Tree Removal – Don’t Be Too Quick to Make the Decision

Trees are one of nature’s most beautiful gifts. Even a single tree located on your Nashville property has a special attraction to humans. Their grace and strength give them a character that we can connect with. They represent continuity and stability, something missing in modern chaotic life. They give us shade in the summer and put on a show in the autumn. Losing one is like losing an old friend. But at times, trees can present a serious risk to people and property within their reach. Trees seriously damaged by storms or disease are going to fall down. Because they are big and heavy, if they fall on a roof, a car, or a family member, there’s going to be serious damage. The most common way of dealing with this risk is tree removal.

5 Signs it May Be Time to Remove a Tree

Removing a tree is an extreme step. We can’t overemphasize the need to have an arborist, like the ISA certified arborists at Nashville’s leading landscaping service, the Parke Company, inspect the tree first. However, there are signs that a tree may be in trouble, and you can use those tips as the trigger to call the arborist.

  1. Rough, upturned soil under the canopy of the tree and particularly at the base of the trunk.
  2. The growth of mushrooms at the base of the trunk. These decay-producing fungi are easy to spot.
  3. Excessive chipped or peeling bark in the trunk.
  4. Dead or hanging branches located in the upper portion of the crown.
  5. Twigs on the end of branches that don’t have a living bud.
  6. Remember that these are just signs, not absolute proof that warrants the removal of a tree. If you see these signs, it’s time to call us.

If you can keep a tree, you can continue to benefit from its presence. Removing a tree and disposing of the debris can be a labor-intensive and expensive proposition. It’s not just a matter of cutting down a tree. That tree needs to be cut into lengths, a stump grinder needs to remove the trunk and roots, and a wood chipper is required to clean up the debris.

An arborist is in a position to recommend strategies to keep the injured tree. Those strategies might include pest and disease treatments and/or specific pruning. An arborist is the best person to tell you what path to follow.

Don’t Be Fooled by a Leaning Tree

Don’t jump to the conclusion that a tree is falling down just because it’s leaning. Trees will “lean” naturally to get more sunlight. If a tree is close to a structure, or too close to another tree, it will change the direction of the trunk to get a better shot at the sun. If a tree is leaning because of wind damage, you need a visit by the arborist. Often, trees that have been bent by wind can be recovered through cabling and bracing. Getting reseated takes a fair amount of time but you can save the tree and avoid the expense of tree removal.

If you have trees that you are concerned about, give us a call today and we can arrange for a certified arborist from the Parke Company to visit your property.


Do’s and Don’ts for DIY Holiday Lighting Outdoors

Please Note: The Parke Company is not offering installation services this season. 

At the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service organization, we know our way around decorating outdoor trees. In fact, this year it was the Parke Company that cut and helped decorate the 35-year-old, 35-foot Norway spruce used for the State of Tennessee’s Christmas tree at the state capitol in Nashville.

Decorated Christmas Tree

When done right, outdoor Christmas lighting can be awe inspiring, creating the perfect backdrop for the season’s spirit. It can spread that spirit to the entire neighborhood. But all it takes is one home to drag that seasonal joy down.

You know which one we mean. It’s the house with the fuse-busting display of 10,000 multicolored lights that blink in time to Christmas carols, and has the giant, inflatable Santa Claus on the front lawn. It’s the homeowner who strongly believes that “more is better,” and who measures the success of his display by how fast his electricity meter spins rather than the actual appearance.

With a little common sense, and a few tips from Nashville’s tree trimmers, you can avoid becoming your neighborhood’s Clark Griswold from “Christmas Vacation.”

LED Versus Conventional Christmas Lights

Technologically, LED lights have come a long way. Originally, LED bulbs gave off a blue tint, a “cool light” that most people didn’t care for. Today, if you select LED lights marked “warm” you will receive bright, full colored light that rivals any form of incandescent lighting.

Of course, they are environmentally friendly, using next to nothing in electrical power. They are also more reliable than conventional lights and last significantly longer.

The downside to LED lights is their cost. The initial outlay will be significantly higher than conventional lights. Over time, however, LEDs may prove to be the better investment.

The big advantage of traditional lights is cost. Prices have dropped significantly over the past decade. Because you are not terribly concerned if a string of conventional lights is damaged, taking them off trees becomes easier. If you use a professional to decorate and take down decorations, cutting the traditional string of lights rather than trying to unwrap it from a branch will save you a significant amount of labor costs.

Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Outdoor Lighting

There are some basic “rules of the road” to consider when decorating outdoors. Follow these and the odds of a successful decorating project increase substantially.

  • Do: Have a plan before you begin. Check your inventory and the location of your power sources to ensure have enough of both to carry out the plan. Also consider how you are going to take down the display after the holidays.
  • Don’t: Mix LED and conventional lights. They don’t give off the same hue and will stand out like a sore thumb. If you do use both, use them on different sections, i.e. house and trees.
  • Do: Use more lighting if your house sits back from the road to enhance curb appeal. You don’t have to go “Griswold” but if you want people to see it, you need to go a little heavier with the lighting. If you use LED lights you won’t need as many. Their extra bright light will help you keep down your tree trimming cost.
  • Do: Leave at least a foot of space between the edges of your driveway and any staked lighting you are using to outline it. This will avoid problems if a car goes off the edge while trying to back out in the dark.
  • Do: Outline the architectural features of your home. Roof lines, peaks, gables, and porches can help give depth to the display. Electric candles in windows add a classic touch and a little variety to just string lights.
  • Do: Use pre-lit garland and wreaths on doors.
  • Do: And this should have been number two on the list, get your spouse’s agreement on the plan before you begin.
  • Don’t: Use all green or red lights. This is your home, not a commercial enterprise.
  • Don’t: Use as many lights if you are decorating with LED bulbs. LED lights are significantly brighter than conventional.

With a little planning you can make this year’s tree trimming project the best ever.

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.

Let’s Get Festive: Decorating Tips for the Holidays

home Christmas lights at night

October is the beginning of the holiday season. You have Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, and then right on into Christmas and New Year’s, to say nothing of all of the little extra family gatherings that exist along the way. While it’s nice to decorate for the seasons, and a little bit of holiday cheer can be just the thing to take your lawn to the next level, it can also wreak havoc on the health of your plants and grass. Keeping everything nice and healthy is something that we here at the Parke Company believe is crucial, not just because a healthy lawn is something that will make you happy, but also because you have spent so much time working on it all year, why stop now? With that in mind, here are some tips to make your yard look holiday-appropriate, while also maintaining the proper level of care for the green and the growing.

Light and Fluffy

Possibly the most important thing you can do to make sure your lawn is not damaged is taking a look at the weight of any decorations you set out. The heavier they are, the more damaging it will be to the grass underneath it. If (and possibly when) it snows, this issue will be compounded even further because there is no way for the grass to get any air and it will die, leaving large, ugly yellow patches come spring. So, while the Nativity scene probably looks nice, it might be better suited somewhere else than the front yard.

If you do want to keep the statutes and other decorations up, try for something lighter. This also goes for the trees. Hanging anything heavy from them, or anything that has the potential to get icy and heavier – such as a string of Christmas lights – can put too much stress on the tree, leading to potential damage. Preparing for this by trimming the tree and checking for branch stability first is a must.

Light it Up

Something else to think about is the lighting. Using a lot of lighting, such as string lights or LED projectors, might look nice but they can be a drain on your energy bill. Plus you run the risk of an electrical fire, especially if it is a traditionally dry Nashville fall, where everything is brittle and ready to blaze up at a given moment. One way to avoid this is to check the connections on any lighting you use to make sure it’s safe. Of course, if your lawn is properly watered on a regular basis, like through the use of irrigation, that also helps minimize the damage.

The holiday season is a great way to try some new landscaping design techniques, but it can also be an easy time to forget what makes for the best lawns: a healthy and conscientious approach. Remember to keep the health of your lawn in mind when decorating this holiday season, as it will pay great dividends come spring.

Time to Get Rid of That Tree: Tips For Removing Unwanted Stumps, Branches and Trunks

cutting limbs with a chainsaw

It’s getting late in the summer, which means that the number of free days available for summer projects is dwindling. Sure, the heat and generally warm climate here in Nashville and the mid-Tennessee area means residents have more time than most, but do you really want to try to fit in removing that pesky stump come football season? Trees tend to be one of the more overlooked areas, especially when it comes to removal. It’s something the professionals here at the Parke Company take pride in, knowing exactly how much to trim and when to turn it into firewood, which is why we’ve put together this guide about tree and stump removal.

Know What You’ll Need and Why You’re Doing it

The first thing you’ll need to think about if you are going to handle this tree yourself is what kind of tools you’ll need. For larger projects, like cutting down a tree completely, you will probably need a chainsaw, as well as safety glasses or goggles. For a smaller project, such as pruning or clipping some of the smaller branches, you will likely be fine with little hand-held clippers. Make sure the area around the tree you’re working on is clear of any overhead obstructions, such as telephone wires, and make sure you know which direction you plan on having the tree fall.

If you plan on pruning, a little bit goes a long way. Taking care of some of the smaller offshoots is a good way to clean up the general look of the tree and even change its perceived height. However, if you cut the larger branches or one of the main offshoots, it could cause irreparable harm to the tree, inviting something like rot or other diseases to take root. Since there are a lot of ways a project of this undertaking could go wrong, it is recommended to let one of the professionals here at the Parke Company handle it so you know the job will get done right.

Now What?

You’re probably wondering what you can do with the tree after it’s fallen, or how to take care of the stump. The tree itself, or any branch cuttings, can easily be turned into firewood, or if it is a nice wood, turned into some great homemade projects. Reusing the wood in this way not only helps the environment, but also adds a nostalgic touch to anything made out of the tree. As for the stump, well, they can be pretty annoying with their stubbornness and refusal to willingly leave the ground. Plus, if it is ripped out of the ground while still connected to other root systems, it could damage them. It’s best left to someone used to stump removal.

Luckily, the arborists and tree surgeons here at the Parke Company are skilled at all sorts of tree maintenance, both at homes and for businesses. After all, with the sheer number of ways tree services could go wrong, wouldn’t it be better to let someone who knows what they’re doing – and actually enjoys it – to take care of it? We certainly think so.