Summer Grass Care Tips for Nashville Lawns

Summer is coming, Nashville, and it’s time to brush up on a few simple lawn maintenance tips to keep your grass looking lush and beautiful. The combination of hot

temperatures and heavy rains can do damage to your lawn. This is particularly true if it is planted with cool weather grass like  Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue.

The key to keeping your lawn healthy in the summer revolves around two simple tasks: lawn mowing and watering. Done right, a properly mowed and irrigated lawn can stay lush and green throughout the summer. Done wrong, roots could be damaged, and the blades can be exposed to disease.

At the Parke Company, we have been serving the Nashville metro area as a premiere landscaping service for over three decades. We know the most common mistakes that homeowners make in their summertime lawn care. To avoid unintentional damage to your lawn, we are offering simple guidelines to keep your lawn healthy, lush, and green.

Mowing – Buzz Cuts are Not in Fashion in Nashville

Mowing can be a hot, sweaty chore. It’s not surprising that some people give their lawns a buzz cut thinking that they won’t have to repeat the process as many times because it will take a while for the grass to grow tall enough to need another mowing. Unfortunately, if they do that often enough, they won’t have to worry about mowing at all because the grass will most likely turn brown and go dormant.

Taller grass is healthier grass. When grass is allowed to grow to 2.5” to 3”, it actually shades the soil, lowering the temperature and slowing evaporation. Here are a few tips on correct mowing.

  • Tune up your mower. Inspect/replace the spark plug and check for oil or fuel leaks. Most importantly, have the blade sharpened. A dull blade does not cut the grass, it tears it. Ragged tips on the grass invite disease.
  • Set the lawnmower to a 2.5” cut. If you are uncertain of the height, just set it as high as it will go.
  • Change up your mowing pattern. Mow north to south and then east to west on your next outing. Changing up patterns keeps the lawn looking level.
  • Using a mower with a bag or a mulching mower will minimize thatch buildup. Deep raking or thatching should not be attempted until the fall.

Watering – Giving Your Lawn a Tall Drink of Water

The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service says that typically lawns need 1” to 1.5” of water per week. That’s a flow rate equal to 630 to 945 gallons of water. Infrequent, deep watering is far more effective than daily light irrigation. Ideally, the watering session will reach 4” to 6” into the soil.

The Extension Service advises that the best time to water to minimize evaporation and the possibility of watering lingering on the surface of the grass is between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. If that’s not possible, try 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

So, the takeaway is to use a sharp blade, don’t cut your grass too short, and give your lawn a deep drink instead of sprinkling daily.

Contact The Parke Company

Or, if you don’t have the time, contact us today. We offer a full line of lawn services including maintenance of shrubs and tree trimming.

Springtime Seasonal Landscaping Maintenance in Nashville

Spring has arrived in Middle Tennessee, and people are once again spending more time outside their homes enjoying the great outdoors – even if that “outdoors” is just out back on a patio or deck. Spring is a time for new beginnings, and homeowners in Nashville, Brentwood, Cool Springs, and other communities who have invested in beautiful landscapes need to take a breath and remember they have some springtime lawn issues to deal with to protect those investments.

The Parke Company, a leading landscaping service in Nashville, firmly believes that proper lawn maintenance not only keeps the lawn and shrubs healthy, but can add to the value of the property as well. Investing in landscaping yields many benefits, but it does take some work and care.

So, let’s get started. Here are two simple spring lawn maintenance tasks to get a Nashville landscape off to a great start.

Mulching

Nashville can get hot quickly. Protecting plant beds with a couple of inches of mulch will help retain moisture, keep the soil cool, inhibit the growth of weeds, and give your plants a healthy head start. At the Parke Company, we offer a variety of traditional mulches along with two alternatives that may prove more beneficial.
Pine straw is an excellent renewable, organic, lightweight mulch that holds better than traditional mulch on slopes. If you have a planting bed that is built on an incline, pine straw may be your best solution. Shredded pine tree mulch is also an effective mulch, with the added benefit of a pleasant pine aroma.

If your lawn has debris and litter left over from the winter weather, we have an option you may be interested in. We offer a chopping and grinding service (using a Vermeer shredder) that will take your “waste” wood, branches, stumps, brush, and other organic debris and shred it into mulch.

Inspecting the Health of Plants and Shrubs

How well have your plants, shrubs, and trees survived the winter? A quick inspection can reveal common problems, hopefully early enough to get plant-saving intervention. Look for new growth on all the plants. New growth is typically an indicator of a healthy plant or tree. If you spot dead patches in shrubs or tree limbs that are bare, you should have a professional look at them.

If black spots appear on leaves, it could be an indicator of azalea lace bugs. If these spots appear on new growth, then you need to explore treatment options to prevent spread. Boxwoods are a favorite in the Nashville area, and they are also a favorite for boxwood leaf miners. Flip the leaves over and use a handheld magnifier to look for their eggs.

Finding these signs early is essential. Too many times, the conditions are allowed to progress to the point where there are no viable treatments and replacement is the only option.

Of course, if you would like a professional to make these evaluations, feel free to call us. We can have a qualified technician or arborist do a thorough inspection and create a treatment plan specific to your plants’ condition. You can count on the Parke Company for the best in tree service, lawn maintenance, and landscaping. Call today.

Landscaping to Lower Your Energy and Water Bills

We’ve all enjoyed the cooling shade of a tree on a hot, humid Nashville summer day. The relief from the heat is almost instantaneous. Trees are a great natural source of “air conditioning” that can protect people from the sun’s direct rays, and if planted correctly, they can do the same thing for your home.

A cooler home means less “man-made” air conditioning required, which translates into lower energy bills. Who doesn’t like lower energy bills?

Trees providing cooling shade isn’t a new idea, but using them strategically to cool a home usually isn’t considered by Nashville homeowners unless they are working with a leading landscaping service like The Parke Company. Staffed with certified arborists, and with nearly 30 years’ experience in tree trimming, tree transplanting, and other tree services, the Parke Company has a solid understanding of how trees can be used to “direct” weather to or away from your house.

It’s an interesting idea, but you may be thinking that trees take forever to grow and you want help now. Well, trees are not an instant fix, but you can see heat relief in less than a year and it just gets better every day after that.

Real Dollar Benefits of a Well-Designed Landscape

It is generally accepted that a strategically planned landscape will pay for itself in reduced energy and water costs in eight years or less. That obviously is beneficial for the homeowner, it also drives up value of the home, and of course, it’s environmentally responsible.

Here are a few ways that landscaping helps in reducing energy and water costs:

  • A smart landscape uses both deciduous and evergreen trees. Deciduous trees provide abundant shade in the summer but then allow the winter sun to warm the house in the colder months. Evergreens also provide shade. They make great windbreaks in the winter, blocking bitter cold winds from reaching the home if properly positioned.
  • A new 6’ to 8’ deciduous tree will cast shade on your ground level windows inside a year. Depending on the species (and how many stories your home is), it will shade the roof in 5 to 10 years.
  • Evergreen windbreaks will reduce the wind chill near your house, reducing the amount of heat you need to remain comfortable. Windbreaks also create “dead air space” that insulates your home year round.
  • Succulent ground cover will reduce the air temperature before it reaches your home. The same holds true for shrubs and bushes.
  • Mulching trees and gardens not only protects the plants’ roots, but reduces evaporation. Less water is needed to sustain these plants.
  • Smart lawn maintenance, like raising the lawn mower blade during summer and only irrigating lawns in the cooler morning hours, can greatly conserve water.

 

Creating a strategic landscape must take in a multitude of considerations. Terrain, existing stock, prevailing winds, house design, availability of stock, and other issues all have to be examined to come up with a plan that will yield the best results.

If you would like to benefit from a well-designed landscape and the beauty of an amazing green space, give The Parke Company a call today and we will be happy to help.

Springtime Weed Control for Nashville Lawns

Many people believe that weeds, like roaches, will be around when all other living things have ceased to exist. They are the bane of Nashville lawns. There is no permanent fix short of paving over your grass with asphalt. You can’t rid weeds from your life, but you can keep them in check if you exercise a solid weed control plan.

At the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading lawn service and landscaping service, we know the importance of a timely weed control program. Timing truly is everything when it comes to preventing weeds from taking over your grass. There are a number of herbicides available, the trick is knowing what types of weed they are designed to control, and when and how to use them.

If weed control was just about laying down some chemicals, the chore wouldn’t be all that bad. But there’s more to it than that. Let’s walk through how to do springtime weed control.

Lawn Audit

Grab a couple of leaf bags, gloves, and a leaf rake and head out to “audit” the condition of your lawn. Pick a time of day when the grass is completely dry so you aren’t crushing damp blades with your shoes. What we’re looking for are signs of weak soil. Weeds thrive where the soil doesn’t easily support grass.

Bald spots, winter weeds, brown spots, or thinned out spots are all signs that the soil is probably not up to par. You can get DIY soil testing kits at any garden supply store. Winter weather can have a significant effect on pH levels. If you test your soil and it’s below 6, a thin layer of lime can be added to bring it up.

While you are on this walkabout, pick up debris and trash that has accumulated over the winter. Use the rake to thatch matted patches of grass. Allowing sunlight and air to reach the soil is helpful in maintaining soil nutrients. You may run across some brown slimy stuff. This is snow mold and while it looks ugly, it won’t kill grass unless the lawn is covered in snow for 100 days or more and that’s not going to happen in Nashville.

So, with a cleaned-up lawn and full understanding of soil health from your soil test, it’s time to tackle the weeds.

Pre-emergent Weed Control

The idea here is to prevent weed seed from taking root. Pre-emergent weed killers do a great job if they are applied at the right time. Ideally, the temperature should be between 55 – 60 degrees, which means late March normally, but the weather has been dodgy, so it could be later. In Nashville, watch for the forsythia to bloom. When that happens, you have about two weeks before weeds germinate.

The downside of pre-emergent herbicides is that they can’t discriminate between weed seed and grass seed. It does a good job on crabgrass and other grass type weeds, but you want to wait at least eight weeks before you use it on an area that you have laid down new grass seed.

Let a Pro Do It

If your schedule is hectic, or if raking, cleaning, and putting down weed killer is something you just don’t want to do, give us a call. Parke started his company in high school doing just this kind of work. Thirty years later, the Parke Company is a trusted Nashville landscaping service known for its certified arborists, excellent tree trimming, and lawn maintenance, including weed control. Call us today and get started on getting your lawn off to a great spring start.

What Can a Nashville Landscaper Do for You?

Nashville is fortunate to have an abundance of lovely old homes surrounded by lawns and trees. The Parke Company, Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service, has been transforming those well-kept lawns into eye-catching landscaped spaces for years.

The difference between a well-maintained yard and a professionally landscaped lawn can be breathtaking. Curb appeal immediately goes up, but more importantly, a landscape gives the homeowner his or her own piece of private paradise.

At the Parke Company, we have been designing, installing, and maintaining these natural havens for homeowners in Memphis, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Oak Hills and other communities for over a decade. While we are probably best known for our tree trimming, tree transplanting, and tree removal services, we also provide a wide range of other services that enhance the total landscape.

Have You Considered?

If you are thinking about making improvements to your lawn but are unsure of what would work where, we suggest you sit down with our designer and talk about your ideas. Our designers and certified arborists see green space differently than most people. They know which trees thrive and provide shade, which shrubs complement which architectural styles, and how to lay out a landscape that will require minimal maintenance.

They deal with landscaping daily and you can trust their knowledge to make your dream lawn a reality. It’s about more than adding a flower bed and a bush.

The landscaping services we provide include:

  •        Landscape design and installation. We will listen to what your objective is and then provide our ideas on how to best achieve that. Once the plan is approved, installation is quick, no hassle, and surprisingly affordable.
  •        Sod. New and replacement.
  •        Irrigation systems. We can install new systems, repair existing lines, or modify the lines to better irrigate the space.
  •        Hardscapes. We can install a variety of water features, pagodas, screens, and other “hardscape” items.
  •        Mulch service. We use both wood-based and pine straw mulch to protect your spaces from drought, weed infestation, and root disease.
  •        Installation of pavers and walkways.
  •        Tree removal, trimming, transplanting, stump removal.
  •        Outdoor lighting. Decorative lighting to highlight your landscape or practical lighting for patios, decks, outdoor kitchens, etc.
  •        Installation of firepits.
  •        Flower beds. We prepare the beds, provide the bloomers, plant them, ensure there is adequate irrigation and drainage, and apply a layer of mulch.
  •        Emergency tree service. When a bad storm hits the Nashville area, you can count on snapped limbs and even fallen trees. We provide quick response to our customers to ensure their property doesn’t experience additional harm from damaged trees.

 

The Parke Company is a member of the ISA, is an ISA Certified Arborist, belongs to the Tennessee Nursery and Landscaping Association, and is an IPCI certified installer for hardscapes. We know our business.

Contact The Parke Company

If you are thinking about creating your own outdoor space and you want it done professionally, we invite you to contact us today. We are happy to sit down with you and discuss the options that fit both your objectives and your budget. Call today.