Emergency Tree Service: How Fast Response Times Will Save You Money

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Nashville has more than its fair share of wind storms. In fact, in 2016, Nashville was cited as the windiest city in the country, with 11 serious wind-related events. Inevitably, when the wind seriously kicks up, some Nashville trees will be knocked down. Snapped limbs and uprooted trees can create seriously dangerous situations and destroy property. When that happens, you are going to want a qualified tree service to be able to respond quickly and stabilize the situation.

For more than 30 years, homeowners, businesses, and even municipalities have been calling The Parke Company for emergency tree service. We have the resources, and more importantly, the specialized staff to rapidly respond to tree emergencies. Rapid response can defuse dangerous conditions and prevent or minimize additional damage to property.

Operationally, emergency tree service presents the most challenges to a professional landscape services. The need is immediate, and more importantly, not everyone is trained in how to safely drop a split bough or an entire tree. At The Parke Company, emergency tree service has become an important part of our business, and we are staffed with the experts to handle the task.

What Rapid Response Means for Municipalities

When bad weather hits, it doesn’t discriminate. Homes, businesses, and communities alike all take a hit. But for municipalities and counties, the challenges that fallen trees and dangerous limbs present can have a wider effect on the safety and economy of the community than any individual house or shop. If streets are blocked, if power lines are threatened by dangerous trees, or if storm drains are clogged by wind debris, a town can experience serious issues.

Clearing roads is a priority. A community can have excellent emergency services, but if their vehicles can’t reach where they need to go, it’s the same as if those services didn’t exist. The net result leaves medical assistance, fire departments, and police severely restricted in the services they can render. While not a municipal emergency service, repair crews from utilities are also essential to mitigating dangerous conditions and hastening recovery. Like emergency services, they can’t do their job if they can’t get to where they need to go.

And there’s another cost for the community. After the event, the municipality’s ability to get things back to normal will be evaluated by the residents. A town with a responsible, well-executed emergency response plan will gain a positive reputation, while one that doesn’t may be looking for new management.

At The Parke Company, we are exceptionally proud to have been selected by several communities, including Belle Meade and Forest Hills, to provide landscaping services. Those services include emergency tree service, storm damage, brush clearing, and leaf bag pickup. Our reputation, proven work quality, and ability to work within fixed budgets has made The Parke Company a go-to resource for municipalities.

What Rapid Emergency Tree Service Means for a Homeowner

If a storm has created a need for emergency tree service at your home, a fast, professional response by trained experts can end a potentially dangerous and damaging event. Minimizing damage, and most importantly, rendering a home safe, can save significantly on the potential cost of the event.

The biggest challenge facing a homeowner needing emergency tree service is, well, the fact that it’s an emergency. You need help now. If the wind event was areawide, there are going to be plenty of your neighbors with the same need. Demand for tree service may outstrip supply. If you don’t already have a relationship with a qualified emergency tree service, you may find yourself waiting and paying a premium when the crew does show up.

At The Parke Company, we believe the best way to save money on emergency tree service is to minimize the need for it before a storm hits. We’ll talk about that more later.

Keeping Emergency Tree Service Affordable

The way we keep our emergency costs competitive is our triage approach to emergency tree service for our customers. We send out teams that deal with threatening or blocking trees. They deal with trees that are leaning on structures, across utility lines (with coordination of power company), or blocking access. Then they are off to the next call and will return with the equipment and crew needed to do a cleanup.

Using this triage technique allows us to provide our customers the immediate assistance they require to remedy an unsafe condition or access to their property. The follow-up visit takes place when things are calmer and a full complement of equipment can be deployed.

While we are there, we highly recommend that one of our certified arborists evaluate the condition of any remaining trees. If a tree is a likely candidate for removal, we can accomplish that while we are onsite. When we are done, all of the tree debris will have been removed or chipped into mulch.

Not surprisingly, we have a lot of experience with insurance companies, and we are happy to assist you in submitting your claim. We have worked with most of the companies who write homeowner insurance in the Nashville area.

Common Mistakes Made in Emergency Tree Service Situations

Storm damage can be unsettling. Many times, a home represents the largest single investment a family has, and their desire to inspect and protect their house after a storm is understandable. However, many times that desire to protect the castle overrides more effective thinking. Here is just a small sample of bad behaviors and actions to avoid during an emergency tree service event:

 

  • Be a witness, not a victim. Trees that appear solidly supported, or stuck fast on the ground, often shift or roll, causing personal injury or worse. Don’t attempt tree removal yourself. Let our expert arborists check it out. Stay clear and keep passersby clear as well. If you have a downed power line, report it to the power company immediately.
  • Beware the expert with a chainsaw. Unfortunately, when there is a big demand for emergency tree services, some people represent themselves as qualified tree experts because they own a chainsaw and a pickup truck. Before you engage anyone who is soliciting you, ask for a business license and a certificate of insurance.
  • Avoid insurance feuds. Insurance coverage is complicated, and it can get even more complicated if your neighbor’s tree blows over and damages your covered property, or vice versa. The key to coverage is the health of the tree. If a tree was healthy, the policy that covers the damaged property will pay for the damages (less the deductible) regardless of who the tree belongs to. However, if the tree was diseased, the question of liability is not clear. A report from a certified arborist can provide an accurate evaluation of a tree.

How to Minimize the Cost of Emergency Tree Service

At The Parke Company, we are ready to respond to your need for emergency tree service, but we are also ready to help you minimize the odds of you ever needing it. The best way to avoid the expense, danger, and inconvenience that storm-damaged trees can bring is to take preventative steps before the storm hits. For more information on those steps, check out our emergency tree service blog.

The bottom line is this: Your landscape is an investment, just like your house. It requires maintenance to keep its value. If your carpet is getting thin, you will replace it. If the exterior paint is peeling, you will be on the phone with a painting contractor. The reason you take these actions is because you can see the problem and you want to protect your investment.

With trees, you often can’t see the problem until nearly all the value is gone. Trees get old, they get sick, and they get wounded. Often you don’t notice these problems until a strong wind blows them over, or a piece simply falls off.

If you take advantage of the tree and landscaping services that we provide, you can rest assured that your outdoor investment is being maintained as well as your home investment. Call us today and let’s talk about ways we can get your outdoor assets contributing to the overall value of your property.

Emergency Tree Service – Recovery from a Storm Begins Before it Arrives

Hurricane Felix

Nashville is no stranger to violent weather. Hail and wind or even a freak snowstorm can substantially disrupt personal and business lives. While we don’t get hurricanes, we do get winds that are strong enough to uproot trees or snap off limbs and strip trees of foliage.

Yes, we get wind, but did you know that according to the CoreLogic® Windy City Index, in 2016 Nashville was the windiest city in the country with 21 wind related events? The metropolitan area experienced wind gusts of 72 mph that year.

When those events occur, it can create chaos. Trees will fall, limbs will snap, power will be lost, roadways – not to mention driveways – may be blocked, and the whole thing can become a Class A Emergency if first responders are hampered by debris.

You may think you are prepared, but our decades of experience at the Parke Company have taught us that there is always something more you can do.

An Extreme Example Nashville Can Learn From

When Hurricane Irma, a CAT 4 storm with sustained winds of 110 mph, made landfall in Naples, FL in 2017, residents expected the worst. Electrical power was out for ten days. It took two weeks before the water system was again safe enough to drink from the tap. Those were long periods of inconvenience, and in some cases, danger. But the longest and most persistent reminder of Irma was the four months it took to remove “natural debris.”

That “natural debris” consisted of uprooted trees, tree limbs, shrubs, and bushel after bushel of leaves. That natural debris initially caused life threatening situations. Not because they were leaning up against structures, but because they blocked roadways, causing serious delays in response times. Ambulances, fire department vehicles, police, and of course critical services like power company crews were severely hampered by trees blocking the highways and residential roads.

Initially, recovery efforts were focused on public roads. Piles of debris 20 and 30 feet high lined the roadways for months. However, that left homeowners (and HOAs) on their own to clear driveways and private roads. For many, that meant they were unable to leave their property except by foot for several days. For everybody, it meant that the sound of chainsaws and tree chippers became the background music for everyday life.

Florida expects this kind of weather. For the people and the government, hurricanes and tropical storms are front of mind from July through October. When Irma hit, some of the best prepared cities and counties in the state were essentially “out of business” for five days, only gradually coming back to “normal” over the next four months.

Nashville does not expect this kind of severe weather, but there is still a lesson to be learned. Communities and property owners need an emergency plan that includes the impact of “natural debris” on the safety and protection of people and property.

Planning for and Recovering from an Emergency Tree Event

When property owners think about their landscaping, it’s usually about how, when, and who will do the lawn maintenance, tree trimming, fertilizing, aerating, and other routine landscaping services. Those same questions should be asked (in advance) when the landscaping is no longer nice and neat but residing in places it shouldn’t, like on top of a car in the driveway or poking through a second-floor window.

To accomplish that, you need a plan:

  • Know what you have. For many homeowners, inventorying their trees can be accomplished on one hand. But for businesses, HOAs in gated communities, and larger estates in Franklin, Brentwood, Gallatin, and other communities, it’s wise to know what is at risk. A survey by a certified arborist can identify, plot, assign an economic replacement value, and evaluate the health of every tree on the property. The arborist can also make recommendations regarding preparation for specific trees. Knowing what the potential dollar cost is at risk, and what can be done to mitigate those risks, is a great starting point to prepare for severe weather.
  • “Who ya gonna call?” If you haven’t decided before the event, you’ll probably be able to get Ghostbusters to respond before you find a qualified landscaper. Severe weather didn’t just hit your lawn. The entire area will have a demand for these companies. Don’t assume your existing landscaping service is equipped to handle your emergency needs.
  • Appreciate the scope of the problem. If you have never been through extreme weather, it’s difficult to appreciate the effort needed to clear tree damage. If you have a mature hardwood like white oak, hickory, cherry, or maple that is 60 feet tall with a 20 inch diameter, it can weigh close to 5 tons. The same size pines will run about 40% of that. That’s a single tree! To clean up and remove 10,000 pounds of debris requires chainsaws, tree chippers, a stump grinder, forklift, high wall truck, and skilled labor that knows how to use it all. Again, that’s for a single tree. Toss in the special skill and equipment required to remove trees leaning on structures or property and you have a requirement for resources not normally found in a “mow and blow” lawn service.

Information is the key to preparing for a tree disaster. The survey conducted by the arborist gives you the base line you need to mitigate the damage and control the costs of that mitigation. Understanding the value of your risk allows you to make informed decisions on what preparation work makes sense (removal of unhealthy trees, cabling, trimming, etc.) and to negotiate contracts in a non-emergency environment.

At the Parke Company, we have extensive experience with emergency tree service. We have the resources, the skilled crews, and the capacity to respond in a timely fashion. If you believe you can benefit from a professional tree disaster plan, give us a call and we can get the process started. Our certified arborist will survey the property and then prepare a step by step process that optimizes recovery.

Take panic out of the equation. Partner with the Parke Company and enjoy the peace of mind that you are ready for the next big blow.

Springtime Weed Control for Nashville Lawns

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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.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Nashville Lawns and Landscaping

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You may think we are jumping the gun a bit talking about spring cleaning in February, but we’re not. If you are serious about getting your lawn and flower beds off to a great start this spring, you need to do some planning. What better time to plan than when the ground is still frozen and winter has put all your plants to sleep?

At the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading source of landscaping services, we don’t do much in the way of lawn maintenance in the winter. What we do is work on maintaining our equipment and plan landscapes for clients in the spring. Brainstorming before you actually tackle a spring cleaning will make the project go smoother and save you some cash as well.

5 Tips on How to Do a Nashville Lawn Spring Cleaning

So let’s take a look at this project with an eye towards what you are going to do and when.

  1. Get inspired. It may be a gloomy day outside, but you need to be thinking about how you want your lawn looking when the warmer days of spring arrive. What shrubs, flowers, or landscape features do you want to add and where? Are you planting perennials or annuals or both? When? For inspiration, you can turn to magazines, scour the internet, or simply walk down the aisles of your favorite home improvement store. Write down what you are going to add, where (sketch a map), and when.
  2. Visualize the end product. Your landscape should complement or contrast with your existing exterior colors and themes. Keep the color and architectural style of your home in mind when you are picking out blooming shrubs and flowers. When thinking about the placement of new shrubs, make sure you are not crowding walkways. Also, is that shrub a shrub or a small tree? Most plants will come with a tag that describes mature heights. You don’t want to block windows.
  3. Ready for some exercise? When the smell of mud is in the air, it’s time for lawn maintenance. Grab some leaf bags, heavy gloves, scissors, a pooper scooper, and your trusty leaf rake and dive in. Scissors are often more efficient in cutting stalks from perennials than pruners. Your rake is your main tool. A good thorough raking will collect all the debris, trash, and feces that have accumulated over the winter. A solid raking will also reduce thatch. This up close and personal time with your lawn will also allow you to spot lawn problems that may have cropped up over the winter months.
  4. Stake out your plan. Use the sketch you made and place stakes to plot out the areas where you will be planting new additions. With stakes in the ground, you’ll be able to better determine the number and placement of plants that you will actually need.
  5. The heavy lifting. Now the real work begins. You’ll want to prepare garden beds by breaking up the soil and adding mulch. If you are creating a new bed, you may want to consider using garden fabric to create a barrier designed to minimize weeds. If you are a believer in chemical fertilizers, apply a weed and feed solution that includes a pre-emergent weed killer.

Give Us a Call

Your next step might be a call to us. Rather than doing the digging and planting, give the tree experts a call and we will be happy to get it done for you. Either way, you’ll be off to a great start for spring 2018.

 

Firepit Placement and Use to Avoid Damaging Trees

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Are you considering adding a firepit to your lawn? Firepits have become increasingly popular in Nashville. They are a great way for a family to share a “campfire” experience without actually having to sleep in a tent out in the woods. They also make great entertainment centers for more sophisticated gatherings.

One of the reasons firepits are enjoying such popularity is the wide range of choices offered by manufacturers. Firepits come in both portable and fixed installations. The price range runs from $200 for a simple steel bowl, wood fueled and portable, to thousands of dollars for a copper bowl, combination gas and wood fuel, permanent installation.

Regardless of the model or type of firepit you select, installation will be easier and safer if you use a professional landscaping service like the Parke Company. Known for our landscaping and tree trimming service, we also have extensive experience in “hardscaping,” or the installation of firepits, water features, gazebos, and more.

Considerations When Installing a Firepit

There are obviously aesthetic considerations when choosing a firepit. You want one that is sized appropriately for your lawn. Too big and your firepit will look like a pagan sacrifice altar. Too small and it will look like a misplaced Weber grill. If you are installing a permanent pit, it’s best if it is constructed from the same materials as your house, if possible.

But there are other, more serious concerns to address, including safe operation of the firepit. In fact, if you live in Nashville there is a regulation that says:

  •        Firepits must be constructed of steel, concrete, clay, or other noncombustible materials;
  •        They must be kept at least 15’ from the dwelling;
  •        They must burn wood or other solid fuels;
  •        The firepit must be attended by a responsible person equipped with a means to immediately extinguish the fire.

If you live outside of Nashville, call your local fire department to see if there are any restrictions.

More Safety Tips for Firepits

Then there are the obvious issues. In Nashville the pit has to be 15’ away from your home, but if that 15’ puts you under a tree or a tree’s overhanging branch, you have to move the pit. Trees represent the biggest threat of fire. The pit will be built on concrete, gravel, brick, or slate, so it won’t overheat and catch fire. However, a spark from a wood log can travel (particularly on a breezy night) and catch a tree on fire.

People like to buy firewood as fuel because you get the crackling, smoke, and aroma of a fireplace fire. Wood fuel comes with its own set of problems, though. Avoid using softwoods like pine and cedar as they have a tendency to “pop” and send embers flying. A hardwood like oak makes the best firewood. Obviously, you’ll need to keep a supply of split wood nearby and feed the fire when needed. Lastly, you need a plan to safely remove and dispose of ashes when the gathering ends.

Seating should be three feet back from the pit, constructed of a non-flammable material, and definitely not include any cushions. A concrete or brick sitting wall is a nice alternative to chairs.

Contact Us!

If you would like advice on planning a firepit, don’t hesitate to call the Parke Company now. We are happy to help!