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Pruning your Florida Crepe Myrtle, Why, When, What and How

 

Here in Central Florida we are blessed to have the beautiful Crepe Myrtle tree (Lagerstroemia).  The Crepe Myrtle, found in Greater Orlando,  is a decorative tree that grows in Tropical and Sub-Tropical parts of the world.  It is known for it’s beautiful, abundant, colorful blooms that come back every summer.  It’s name comes from the thin blooms as they have a crepe like texture.

Why Prune?

Most Central Florida homeowners prune crepe myrtles because they will grow, grow & grow!  Before long they can reach heights of 100′ or more.  Pruning can help keep your beautiful blooming tree under control.  However, there are some Crepe Myrtle Purists who call too-much pruning “Crepe Murder” and believe if you desire a smaller specimen then you should go buy one!  It is our opinion to live and let live, if pruning your tree makes you happy, then well go for it.

When to Prune?

Crepe Myrtles can be pruned at any time of the year. YES, you read that correctly!  However, it is easier to prune in (January/February) winter as all the foliage has left the tree, making pruning and clean-up an easier task for you.

What to Prune?

Look for any small “sucker” branches shooting out of the main trunk or main branches.  These appear to increase photo-synthesis and increase the tree’s survival, however to some they are unsightly.  Cut these back all the way.  Next, clean your main branches of any sub-branches that grew from the following year. The main branches can be trimmed as well, however don’t cut them too short or the new growth will look odd attached to stubby branches.  You can cut below or above any knuckles (stubs from previous pruning).  This is up to you but I like to cut through just below last years knuckle.

How to Prune?

Generally, most people use a stout pair of pruning sheers, loppers and a pole-pruner/saw.  Depending on the age/size of your trees you may opt for one or all three to get the job done.  Be sure to wear a good pair of work gloves and protect your eyes with safety glasses.  The whip-branches can get you in the eye, terribly,  if not careful.  Make nice clean cuts, don’t shred the wood.

Marshmallows?

Do you like marshmallows heated over an outdoor fire? Me too!  Save 10 or 20 whip-branches from your pruning exercise to use for roasting marshmallows over your back-yard fire-pit or Big Green Egg.  They work excellent when freshly pruned!

Local Nurseries that carry Crepe Myrtle specimens:

How bout a great video??

 

 

 

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Resurfacing Swimming Pool, Orlando

Resurfacing your Orlando swimming pool is a smart investment that will add to the esthetic value of your home.  Today’s finishes and colors are in sharp contrast to what was in-style only 10 years ago.  Home buyers want modern, sharp and dramatic colors and finishes.  Glass tiles, pebble texture, inlaid tiles, crushed glass and glitter!  Modern elements will make your backyard swimming pool feel like a private oasis and YOU will be the talk of the neighborhood!

Planning & Investment

A premium swimming pool resurfacing project can start at $6000.00 for a modest/small sized pool (<10K gal)  to $30,000.00 for a large sized pool (>18-20K gal) with upgraded coping or glass tile elements.  It is important to think of the other items that you want to upgrade/replace at this time…

  1. Lighting
  2. Coping
  3. Tile
  4. Pool Equipment
  5. Pool Deck Finishes/Pavers
  6. Railings/Stairs/Beach Entrance
  7. Inlaid Ornaments or Fresco Designs
  8. Rock Wall, Grotto or Fountains
  9. Ornamental Plants/Palms
  10. Outdoor Sound Systems/Outdoor Kitchen

Swimming Pool Resurfacer Contractors

Here are a few Orlando Area contractors you can reach out to.  We DID have had a favorable experience in both execution and value with the first contractor (White Sands Pool Plastering).

  1. White Sands Pool Plastering (residential and commercial- DisneyWorld Resorts use them)
  2. Bluelight Pool Resurfacing
  3. Signature Pools

 

 

Swimming Pool Resurface Options

There are a few options to choose from, these are listed in order of cost (1st being most expensive)

  1. Aggregate (Pebble Tec or Wet Edge Technology)- WE LIKE THIS!!
  2. Plaster (classic and clean appearance)
  3. Epoxy Paint (band-aid, not a good long-term solution)
Courtesy of White Sands Pool Plastering

Execution

Here are the steps to an Aggregate Finish (most popular), please keep in mind that the crew will set-up a temporary waste pond on your property for the excess grout that is washed off in this process.  This is a small structure approx. 10′ w x 8′ lx 3′ deep.   They will dismantle it when complete.

  1. Drain the pool
  2. Removing tile (coping is optional)
  3. Grinding down sharp edges, weak spots
  4. Apply bond-coat
  5. Apply new tile, inlays, equipment (lights, eyeballs, fittings, etc…)
  6. Apply new aggregate finish
  7. Acid Wash the new finish
  8. Fill pool and Inspect
  9. Adjust chemicals as needed for “break-in” period
Courtesy of White Sands Pool Plastering

You will see immediate benefits in the appearance of your pool, not to mention the excellent tactile experience for your feet (if aggregate finish is chosen).  Many homeowners are going for a black or dark colors, this will also keep your pool slightly warmer throughout the year, saving you $$ on natural gas or propane.

Please share your pool resurfacing experience or ask a question!

 

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How do tax cuts affect Orlando Area home owners?

Since the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 , many Orlando-Area homeowners are wondering how this will affect them.  We were curious too and so we did a little bit of research so you don’t have to :).

First, the good news.  

You are probably going to get a tax cut!! Hooray!  The new distribution over (7) brackets and doubling of the standard deduction ($12K for single filers, $24K for joint filers) should get most of us a tax break.  Also…if you itemized before you might not tomorrow (2018) as the standard deduction may prove less tax for you.

Next, if you are a snowbird…

and your primary residence is located in let’s say New York, New Jersey or Connecticut you might not be smiling and it may be a good time to make the leap to Florida and here is why…In the past all of us were able to write-off our State and Local property taxes, in full.  This was a great benefit to people that lived in heavily taxed states like those previously mentioned and less of a benefit to to those living in states like Florida, Georgia or Alabama.  In fact, you might say that residents living in states with less State and Local tax burden were not getting a benefit that those in California, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut were getting,  due to the disparity in taxation.

In 2018, the maximum deduction will be $10,000.00 .  To most Floridians, this more than covers property taxes.  However, in the more heavily taxed states, the residents are in for a big hit!!  It is not uncommon for a resident of Manhattan to pay in excess of $30,000.00 in State and Local taxes for a very small residence.  A 2500 square foot house in Northern NJ might me taxed at $13,000.00  .  Any way you slice, this will be a burden to many in those states, Middle and Upper Middle Class.

 

The third and last major change…

The last major change (that we see)affecting those living in the Greater Orlando Area is the Mortgage Interest Cap.  In the past, the ability to write-off your mortgage interest was capped to mortgages in the amount of $1,000,000.00 .  In 2018, this cap will be reduced to mortgages $750,000.00 and less(should have been dropped to $500,000 in our opinion).  To most Floridians this is of no consequence.  However, those living in affluent towns like Lake Nona, Windermere, Dr. Phillips, Lake Mary etc… might not be too happy.

 

What next?

In our opinion, Floridians should take a wait and see approach to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  In many cases (IE: Obamcare) the affects of a major bill are unknown for some time.  In the mean time enjoy your tax-cuts and use the recent surge in job-opportunities to better your position in life.

Have a an opinion?  Please post a comment. Furthering the discussion helps all of us!!

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