Landscape Maintenance: Should You Be Using a Different Mulch?

Person's hands with soil

According to the experts at HGTV, one of the best things you can do for your landscape as it pertains to mulch is to simply try a new one! In fact, they also suggest that not having any form of mulch on your property can put you at a serious risk for erosion and sediment runoff.

If you’re already using mulch throughout your property, bravo! But your work shouldn’t stop there. Mulch is certainly not a one size fits all product and over time you may find that the mulch you chose just isn’t up to snuff.  

Here is what you need to know to answer the FAQ: Should you be using a different mulch? 

Erosion and Damage

If you do use mulch and you’ve noticed erosion and soil damage in and around your plant beds or trees, this probably tells you that it’s time for a new mulch. 

Depending on the type of mulch you’ve chosen, you may also notice damage to the quality of soil. Organic mulches continuously decompose which release nitrogen into the soil, providing nutrients to your trees and flowerbeds. If you are using inorganic mulch, the soil quality will likely stay the same or even worsen if it is already unhealthy because there are no nutrients being created by decomposition. 

It stands to reason that–if you want to improve soil quality–you should certainly switch over to an organic mulch. Furthermore, if you find that your organic mulch isn’t yielding the results you seek, talk with a lawn maintenance and landscape professional, like the experts at The Parke Company, to determine precisely what kind of organic mulch will best serve the needs of your property.   


Like any living substance, organic mulch will change over time. You may find that the bright reds and rich browns of your mulch have faded into a lackluster grey. If this is the case, you may want to consider another type of mulch. 

While most professionals agree that a dull looking mulch can still nurture the soil around it, it may be unsightly after 1-2 years (while still effective for 5-6). Depending on your preference, you may opt for an undyed mulch to save yourself from unsightly curb appeal or from having to replace the mulch every other year. 

Along a similar vein, there are so many options for mulch (both organic and inorganic) that you can make this choice based on aesthetic preference as well. From nut shells, to wood chips, to seaweed, you can tailor your mulch to match the appearance of your property and any design you can dream up. 

Chemical Content

According to a UMass report, there is definite cause for concern when it comes to the chemical makeup of some mulches. 

Surprisingly, it is not inorganic mulches that are under scrutiny, but organic mulches sourced from ground-up trees. 

As reported, some now-prohibited wood preservatives contained dangerous chemicals like arsenic, which can seriously compromise the health of your soil. 

Especially in cases where the wood used for much comes from demolition or construction sites, “it has been found that some of the recycled waste wood used for making landscape mulch products is contaminated with various chemicals, such as creosote and CCA (chromated copper arsenate),” according to the UMass report. 

In any case, you shouldn’t need to have a degree in biochemistry to choose a mulch for your yard, nor should you live in fear that you could be contaminating your property. The best step that you can take when you have lawn problems is to consult a professional for landscaping services. 

From simple tasks like raking leaves, tree removal, or helping you select the perfect mulch, the landscaping professionals at The Parke Company have the experience and the skills to meet the unique needs of your property and bring your design dreams to life. 

Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Tree Services: 3 Ways Tree Care Professionals Prevent Tree Decay

Large tree with mossy roots

Tree decay is detrimental for a number of reasons. On one hand, tree removals can be a costly, unwanted procedure. Especially if the tree has been on your property for some time, the last thing you may want is for your beloved arbor to be uprooted. 

On the other hand, tree decay can pose a serious threat to the safety of your home. Damaged, unhealthy trees can be a hazard during storms and run the risk of falling on your home and causing injury to your family or your assets. 

While it may be necessary in some cases to have a tree cut down, prevention is always a better option. Are you curious as to how the tree professionals at The Parke Company can help you prevent tree decay? Here are five ways they can do just that. 

1. Tree Inventory

One of the most common reasons you may find decay in your trees is simply because their issues have gone unnoticed for an extensive period of time. Especially if you have a large property, trees in areas of your yard you don’t frequent, or you oversee a large municipal area your trees may be suffering from neglect. 

A tree inventory is a calculated process conducted by a tree care professional to locate the trees on your property and take stock of their health. In this way, you can ensure that you are keenly aware of any potential health risks to your trees and can tackle problems quickly as they arise before your trees suffer decay. 

While tree inventories are typically conducted for municipal projects, there can also be some value to conducting a smaller tree inventory of your personal property’s landscape. While the chances are that you don’t have trees you are unaware of, you may not necessarily know the intimate details of your trees’ health. A tree inventory yields that helpful data. 

2. Pest Control 

While woodland creatures are often cute and fluffy, they’re also called pests for a reason. Any animal that chooses to make your tree its home puts your landscape at risk for tree decay or advances any existing damage. 

Talk with your landscaping professional about potential barriers for pest deterrence. They will be the most knowledgeable source to help you decide if you should establish a physical barrier, use repellents, or some combination of the two to best protect the health of your trees. 

3. Brush Clearing 

Another proactive way to care for the health of your trees and prevent decay is through frequent lawn maintenance and brush clearing. While dropping leaves and limbs can often be a sign that a tree is in poor health, those piles of brush and foliage also put your trees at risk for even more damage. 

On one hand, piles of brush at the roots of trees are very attractive homes for rodents and other pests which, as previously mentioned, cause great damage to trees. On the other hand, these uncleared piles of brush can also be a source of trapped moisture, which increases the risk of fungus growth at the base of trees. In either case, without proper regular maintenance from a lawn care professional, trees may be at a greater risk for decay. 

When it comes to landscaping services, the needs of your property extend further than just lawn maintenance and raking leaves. To ensure that your property stays safe and healthy, it is vital that you do everything within your power to maintain the health of your trees. 

Lawn care and landscaping can seem like a complicated and overwhelming task, but the most important thing is that you don’t do it alone. The landscaping professionals at The Parke Company have the experience and the skills to meet the unique needs of your property and bring your design dreams to life. 
Give us a call at (615) 350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

How Are Landscaping Clippings Recycled and Reused?

Hands holding a small plant

In the pursuit of creating a greener planet, how you care for your landscape has never been more important. 

While a neighborhood fall cleanup and regular recycling are great ways to care for the needs of the Earth, your landscaping services can also play an instrumental role in helping you foster the health of the planet. 

When most people complete landscaping project, the natural reaction is to bag up clippings and trimmings and leave them out for yard waste services to pick up. What you may not have realized, however, is that the leftovers from your latest landscaping endeavor can actually be reused in important ways. 

When you’re completing your next landscaping project or hiring lawn services, keep these things in mind as you consider how your landscaping clippings can be recycled and reused.  

Tree Waste 

In most circumstances, large tree branches cannot be simply disposed of after tree removal. One thing that tree waste can be exceptionally useful for, however, is mulch. 

This does mean that you will need to ensure your tree removal services will also involve a tree chipper as well. 

When you’re arranging for a tree to be removed from a space on your property, the chips from that tree can be used to help foster growth for new plants around that area or to help bolster the flourishing of plants already there. 

Especially as fall and winter rolls around, tree waste can also make excellent kindling and firewood. Depending on local laws, if you don’t have a fireplace (or just have a lot more wood than you would need) you can also loan out free firewood to friends, or try to turn your tree care into a small profit by selling your excess firewood. 

Lawn Waste

Much like tree trimmings, lawn waste can also make excellent mulch. As long as your haven’t been having significant lawn problems, reusing lawn clippings to better the plant life of your property couldn’t be easier. 

Simply avoid the temptation to bag up your grass clippings!

In the summer, you may want to rake or brush clippings to the margins of your lawn so that you avoid unsightly sunspots in your grass, but capitalizing on the benefits of reusing grass clippings is a low-maintenance way to go green with your landscaping services. 

Garden Waste

One of the most beneficial ways to reuse and recycle landscaping clippings is through saving your garden waste. Composting is certainly not a new idea, but you may not have realized just how tremendous the benefits can be.

Not only does composting on your own property help you to make use of fruit and vegetable scraps and avoid sending them to a landfill, it also deeply enriches soil with vital nutrients. Plus, according to the EPA, composting these organic materials can even help reduce methane emissions that would normally arise in landfills and reduce your carbon footprint overall. 

As more and more data on the current state of the environment is revealed, conscientious citizens understand that it is more important than ever to carefully tend to the environment. One simple way to do that is through reusing and recycling the landscaping clippings you’d normally bag up and toss out. 

An even simpler way to go green is by having your landscaping service provider do it for you. Make your life simple by contacting the experienced professionals at The Parke Company, who have the know-how to properly care for the aesthetic and environmental quality of your property. Our experts have the exact skills necessary to best fulfill your landscaping dreams without harming the planet. 
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

How Long Will My Home Landscaping Installation Take?

PPE headphones and saw on a table

Most homeowners know that there is no renovation completed without a little bit of mess. Any painting project will require some tarps thrown around your home. Tree removal projects will involve trucks around your home and quite a bit of debris cleaning and raking leaves. 

Even so, no one wants tons of bulky equipment lying around their property and landscaping professionals milling about for weeks on end if it’s not absolutely necessary. 

If you’re considering a new landscaping installation, expedience is a must. When you’re weighing your options for landscaping services, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Mutual Availability

Like any major project in your home or landscape, a new landscaping installation will take some planning and schedule shifting. 

If your availability and your landscape service provider’s availability aren’t harmonious, you may be at a bit of a standstill. While not all landscaping projects require that you are present during their completion, if you’re someone who likes to closely monitor projects being completed on your property, mutual availability will be something to take into consideration. 

You will also want to consider when your landscaping service provider is available to begin work on your desired landscaping project. 

If the particular installation you desire is a hardscape like paving or a new pond, you will most likely need to wait until the next warm season to begin breaking ground on those projects. The same goes for certain seasonal plant softscapes. 

Talk with your landscaping professionals about how their availability (and yours!) may affect the timeline of your next project. 

Property Status

Starting your next landscaping installation project will also depend heavily on the current state of your property. 

If you’ve already got lawn problems and are in dire need of lawn services, the basic needs of your property will need to get taken care of before you start adding “window dressing,” so to speak. 

When you speak with your landscaping professional about what you envision for your property, ask them for an evaluation on the current state of your property. If they notice that your property needs a significant amount of basic care and lawn maintenance before new installations can be considered, you may be significantly extending the timeline of your next installation. 

This may also cause your to reconsider the design of your project to better fit the current state of your property, for expediency’s sake.

Whatever you decide, it is vital that you have a professional take inventory of your property before you start planning big projects. 

It would be devastating to start planning and designing a gorgeous gazebo, only to learn that several trees would need to be removed first, setting back your timeline significantly.  

Project Magnitude

It goes without saying that a larger project will likely take more time. For most people, there is a particular design dream they have in mind and the timeline will simply have to work around that dream. 

On the other hand, if you’re just looking to revitalize your property and can allow for some adaptability to your design ideas, you may be able to speed up the process of beautifying your home. 

For those in a time crunch, speak to your landscaping design professionals about your low-maintenance options for beautifying your property. These experts may have great ideas for ways that you can improve the look and feel of your outdoor spaces that will save you time and money.

Regardless of how long it takes to complete your landscaping installation, the most important thing is that you don’t do it alone. The landscaping professionals at The Parke Company have the experience and the skills to meet the unique needs of your property and bring your design dreams to life. 
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

What to Consider When Interviewing and Hiring a Professional Landscaper

Two people shaking hands

Whether it’s tree removal, irrigation system repair, or other landscaping services, hiring the right person to do the job is paramount to your project’s success. When you’re deciding who to hire for your next landscaping project, you’d benefit from doing a bit more than a few minutes of scrolling through Yelp reviews. 

Here are a few things you should consider when interviewing and hiring a professional landscaper. 

The Interview

This phrase may be catching you off-guard. An interview with my landscaper? Chances are that you have rarely, if ever, interviewed a prospective business to complete work on your house. 

While this may seem like a strangely formal step, interviewing contractors and other home renovation services is fairly normal. With projects like landscaping and renovation, high costs require that you find the exact person right for your job. It would be a tragedy to spend large amounts of money for a project that fails to live up to your expectations, or fails entirely.

What to Think About

Price Range

Even if a landscaping service provider has stellar reviews, those four or five stars come at a price. Certain projects with a high aesthetic value may warrant paying top dollar. Flower beds or hardscapes like fountains and patios aren’t projects that you want to start over, and they can be massive eyesores if not done correctly. 

When you need a project completed perfectly because of the visual effect it will have on your property, you may find yourself willing to spare no expense to get your project done. In other cases, like tree removal or stump grinding, the visual impact a certain project will have on your property is less important. Chances are, you’re more concerned with the task being completed quickly and at a low cost. 

If your interview with a landscaper involves them listing off a million different secret costs, you may want to look elsewhere. Be aware of a landscaper that tries to nickel and dime you by suggesting additions to your project; they may not be the one you’re looking for. 

Desired Project

It goes without saying that what your project is should be something you take into consideration when hiring a professional landscaper. 

Ask your landscape architect if or how many times they have completed a project like this one before. You may be able to flip through a portfolio of their work so you can get an idea of what their skills are. If they have never completed a project like the one you’re requiring, this may be a sign that you want to look elsewhere. Even so, if the landscaping professional is still keen on your project regardless of their experience, this may be an opportunity to talk down the price since you’re taking a risk on their inexperience. 


The most demoralizing moment arises when you’ve found the perfect landscaping professional at an ideal cost but their only open availability isn’t for six months. 

It is vital that your schedule and the schedule of your landscaper are compatible. This is important on a macro scale in order to get the project started in a timely manner, but it should also work on a micro level to ensure that completion of the project won’t interfere with your daily schedule. 

When you interview a landscaping professional, it is important to ensure that their staff is flexible enough to work with your schedule to complete your next project. 

If you’re preparing your property to sell or simply trying to improve the look and feel of your home, you don’t want to handle landscaping projects on your own. It’s vital that you hire the right landscaping professional to ensure that your projects are completed in a way that fits your budget, price point, and expectations. 
The folks at The Parke Company are precisely the professionals to get that done. Our arborists and landscape artists are skilled professionals able to meet the needs of your unique property. Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.