers .
14. Don’t plant flowering plants that need watering under trees.