Springtime Seasonal Landscaping Maintenance in Nashville

Garden

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.

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

Tree Stem

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.

 

Nashville, Now is the Time for Tree Trimming

Mossy Tree

Late winter, before the first spring growth, is the best time to trim most trees and prune shrubs. Wounds are only exposed a short time before new growth begins accelerating the healing process. There’s another practical reason for tree trimming in late winter. Bare branches give the arborist a better view of the tree’s structure, allowing for more accurate pruning decisions.

Speaking of arborists, Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service, the Parke Company, is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and is staffed with ISA Certified Arborists. Trimming mature trees should be left to the professionals. Inaccurate trimming, particularly to the crown, can cause serious damage or even the loss of a mature tree.

Tree Trimming Basics

Tree pruning isn’t done just to improve aesthetics. It can be a lot more complicated than that, and that’s why you want a professional doing it. The health of the tree, the health of the lawn beneath the tree, and the tree’s interference with structures or risk of wind damage all play a role in making tree trimming decisions.

On mature trees, the crown receives most of the pruning attention. Focus is placed on the extremities of the crown to keep a shape unique to the species. Trimming in close to the stem is usually done only to remove dead or dying limbs, or to allow more light to penetrate the crown and reach the grass at the base of the tree.

Limbs are also pruned back to avoid contact with structures or power lines. Prudent tree trimming significantly reduces wind resistance, lowering the risk of storm damage.

Common Types of Pruning

  • Crown Thinning. On young trees, this is the selective removal of branches throughout the crown. It promotes good health by letting light get to interior branches, providing good air movement, and removing weak branches. 
  • Crown Raising. This is usually done on mature trees. Lower branches are pruned to “raise” the crown above turf, sidewalks, or streets.
  • Crown Reduction. When done properly, crown reduction is not crown “topping,” which should be avoided if possible. Crown reduction involves removing branches that are immediately above lateral branches, leaving no stub. This reduces the height of the tree without the hazards associated with “topping.” When a tree is topped (basically cutting off the top branches and stem) it exposes the tree to sun damage and insect infestation. It also causes a myriad of small and weak branches to grow, which have the potential to break or snap off, causing damage below.

A tree trimmer has to understand the “anatomy” of the tree being trimmed to avoid causing it serious harm. Only entrust a certified arborist to perform this task on your trees.

As we said earlier, now is a great time to prune your trees, and we invite you to call the Parke Company to arrange an inspection of your property. Give us a call today and we will have an ISA certified arborist visit and prepare an affordable estimate to take care of your “forest,” even if it’s a single tree.

After the Storm – Correcting Tree Damage

storm debris stuck in tree

Strong winter winds and trees are not compatible. Toss in the weight of ice and snow and trees have to struggle to remain intact and in place. Too often the overwhelming forces of nature will damage your trees, possibly seriously, and when that happens, the crew from Nashville’s leading tree service fires up the equipment and responds.

Emergency tree service focuses first on correcting dangerous conditions. The Parke Company will remove trees leaning on structures, clear and remove trees and limbs from driveways, and prune or remove trees that might represent a risk of personal injury.

Our objective is to address the emergency conditions quickly. Storms usually mean that everybody needs help all at the same time. Our first priority is our clients, but we have the tree specialists, wood chippers, and other equipment to assist others as well.

Inspecting for Hidden Problems

Once the immediate problems are resolved, we recommend a survey of the rest of the trees by one of our arborists. Each tree should be inspected for root health, cracks, crown damage, and signs of disease.

Treatment recommendations on storm damaged trees will depend on the type of damage, tree health, species of tree, and potential for a recurrence of failure. Where tree trimming is required to restructure the crown, the tree will frequently require a series of pruning sessions over a number of years to bring it back to a desirable shape and strong structure.

Trees less than 20 feet high that are “leaning” can often be corrected by using cables, guys, and bracing to straighten and strengthen the plant. Typically the braces and guys are removed after a single growing season. Larger trees in the leaning category have to be carefully evaluated because they represent a likely risk for future falling.

The one positive that winter provides is that it makes it easier to evaluate a tree’s structure. With no leaves to contend with, an inspection for cracked branches, splits in stems, and shifting of root plate are far easier to do. However, the inspections should not end just because the storm is over.

Storms cause stress to trees, often creating cracks and damaging bark that can be missed in an inspection. When the thaw comes and growing season begins, those cracks can be open doors for insect infestations. An inspection at the start of spring will determine if the tree needs to be treated.

Mulching, fertilizer, and adequate irrigation will also assist a tree in recovering from a strong storm. Trees are a treasure. They are worth the effort to keep them alive and well.

Taking Advantage of Storm Damage

One silver lining can be had from a winter storm that damages your trees.

After the inspection, a general cleanup is usually performed, removing fallen branches and debris that is littering the lawn. If you like, and if the trees are appropriate, we can provide you with wood chip mulch using the tree parts we have cleaned up. If tree removal was part of the process, we can provide split firewood as well.

Time to Get Your Lawn Into Shape With a Topiary

topiary trees

If you have a yard lacking that special something that sets it apart from all the rest, there is a unique eye catcher you might want to look into. There is an endless amount of customization available, so even if someone else on your block has the same idea, the odds of coming up with the same design are almost nil. Yes, perhaps adding a topiary to your existing landscape is just what you need to put the look of your lawn over the top, so to speak. A topiary, in its most basic form, is just any number of bushes or trees that have been cut in such a way to grow into various shapes and sizes. It’s a practice that’s been around at least since the time of the Romans, although it has its roots in the Far East as well. We here at the Parke Company are well known for our landscaping services, because we take inspiration from every corner of the world, and also the history book.

Getting Started

As with all landscaping projects, the first thing you need to do is decide what shape the topiary will be in. If you want something a little more low key or one that has a less flashy visual flair, just design one with a basic geometric look, something like a globe or a square or a nestled pyramid. These designs are classic, and since they’re traditionally not something you tend to see popping up naturally, it makes for a nice change of pace when looking upon your yard. They also mix things up in terms of vertical variety, since topiaries can vary in size. The other option is to make something resembling an animal or a person. There is a little more work involved, but it does makes things a bit more fun. For example, a topiary in the shape of a butterfly in an area where they are known to congregate is a nice touch, while incorporating one in the shape of an octopus near or even in a pool is a good idea. A related concept is to use the basic principles of the topiary to make a hedge, or a garden wall around the perimeter of your yard.

Putting in the Work

Once you’ve decided on a design, the next step is to figure out what plant you will use. You want something that grows well and can handle being trimmed regularly. Most bushes work well for this, as they do not require a lot of maintenance beyond the usual watering and pruning. This is where the qualified arborists here at the Parke Company come in, as they’ll be able to find the perfect plant for the job. It’s just one of the more specialized tree services we provide. It is important to remember that topiaries do require a constant eye, because once things start to grow over, it doesn’t take a lot of time for your once nice and trim object to grow into something that can make your lawn look unkempt, kind of the opposite effect you are going for.

Topiaries are probably not for everyone, due to the work that goes into designing and building them. It is something that we here at the Parke Company are happy to do, so if a custom designed and shaped bush is exactly the thing you need to make your landscape perfect, give us a call today and we can get started.