Winter is the Perfect Time for Debris Removal and Cleanup

At the Parke Company, we are known by our Nashville clients for our landscaping services, tree service, installation of irrigation systems, sourcing shrubs and flowers, and other traditional landscape tasks. Of course, most of those tasks take place when things are growing. Spring and fall are our busiest seasons.

But when winter arrives, it brings its own set of lawn problems.

Nashville is a southern city, so we don’t get much snow compared to our neighbors to the north. In fact, Nashville only averages about 7 inches of snow in any given winter. We get rain, and the temperature drops to an average of about six degrees above freezing. That limits the amount of outdoor activities that the fine folks of Nashville are willing to participate in, and it creates a problem for lawns and other outdoor spaces.

Too Cold to Do Much of Anything?

While driving on a freeway or even a residential street during the winter months, you’ll probably notice that the landscape looks a bit trashy.

Culverts will have filled up with windblown leaves, trash and debris. Lawns may appear to be unkempt because they are littered with debris. Our Nashville winter scenes rarely consist of pristine snow-covered lawns, but rather cluttered spaces with mostly grey skies up above.

Why do our winters look like this? In part it’s because it’s just considered too cold for many homeowners or even state road maintenance to be out raking and cleaning debris. It’s not that there is some “extra” supply of winter trash that somehow hits our landscape, it’s just that the usual trash is not picked up.

While a debris-filled lawn is not attractive, it can actually do harm as well. If left unattended, the debris can damage the grass under it when the first thaw hits.

Our early springs tend to be wet and muddy. Leaves, twigs, and other “yard trash” can hinder the growth of the grass when it comes out of dormancy. This can leave yellow patches or off green patches unless the debris is removed.

If you have done a good job of mulching, you may be inviting another, smaller, threat to your lawn. Field mice love mulch. If you see narrow yellow trails coursing across your lawn, these are the rodent freeways to the mulch bed. Raking out the trails will help the trampled grass and give it a chance to survive when spring arrives.

Clean Up Winter Debris

Obviously, the way to avoid yellow spots in the spring is to clean up debris during the winter. If your lawn is fenced, has hardscaping or drainage ditches, finding the debris will be easy. Winter winds will pile up the debris in these areas.

The trusty leaf rake can do leaf collection, but for most of our clients with large lawns, this will be a full weekend project. A leaf vacuum mulcher can handle most of the task. Large items (twigs, branches, trash) will need to be collected and bagged manually.

Of course, if you don’t have the time for a winter lawn cleanup, you can always call us at the Parke Company, and we will be happy to handle the job. We have the crews and the equipment to make quick work of transforming your debris-littered lawn into a clean winter landscape.

Let’s all hope for an early spring.

No Winter Break for This Nashville Landscaper

There may be snow on the way or snow on the ground, but that doesn’t mean the folks at the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading landscaping services organization, are kicking back and taking a winter break.

While it’s true, we do take advantage of the reduced workload to perform maintenance on our equipment, winter is actually an ideal time for an important tree service.

Tree, Hedge, and Shrub Trimming

When cold weather hits and trees shed their leaves, tree structure is easier to see. Winter is an excellent time for trimming trees. When trees are bare, it is far easier to locate failing or dead limbs.

Unless you have extensive tree pruning experience, it’s best to rely on professional tree pruners to remove the damaged limbs. Done correctly, pruning will improve the health of a tree and eliminate the risk of a falling limb.

Almost every type of hedge and shrub that grows in Nashville can be safely trimmed or pruned during the dormant winter months.

When people think “trimming,” they usually think in terms of deciduous trees only, but evergreens are also safe to trim. In fact, evergreens can represent an even greater “falling object” threat because it’s easier for snow to pile up on an evergreen than a naked deciduous limb.

The One Service We Only Do in Winter

There is one business operation that the Parke Company only provides in winter: ice and snow mitigation.

That’s just another way of saying deicing of walkways, driveways, parking lots, porches, and any other surface that might represent a slip and fall risk.

We use a magnesium chloride formula for our application, not a salt based material. Using magnesium chloride eliminates the potential damage to concrete, painted surfaces, and of course, green growing things that salt is responsible for.

Our residential customers appreciate the safety and convenience that clear walkways provide. Commercial clients are sensitive to their liability for slip and fall accidents. Employees and customers of those businesses appreciate the ease of maneuvering an otherwise icy landscape and the minimal risk of a fender bender in the parking lot resulting from spinning tires.

There is one other service that we will be doing this year. The Parke Company has been selected to help decorate Tennessee’s Holiday Tree at the state capitol!

Nashville Winters: An Excellent Time to Plan

A perfectly landscaped space doesn’t happen by accident. At the Parke Company, our specialty is installing and renovating landscapes. Before the first piece of field work is performed, every aspect of the landscaping and hardscaping is plotted out.

That means that every type of tree, shrubs, flowers, hardscaping pieces, and sod has to be selected and located on paper.

In a way, installing or renovating a landscape is similar to building a house. Our skilled landscapers follow a blueprint to create the finished product.

Creating that blueprint takes time, a lot of time. A client meeting takes place to establish the client’s goals and specific preferences. Time is required for the actual design. Another meeting with the client for approval of the concept is required to get the project off the drawing board.

Time is something that is in short supply for us during the warmer months. Winter is ideally suited for planning.

So while we won’t be out installing landscapes in the snow, we won’t be taking a break either. Winter is just another season of work for us.

Winter Lawn Care in Nashville

We are literally weeks away from seeing the cold temperatures that come with a Nashville winter. Unfortunately, your beautiful lawn can take a major hit during the coldest season if you haven’t taken precautions to protect it.

The Parke Company, Nashville’s leading provider of landscaping services, suggests you take certain precautions in the short time remaining to ensure your winter lawn makes it through the season and is healthy and ready to go when spring arrives.

Some fall clean up steps are going to require the services of a professional landscaper, but most you can do yourself providing you have the time.

Prepping Your Nashville Lawn for the Winter

Probably your biggest risk for a winter disaster, both in terms of damage and dollars, involves your irrigation system. If the system is not completely drained, there is a risk of an irrigation pipe bursting, an event that will probably go unnoticed until the thaw begins.

A burst irrigation pipe can damage the lawn, create a seepage in your foundation, and of course will require digging up the lawn to make a repair. Have your system serviced professionally before the temperature drops below 32 degrees overnight.

A clean lawn will survive the winter better than one that is littered. Even a little weight can damage dormant grass. If you look out the window today and see a lawn covered in leaves, you’ve got a leaf clean up project in your immediate future.

Breaking out a leaf rake and leaf bags is one way to tackle the problem, but there are faster methods. If you own a leaf vac you already know the advantages. If you don’t have one, The Parke Company can provide that service and take it one step further.

We have a leaf vacuum mulcher that will leave your lawn as clean as a billiard table and turn your leaves into a nutritious mulch for your spring garden at the same time.

If you have grasses common to Nashville like Bermuda or bluegrass, give your lawn one last fertilizing to carry it through the winter. If you do this before the freeze, you’ll get the advantage of the fertilizer reaching the roots.

After the Snow Flies

The key here is to prevent damage because any damage after the grass has gone dormant can’t be repaired until the spring.

In Scotland, many of the legendary golf courses are open in the winter. It’s cold but there isn’t that much snow. The grass is not brown, it’s “golden” or “crispy,” just like dead grass everywhere. No carts are allowed because the weight would crush or break the grass. When you’re ready to hit your ball, the caddy will lift it up, place a small mat of AstroTurf down, and replace the ball.

This will come as a shock for first timers, and at $280 a round, it may take a little joy out of the game. However, the Scots know that if golfers could whale away on the fairways while the grass is dormant, their course would suffer significant damage.

Your lawn is just as vulnerable as the Saint Andrews fairways. Keep it clean through the winter. Periodically check for toys, tools, or other items that may have been put down and forgotten. Minimize foot traffic on the lawn by keeping sidewalks cleared of snow and ice.

A little prep work and a little vigilance during the cold season will be rewarded in spring when your lawn comes back lush and green.

Cold Weather Care for Your Trees

It might seem a bit odd, but even with the cold weather and all of the leaves on the ground, now is the perfect time to work on the trees and bushes that line your lawn or business’s property. Not only is the cool weather – like the kind that is rapidly approaching the Nashville area – the perfect time to plant a new tree, since it promotes root growth, but the ideal time to get things ready for the harsh realities of the oncoming winter. We here at the Parke Company spend a lot of time getting things ready for winter and planting new trees. In fact, it is one of the busiest times of the year for us because of the small window to get things done and take advantage of the weather while it lasts. To really take advantage of the timing, here are some things you can do to make sure your trees last through the cold weather and come out of their hibernation in the spring looking healthy and hale.

Eating Healthy

Much like yourself, one of the most important things you can do for your trees is to make sure they are eating healthy. While for you that might mean cutting back on greasy burgers and adding more fruits and vegetables, for trees that primarily means mulching. Mulch, in its simplest form, is any organic (and sometimes, inorganic) material laid down on top of the soil as a cover. It helps the soil retain moisture and in most cases adds nutrients. In addition, the mulch acts like a blanket for the tree’s root system, keeping it warm and healthy during the extreme cold months. The nice thing about mulch is that it can be created using the materials you already have at home, namely, leaves. Instead of shipping them away in a leaf bag, save them, add water and let them sit for a couple of weeks. The resulting mixture makes for a wonderfully nutrient-rich drink for the trees. Now is also the time to monitor the water intake of trees, because a winter water drought can be almost as harmful as a summer one. Water them appropriately when the temps are still above freezing and you won’t have to worry about it later on.

A Little Off the Top

This is the perfect time to prune your trees. Pruning and trimming are practices that should be carried out through the entire year, but autumn is the perfect time to do so for several reasons. For one, the trees are dormant in hibernation, making any cutting you do potentially less harmful. For another, you can actually see the structure of the tree, so you will know where to make the cuts. Pruning relieves stress on certain parts of the tree, something that might be exacerbated by snow and ice, so do not neglect it. If you don’t feel comfortable making these kinds of cuts, trimming and pruning are just a couple of the many tree services offered by the professionals here at the Parke Company.

Autumn is coming to a close, but it is not over yet and now is the time to make sure things are in order when it comes to your trees. By ensuring they have a healthy diet and are properly trimmed, you can count on happy and healthy trees, and it never hurts to have a step up on the competition come spring.

All That’s Left are the Leaves

It’s that time of the year again in Nashville, when looking out your window leads to images of a ragged-looking lawn covered in the dead and dying, instead of the nice, tidy, and trim emerald grass you are used to seeing. Yes, we are living in the days of autumn, when the leaves are falling in full force, leading to weekends spent cleaning up waste instead of doing literally anything else. This might not be a problem when you have a small area to clean up, but even that can take hours. Now imagine how much time it will take to cover a large area, and that is just dealing with the leaves. There has to be an easier way to makes things look nice! Luckily for you, there is. We here at the Parke Company are professionals at making life easier, because if there is one thing we learned from our youth, it is to “work smarter, not harder.” With that in mind, here are some ways to ease your mind about the amount of yard work the fall season brings.

Mowing Down the Competition

When it comes to dealing with leaves, the gold standard has always been the simple, humble rake, and while there are some positives to raking, like the amount of time you get to spend outside, breathing the fresh cool air, it can be a real pain. Plus you have to bag the leaves up afterwards, and you end up spilling a lot of them on the ground and need to do the whole thing all over again (although we here at the Parke Company are happy to remove the leaf bags for you). There is a better way however, and that is to use a mower. Now I know that sounds like it would make more of a mess, but if you get a mower with a mulch bag on it, you can save the mulch and use it again as a nutrient-rich additive when it comes time to plant things in the spring.

Getting High

The important thing to remember when mowing with a mulch bag is to make sure the blades are not too low to the ground. At this point in the year the grass has stopped growing, so cutting it too close to the ground can cause irreparable damage to the grass underneath. Set the blades on the mower to the highest setting so you know you’re only going to mow up the leaves. If you are concerned about the risks, you might want to look into the landscaping services offered by the Parke Company, although you should do it quickly, as this is a busy time of the year for us.

We understand that raking leaves, either into those heavy duty bags or into a big pile for jumping into, is one of those time-honored fall traditions. We are big believers in honoring traditions, but this is one of those times when you need to think about what is best for you and your lawn. Mowing and mulching is definitely the more efficient option, but raking is not bad either, as it still gets the leaves up and away.