4 Signs Your Irrigation System May Need Repair

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The right irrigation system can be every property owners best friend. When functioning properly, irrigation systems ensure that the beauty of your landscape design is maintained, even when the weather is less than hospitable.

Caring for finicky plants and upkeep of green grasses requires that your irrigation system is running at top performance to ensure that the moisture content of your soil remains optimal.

On the other hand, if it isn’t functioning properly, a faulty irrigation system could spell trouble. Dying plants and flooded flower beds shouldn’t be your first clue that something is up. Do you know how to spot a damaged irrigation system?

For the best landscape maintenance, check out these four signs that your irrigation system may need repair.

1. Increased Water Costs

As a prudent property owner, you should be well aware of how much your water bill typically costs – and for more reasons than one. While this cost may fluctuate somewhat from season to season, a sudden skyrocketing of your water bill for lawn care may be a sign that your irrigation system is malfunctioning.

This may be one of the first and only ways to quantifiably assess that your irrigation system isn’t working properly.

An increase in your water bill tells you that the system is pumping more water than normal onto your property, either due to a glitch in its settings or a leak. In either case, it is vital to have a lawn care professional evaluate the damage immediately before any harm is done to your property.

2. Flooding

An over watered landscape doesn’t always look like a small pond has cropped up in your flower beds. When your irrigation system functions as it should, the appropriate amount of water should be distributed to the soil.

If you notice pooling of water anywhere near your irrigation system, this lawn problem could be a sign that maintenance is required to fix a leak.  

When evaluating the leak, check to see if the excess water is only showing up in certain places or if it appears to be along the entire line of irrigation. This could help pinpoint the area of concern and narrow the focus of your landscaping professional.

This is also a good opportunity to assess your drainage systems. Flooding can also be caused by an inability to sufficiently drain excess water that collects when an irrigation system releases too much water.

3. Dry Patches

Conversely, dry patches on your property can also be a bad sign. At this point, if there are dry patches along your irrigation system, your system has likely been malfunctioning long enough for parts of your lawn to die.

It is paramount that you seek a lawn care professional immediately to quickly mitigate the situation before any further damage is done to your landscape or to your irrigation system.

4. Leaking Valves

You would never let a leaky faucet go unaddressed. The same goes for leaking valves in your irrigation system.

While a little extra water around your spigots may not seem like a cause for concern, it is a clear sign that your irrigation system may need repair.

On its own, an extra few drops of water will not cause significant damage to your landscape, but left unattended, this small issue can turn into a crisis.

If excess water seeps into your soil, it can result in constant moisture around the roots of your plants which can harbor mold and cause serious damage.

Healthy Irrigation with The Parke Company

An irrigation system seems like a form of landscape maintenance that doesn’t require much attention: you can install the system and worry a little less about watering your property as frequently.

While irrigation systems are certainly a source of convenience, a malfunctioning system can be hazardous for your property. The experienced professionals at The Parke Company are uniquely qualified to help you evaluate irrigation system issues or any other lawn problems you may be experiencing.
Don’t leave your lawn service up to fate. Give the experts a call  at 615-350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Ground Cover: Right or Wrong for Your Yard?

Ground cover

For homeowners, a lawn is both a blessing and curse. When a lawn is lush and well-maintained it greatly increases the property’s curb appeal. But if left unchecked for too long, a yard can quickly devolve into a warzone. Weeds, dead grass, tall grass, fungi, and other unwanted guests can infest this space at an alarming rate. It takes a lot more effort to undo the damage of these lawn problems than it does to prevent them from occurring. One way to protect a lawn from such chaos is by planting ground cover. But is ground cover the cure for every yard?

What is Ground Cover?

Ground cover refers to several species of plant that grow low to the topsoil, including grass. These plants help keep the soil hydrated and cool while warding off unwanted weeds. Though grass is a type of ground cover, people often categorize it separately because it is the most common type of cover for lawns (i.e. when we think of lawns we think of grass). Ground cover comes in many varieties, including the succulent Stonecrop, colorful Creeping Phlox, and darker Brass Buttons.

Which Yards Benefit from Ground Cover?

In truth, just about any yard can use some ground cover. It’s partially an aesthetic decision, though it also makes a big difference in terms of lawn maintenance. The majority of ground cover plants don’t rapidly grow upward like standard grass. This means that lawn mowing isn’t necessary over these spots. Some species will require a little trimming here and there, but for the most part, ground cover is extremely low-maintenance.

Yards that often experience bare spots and/or weed growth are prime candidates for ground cover. Since these plants help maintain the topsoil, they can often grow in these otherwise barren locations, filling out one’s yard while adding new texture and color. Ground cover, as previously mentioned, also stops weeds from growing, essentially maintaining itself. Those who enjoy gardening can also make good use of groundcover. With so many options, you can create patterns and outlines using groundcover to create a border or fill in a garden and protect it from unwanted weeds.

Is Ground Cover Ever Wrong for a Yard?

In short: no. It’s really a matter of taste and practicality. If you don’t have time to maintain your lawn and can’t afford to hire lawn services, installing ground cover makes a lot of sense. It will save you time and money on every aspect of yard maintenance. However, many homeowners would rather have grass fill their yard. This simply requires more effort in terms of watering, weeding, mowing, and fertilizing. Most people opt for a combination of traditional grass and ground cover. This way, bare spots and problem areas can be addressed with minimal effort, and the lawn as a whole still retains that classic look.

Everyone wants a beautiful, healthy lawn. If you’re struggling to achieve or maintain this, The Parke Company can help. We provide customers with complete landscaping services, including irrigation, maintenance, tree removal and trimming, stump grinding, and more. Whether you want to try some new ground cover or simply fix up a damaged lawn, give us a call today at (615)-350-6033.

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.

 

Fertilizing in Winter to See More Green in Spring

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In Nashville, most lawns are planted with cool-growth grass like bluegrass and tall fescue. These grasses grow longer into the fall and actually don’t go dormant until after the first hard freeze. Because of this “cool-weather” growth, a Nashville lawn can benefit from a late fall or early winter application of fertilizer.

The Parke Company, a full-service Nashville landscaping service and tree service, often recommends a late season application of fertilizer to feed the grass for the limited time it will continue to grow. Just as importantly, the fertilizer allows the grass to store nutrients in the roots, allowing the grass to come up green and lush in spring.

Winter, even our comparatively mild winters, can be hard on a lawn. Because the grass turns brown, many people seem to forget that the lawn still needs care, mostly protective care. A late fertilizer application, and even a late lawn aeration can go a long way in making your spring lawn strong and healthy, but it has to survive to spring first.

Winter Lawn Care Tips

Lawn problems are not limited to those months when the temperatures go up and the sun shines all day. Winter can bring problems that can actually kill grass, trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. To keep that risk to a minimum, follow these simple tips:

  • Keep your lawn clean. Dormant grass can be crushed. Grass can be “broken” by foot traffic or by something as light as a pile of leaves that sits on the grass in the same place for months. Winter can litter your lawn, creating those “light weight” dangers. Snow and winter rains will strip the last of any leaves left, snap twigs and weaker limbs, and scatter debris from the neighborhood onto your lawn. Periodically clean up the litter and do a leaf pickup. Your leaf rake is probably your best tool. It’s time consuming but it gets the job done without using a heavy machine and it gets you some outdoor exercise.
  • Keep your walkways clear. One way to minimize foot traffic on your lawn is to ensure your sidewalks and driveway are kept cleared of ice and snow. If you use a deicer to clear your walkways, make sure you use a plant safe formulation. Sodium chloride, AKA rock salt, will not only corrode your sidewalk, but if it gets on anything living like grass or shrubs, it may kill it.
  • Cover your fragile shrubs. If you have rose bushes or other more fragile plants, cover them with burlap. Nashville gets a little snow, but we get more than our fair share of sleet. A good sleet storm – and it only takes one – can devastate a rose garden.

Of course, if you don’t have the time to maintain your lawn in the winter, you can always call the Parke Company for assistance. Preventing damage in winter makes taking care of your lawn in the spring significantly easier. If we can help you with that, we would be delighted to assist.

Winter is the Perfect Time for Debris Removal and Cleanup

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At the Parke Company, we are known by our Nashville clients for our landscaping services, tree service, installation of irrigation systems, sourcing shrubs and flowers, and other traditional landscape tasks. Of course, most of those tasks take place when things are growing. Spring and fall are our busiest seasons.

But when winter arrives, it brings its own set of lawn problems.

Nashville is a southern city, so we don’t get much snow compared to our neighbors to the north. In fact, Nashville only averages about 7 inches of snow in any given winter. We get rain, and the temperature drops to an average of about six degrees above freezing. That limits the amount of outdoor activities that the fine folks of Nashville are willing to participate in, and it creates a problem for lawns and other outdoor spaces.

Too Cold to Do Much of Anything?

While driving on a freeway or even a residential street during the winter months, you’ll probably notice that the landscape looks a bit trashy.

Culverts will have filled up with windblown leaves, trash and debris. Lawns may appear to be unkempt because they are littered with debris. Our Nashville winter scenes rarely consist of pristine snow-covered lawns, but rather cluttered spaces with mostly grey skies up above.

Why do our winters look like this? In part it’s because it’s just considered too cold for many homeowners or even state road maintenance to be out raking and cleaning debris. It’s not that there is some “extra” supply of winter trash that somehow hits our landscape, it’s just that the usual trash is not picked up.

While a debris-filled lawn is not attractive, it can actually do harm as well. If left unattended, the debris can damage the grass under it when the first thaw hits.

Our early springs tend to be wet and muddy. Leaves, twigs, and other “yard trash” can hinder the growth of the grass when it comes out of dormancy. This can leave yellow patches or off green patches unless the debris is removed.

If you have done a good job of mulching, you may be inviting another, smaller, threat to your lawn. Field mice love mulch. If you see narrow yellow trails coursing across your lawn, these are the rodent freeways to the mulch bed. Raking out the trails will help the trampled grass and give it a chance to survive when spring arrives.

Clean Up Winter Debris

Obviously, the way to avoid yellow spots in the spring is to clean up debris during the winter. If your lawn is fenced, has hardscaping or drainage ditches, finding the debris will be easy. Winter winds will pile up the debris in these areas.

The trusty leaf rake can do leaf collection, but for most of our clients with large lawns, this will be a full weekend project. A leaf vacuum mulcher can handle most of the task. Large items (twigs, branches, trash) will need to be collected and bagged manually.

Of course, if you don’t have the time for a winter lawn cleanup, you can always call us at the Parke Company, and we will be happy to handle the job. We have the crews and the equipment to make quick work of transforming your debris-littered lawn into a clean winter landscape.

Let’s all hope for an early spring.