How to Handle Ice and Snow Safely (and When to Get Help!)

the parke company snow removal

In Nashville we don’t get a ton of snow and ice, but we get enough. When it does come, one of the biggest challenges is to clear porches, sidewalks, and driveways to prevent slip and falls and get the car safely in and out of the garage.

So, who does this? Some of our clients have longer, tree-lined driveways, others have more traditional lengths. In both cases, clearing ice and snow will be a challenge, one they may decide to take on themselves or find some help.

At the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service, we know a little about snow removal. While we don’t offer “snow mitigation,” we’ve dealt with the aftermath, which unfortunately can result in removing a tree damaged by sloppy use of deicer.

We’d like to pass along a few tips on how to handle snow and ice to ensure your paved surfaces are safe without doing damage to your plants, trees, and lawn.

the parke company snow removal

Snow Removal with Heart

When we talk about heart, we mean yours. If you opt to shovel, snow blow, or spread deicer, there are a few things you should be aware of. First, shoveling snow can either be great exercise or trigger a heart attack. Nashville ERs staff up when it snows because they know they will have a rush of coronary emergencies to deal with.

If you don’t regularly exercise, now is not the time to start. Make arrangements for a snow removal service to tend to the chore. Cold weather drives blood pressure up and cold air rapidly dehydrates the body. Toss in repeatedly lifting shovel loads of snow or pushing a heavy blower and you have the makings of a heart attack.

If you feel pain or “squeezing” in your chest, pain radiating down your left arm, jaw pain, shortness of breath, or you break out in a cold sweat, quit, go inside, and call 911.

Preparation

The best way to defeat ice is to prepare paved surfaces before the ice actually arrives. Keep an eye on the weather report and when snow or ice is in the forecast, prep your surfaces. If you want to go totally “green,” spread wood chips, straw, or gravel to encourage traction. After the ice arrives, you can spread sand on top. However, all of these “green” solutions need to be cleaned up after the ice thaws.

Deicers are the most common method of clearing snow and ice, and this is where you can do some real damage. One of the favorite deicers is sodium chloride, AKA rock salt. It’s popular because it’s dirt cheap. Salt is a corrosive, and it is capable of burning a pet’s paws as well as killing any grass or bushes that come in contact from the runoff.

Alternatives to rock salt include potassium chloride, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride. All three are pet and plant friendly. Unfortunately, all three are more expensive than rock salt. The good news is, after a few short months spring will arrive and we at the Parke Company can get back to tree trimming, tree planting and other landscaping tasks. Until then, we wish you a safe and enjoyable winter season.

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.

Cleaning up the streets: Municipal services for you

storm debris stuck in tree

As anyone who lives in Nashville can tell you, the weather is pretty unpredictable. Despite the best efforts of our local meteorologists, trying to plan your day can be difficult when you were expecting a nice sunny day and get a thunderstorm straight out of the book of Revelation. Keeping that in mind, imagine how difficult it must be for cities around the Middle Tennessee area when it comes to dealing with storms and the damage they cause. It’s one of the reasons we at the Parke Company offer municipal services such as cleaning up storm damage, tree removal and taking away bagged leaves and other refuse.

A Mighty Mighty Wind

Storms are pretty impressive, from a non-biased point of view. The amount of raw power and energy they convey can leave even the most steadfast amongst us speechless. A recent storm that ravaged the Middle-Tennessee area left almost 3,000 people without power for hours, and the 2-inch sized-hail did thousands of dollars worth of damage. After a storm, it is very important for things to get back to normal as soon as possible, and when you’re dealing with storms and damage on that kind of scale, it is going to be difficult for many smaller towns and even larger cities, such as Belle Meade and Forest Hills, to mobilize their public works departments to get to all of the damage in time. It’s one of the reasons that one of the most popular services offered here at the Parke Company is cleaning up after storm damage.

Whether that means cleaning up trees blocking roads or other emergency procedures, when the rain starts falling and the thunder starts clashing, you’ll be glad you have our services.

Helping out

Of course not all of our services will be used in such dire services. We at the Parke Company also offer services that will affect the day-to-day life and general well being of your city, including clearing away unwanted brush and taking away unwanted leaves. Both are key to upping the curbside appeal of residential homes, and a nice lawn goes a long way to positively impact a business’s first impression. Of course the benefits go beyond that; in most cases, approved materials are going to get turned into mulch, which then is reintroduced into the ecosystem, helping the next generation grow green and healthy. When combined with our very own mulching services, it makes for a very potent one-two combination that is sure to knock out any landscaping issues you never knew you had.

While we at the Parke Company are well known for the services we provide to private citizens and businesses, our municipal services are pretty handy for cities and smaller towns as well, since we handle a lot of things that you might not be equipped to deal with. Whether it be removing a pesky fallen tree blocking a road, or turning those rotting leaves into helpful mulch, the Parke Company is only a call or email away from turning the next disaster into a non-issue.

An Interview with Parke Browne

image of sky and fall trees

At the Parke Company, we have a passion for trees.  We believe that trees enrich people’s lives in many important ways.  This belief is strongly instilled through the visionary, and inspirational leader of our company, Mr. Parke Brown.  In a recent interview, Mr. Brown took some time to discuss the amazing power of trees and the beautiful role they play in an individual or a family’s life.

“People attach great meaning to planting a tree and watching it grow,” says Parke Browne, city arborist for the town of Forest Hills and owner of the Parke Company.  “You become part of it. It means something when it starts to grow.  Trees become part of the family.”  This personal connection to the care and nurture of trees is a foundational belief for Mr. Parke and informs every approach the Parke Company brings to its many tree services.

“They provide a reminder of the past and a look ahead to the future. They add honor and dignity to our lives.”  This approach seems to guide Mr. Brown’s passion for his work and causes him to strive to offer the best to his family and the clients that he serves.  Being a certified member of ISA (International Society of Arboriculture), he brings not only a personal passion to his work but a highly skilled and expertly trained touch.

Not only do trees provide an emotional and personal connection to a landscape but Mr. Parke points out that they also “give structure to your property and become a part of your home, bringing aesthetic as well as monetary value”.  Adding trees to your landscape can be an investment that pays off for a lifetime.

It seems like the personal connection is the motivating factor for Mr. Brown though.  “Sometimes new home owners will begin a ‘family’ of trees in the yard, just like starting a family of children,” he says.  Mr. Brown talks about a family that gave names to the trees they had planted.  “They were always calling the trees by name when they talked about them.  ‘Jenny looks like she has some new growth coming out.  Johnny is a little droopy; maybe he needs water,’” Mr. Brown recalls amusingly.  This is the kind of passion that Parke Brown can identify with.

“Trees reflect the circle of life and remind us that time moves very quickly in hindsight.  They stand as an inheritance, letting you leave something behind that outlives you and continues to provide beauty.”  Mr. Brown sees great wisdom in trees and is passionate about learning the lessons they provide.  “Trees teach us about people,” he said. “A tree doesn’t have to be the biggest or strongest or have the largest leaf.  All have their own value and contributions.”

Maybe it’s time to care for those trees in your landscape, or perhaps you would like to add something new to mark a special life event.  At Parke, we understand the importance that your landscape can have.  Contact us to start making your dreams into a reality.

Three Parke Services for Your Playground This Summer

Everyone, stay calm: summer is almost here. That means plenty of time outside enjoying the sun and beautiful Nashville landscape. As children begin their summer breaks, be sure backyards and playgrounds are ready for tons of activities. Obviously, you want your children to be safe, sturdy and protected. So don’t wait until it’s too late! Make your landscape and backyard playground as beautiful and safe as possible.

Not sure where to get started? Here are three of Parke’s services your playground or backyard (and you) can benefit from this summer:

Tree Care Analysis

We don’t know about you, but climbing trees was one of our favorite activities growing up. Is your tree safe enough to climb or swing? Do you have old tree houses built on trees but they haven’t been checked all winter long? Climbing trees can be a lot of fun but if the branches are weak it can be very dangerous, especially with the severe weather Nashville has had lately. Have Parke come out to do a full tree care analysis to determine if the tree is safe to climb or to hold swings and tree houses. No one should climb any trees where the branches or trunk appear to be damaged. When in doubt, contact an arborist at Parke to be sure.

Mulching/Chipping
If you’re a planner, you probably already have your flowers beds mulched and ready to go. But did you know our mulching and chipping services be a part of other areas of your landscape? Parke has chipped wood products available for all kinds of landscape needs such as walking trails and playgrounds. Call our team out to lay fresh chips around your swingset or near your trees where you children play. This not only enhances the overall look of your landscape, but it makes for a much safer environment.

Irrigation
What better feeling than lush, green grass beneath your feet? That’s where irrigation comes in. With healthy grass comes a much more beautiful lawn and enjoyable summer. Whether your irrigation system is near or far from where you and your children might play, it’s a great way to keep your grass and landscape looking healthy all summer long.

If you’re ready for summer, make sure your trees and landscape are ready, too. Always make sure your trees are sturdy and safe. In addition, check that all of your landscape has the necessary mulching, chipping and irrigation it needs before summer comes in full force. For more information about our tree care or landscape services, contact one of our arborists or crew members today!