When is the Best Time of Year to Prune?


When your natural outdoor spaces start looking shaggy, some pruning and/or trimming is probably in order. But before you get out there with your shears or hire tree trimming services, consider whether it’s the right time to perform this task. Indeed, certain times of the year present more optimal conditions for pruning trees and shrubs. Pruning during a less optimal season is more than just a hassle — it can have detrimental effects on your foliage, lawn, and potentially your property.

So, when is the best time of year to prune? Generally speaking, late winter through early spring. Of course, the “best time” to prune somewhat depends on what you’re pruning, so the answer isn’t so cut and dry (no pun intended).

What are You Pruning?

Different types of trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. exhibit different growth patterns, and these growth patterns largely determine when it’s a good time to prune them. 

For instance, hydrangeas typically bloom in the middle of spring, so it’s best to prune these shrubs earlier in the summer. Pruning them in the winter or spring will result in removing flower buds. Evergreen shrubs, on the other hand, should be pruned earlier, sometime in March or April, and deciduous trees should be pruned earlier still (February or March).

We won’t list every type of tree or shrub here, but the bottom line is that the optimal pruning time will hinge on what’s being pruned. Seek advice from professional tree pruners to get a more concrete answer for your scenario.

Why Prune in Late Winter/Early Spring?

For the vast majority of trees and shrubs, late winter through early spring (February-April) presents the ideal window for pruning. This might be surprising to some. After all, your trees might barely be budding in February, March, or even at the start of April. Indeed, this is exactly why this time of year is the best to trim your trees. 

While your trees and shrubs are still relatively bare, you or your professional pruners can gain a clearer picture of their structure, direction of growth, condition/health, etc. Additionally, most trees and shrubs are dormant during this time of year, just getting ready to start growing with the warmer weather. With all of this in mind, late winter/early spring presents the best opportunity to shape your trees and direct their new growth.

Benefits of Proper Pruning

Pruning your trees and shrubs at the right time isn’t just a matter of enhancing your lawn’s appearance in the short-term. Proper tree pruning yields other benefits as well. First, keeping your shrubs and trees well-kempt is good for their long-term health. Secondly, reducing the expanse of your trees and shrubs helps keep your lawn healthy, too, as this allows it to receive more water and sunlight. And, perhaps most importantly, trimming and pruning your trees helps ensure that large branches and limbs don’t scrape or fall on your property during high winds.

Is it Too Late to Prune Your Trees and Shrubs?

Now that we’re well into April, you might wonder if it’s too late to have your trees and shrubs pruned. The answer is: no! While we’re exiting the peak pruning season for most types of trees, there is still time to get this important task done before spring comes into full force. At the very least, here at The Parke Company, we can inspect your trees, shrubs, and lawn any time and let you know everything we can do for your property. Give us a call today at 615-350-6033.

Comprehensive Guide to Winterizing Your Landscape Assets


Winterization is the process or processes required to prepare something for Winter. For a pool, this may mean drainage or covering. For a motorcycle, this may mean removing the gasoline and placing the battery on a drip charger. For people, this may mean procuring a few more sweaters and socks and purchasing firewood.

For your property, this may mean any number of things. Since each person’s property is different and unique, every landscape requires different processes to ensure effective and efficient winterization. Below are some of the more frequent winterization steps, though this list is certainly not extensive. For peace of mind and to guarantee that your property is ready for winter, reach out to the winterization professionals at The Parke Company to see how our landscaping services, irrigation services, and tree services can best support your land’s transition into the colder months.

Tree Winterization

When you think of winter, you think of the beautiful snow-blanketed landscape. When we think of winter, we think of snow blanketed dead tree limbs that are unable to carry the load and that break and fall on to your home. Sound bleak? It doesn’t have to be. One of the first steps to tree winterization is to check for dead or damaged limbs. Those that pose a threat to your home, vehicles, safety, or property should be removed before the snow or freezing rains fall. Additionally, to best prepare for winter storms, plants or brush that have built up on the trees and bushes around your home should also be removed. Overgrown plants should also be trimmed and pruned to mitigate unbearable loads during times of snow or freezing rain. The Parke Company has a variety of pruning and tree trimming services to choose from to ensure that your trees and bushes are to safe to take on the colder weather to come.

Lawn Winterization

Though they may spend much of the winter months buried beneath the snow, there are a few simple steps that should be taken to ensure that your lawns are ready for the cold weather. The first step is to cut your grass low to reduce weight and limit exposure to freezing temperatures. Long grasses will bend over under the snow and damage the growth beneath them. For the same reason, leaves and other litter should be raked and removed to prevent sunlight blockage, extra weight, and moisture retention. Once your lawn is ready, make sure that people, plants, and vehicles stay off it. One easy step is to set up flags or markers to outline your driveway and walkways. It seems silly to say, but stray shovel strokes or an improperly placed snowplow can cause extensive damage to your land. Finally, clear your lawn of unnecessary ornamentation that may also squash or damage your grass.

Of course, if you have an irrigation system, it is highly important that you properly drain and pressurize the system before the first frost. Cold weather and water-filled pipes don’t go together. Cracked or broken pipes and valves can be costly and time-consuming to repair. To ensure your irrigation system is properly winterized, consult our expert team. They have extensive knowledge in properly preparing systems of all shapes, sizes, and layouts.

Winter Plant and Shrub Coverings

Small and fragile plants and shrubs should be covered with burlap or something similar. This will prevent the build up of potentially damaging snow and freezing rain.

Winter Mulching and Fertilization

Your lawn, gardens, and trees receive very little nutrients during the winter months. Help them make it through these harsh days by applying fresh mulch and fertilizer before the freezing temperatures arrive. Mulch will help your soil retain temperature and moisture while fertilizer will give your plants a boost when the warmer weather arrives in spring.

Winter is Here, Snow is Falling, Now What?

Though proper winterization is paramount to a successful winter, there are many landscaping services that can be done during the winter months and a few that can only be done during winter. As the nights get colder and snow falls, there are several important things to consider.

First, do you have a snow clean-up plan? If not, take advantage of The Parke Company’s snow removal services to ensure your walkways and driveways are clean so that the winter weather doesn’t get in the way of you going about your life.

With or without snow, icy buildup on your exterior stairs and walkways can be very annoying or seriously dangerous. Unfortunately, many commercially available rock salts can have incredibly detrimental effects on your plants, gardens, and lawn. Make sure that you are utilizing safe salt options so that spring will find your property in good health and ready to take on the bountiful rains and sunshine.

Much of what needs to be done during the winter months you can do yourself. However, it is often safer and less time consuming to hire a professional. When it comes to ice and snow removal, it is important to know what you can safely do and when the project is over your head. If you are unsure, be safe and give us a call.

Is Winter Finally Over?

As the winter season ends and warmer weather rapidly approaches, there is a whole new list of things to do to get your landscapes ready for spring. Make sure you reach out to the professionals at The Parke Company to help you meet these seasonal changes head on to ensure that your property gets the fresh start it deserves.

Whatever Your Winterization Needs Are, Let The Parke Company Go to Work for You

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. We know Nashville. When it comes to winterization. We know the soil, water tables, and the specific winterization requirements for species endemic to Tennessee and for non-native plants and trees. We have experienced many Nashville winters ourselves and know how to best prepare for them. Even more, we know what to do when the unexpected happens and when the preparation is not enough. Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, and professional and for being leaders in their industries. We at The Parke Company stand behind our work and pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly, provide efficient and cost-effective services, and meet your needs every step of the way. Please feel free to give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Keep or Cut: Guide to Setting a Whole-Property Vision for your Trees


When it comes to large landscaping projects like extensive tree removal, it is important to take the time necessary to plan before taking action. Cutting down a tree, or multiple trees, on your property can have many benefits, but it can also have many long-lasting negative effects. Pros and cons aside, once the tree is gone it can take years, even decades, to replace it.

All Tree Removal Projects Should Start with Comprehensive Planning

To keep or to cut? That is the question. The permanence of these decisions requires that they not be taken lightly. When deciding whether or not to remove a tree, or multiple trees, from your landscape, we recommend reaching out to the trusted professionals at The Parke Company. Our landscaping design and tree service team and ISA certified arborists have years of experience in all aspects of the profession and will work with you every step of the way. We can help you best plan for and carry out the installation or removal of trees and stumps. Our goal is not to make the decision for you, but to provide you with a planning service that addresses your specific questions and is patented to your specific needs. If you do decide to move forward on your project, our goal is to provide a service that exceeds your expectations and keeps you coming back year after year. Our goal is to serve our community by becoming your go-to for tree and landscaping services in the Nashville area. Our goal is to help you achieve your goal. To facilitate this, we have listed below some of the common “pros” and “cons” of tree removal.

Some of the Possible Benefits of Tree Removal

More Space and Light

Removal of trees, especially of older trees with large trunks and canopies, opens up your property to an increase in space and light. If you have a small backyard or a yard that is permanently shaded, you may be amazed by how the removal of a few carefully selected trees can drastically improve your landscape. Similarly, if you have any outdoor living spaces, such as a porch or a patio, intentional tree removal may dramatically improve these spaces and extend their usage (early and later each day, earlier in spring and later into the fall season).

Tree and Plant Health

Tightly packed trees, or trees that are competing for space, not only block the light from other trees and plants, but they can also grow unnaturally and take on an unkempt or unhealthy appearance. Similarly, certain trees require lots of water and can end up stealing water from surrounding plants or trees. Tree removal can thus provide an opening for the remaining trees to grow in a more beautiful and natural way and can relieve the water stress placed on other plants.

Trees Can Be Dangerous

Due to age, heavy snow, or strong winds, trees, branches, or limbs can fall on your home, automobiles, power lines, or landscape features causing catastrophic damage or even death. Even trees and branches that do not fall may rub up against your home, potentially causing damage to your home’s exterior and roof. Trees within falling distance of your home should be thoroughly inspected often to ensure that they are in good health. However, good health does not guarantee safety.

Trees Can Be Expensive

Even beyond the previously mentioned watering and upkeep costs, trees will shed branches, limbs, leaves, needles, and bark. All of these can create a mess and cost money to clean up. Furthermore, dripping sap can be an incredible nuisance and can cost irreversible damage to your home’s (or car’s) exterior.

Some of the Possible Negative Consequences of Tree Removal

Unforeseen Damage to Your Landscape’s Ecosystem

Plants rely on each other in a wide-variety of ways that scientists are still just beginning to understand. Your backyard is a system of complex interactions between the plants and animals that live there. Cutting down a tree, or multiple trees, can dramatically alter the light and moisture levels, as well as the soil pH and mineral composition. Furthermore, removal of native trees in particular may increase the chances of insect infestations. Native trees have a better chance of attracting native wildlife such as birds that will reduce insect numbers. Additionally, abrupt changes can weaken the remaining plants, making them more susceptible to pests. Finally, tree root systems help to maintain the integrity of your land. If a tree is removed and the roots die, steep slopes or areas near shorelines or riverbanks can become increasingly susceptible to erosion. Some of these changes happen quickly, others may take a long time, but all of them will impact your landscape.

Unforeseen Loss of Your Landscape’s Visual Harmony

It’s hard to imagine what your landscape will look like without a feature as important and prominent as a tree. Even the removal of one tree can dramatically change the composition of your backyard and skyline. Removal of multiple trees could create a landscape that feels desolate or empty, especially if you have always had trees in your backward.

Expensive, Irreplicable Change

Tree removal in itself is normally an easy and inexpensive procedure, but stump grinding or stump removal can be costly and time-consuming. Adding insult to injury, if you later decide that you wish you had not removed the tree or trees, there’s not much you can do. Bringing in full-grown trees is incredibly expensive and sometimes impossible. Therefore, if you have removed a tree that you wish you hadn’t, often the only option is to wait until a newly planted sapling grows to fill the space. This could take decades.

On the bright side, in addition to tree and stump removal, The Parke Company offers on-site mulching services that can decrease costs and increase the nutrient and moisture levels of your soil and the beauty of your backyard.

Additional Tree Services

Sometimes the appropriate decision to make is not one of the obvious choices. If cutting is too drastic, yet you are unhappy with the current state of the trees in your landscape, we have additional options for you.

Perhaps your trees just need to be trimmed. Tree trimming can offer many of the same benefits as tree removal without the permanence or the hassle of deciding what to do with the stubborn and unsightly stumps and root systems.

Maybe you require additional tree services. From removal to trimming, pruning to crown thinning, cabling and bolting to weight reduction, The Parke Company has the experience to assess your current situation and develop a plan that best fits your landscape vision.

If you have decided to go ahead with the removal process, but do not like the final results; or if your landscape feels empty as it is, we can help you make decisions around which trees grow the fastest and are the best suited for your specific landscape geography and desires.

A History and Reputation We Stand Behind

No matter what you decide, we are honored to be a part of the decision-making process. Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, professional, and for being leaders in their industries. We at The Parke Company stand behind our work and pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly, provide efficient and cost-effective services, and meet your needs every step of the way. Please feel free to give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

How To Guide: Produce Striking Landscape Combinations with Professional Help

Garden Landscape

Whether your home’s landscape is just getting started or it has been an integral part of your estate for generations, improvements can always be made. Your home and property is an extension of yourself and an outward expression of who you are and what you value. The very fact that you are thinking of making changes says that there is something about your landscape that is nagging at you or some way that you envision it being different.

In both cases, if you are developing a landscape that complements your home for the first time or just tweaking an existing landscape, it is incredibly important that you turn to someone who will take the time to consider your specific goals and the particulars of your location and geography before making recommendations. At The Parke Company, we pride ourselves on our approach to landscape development and maintenance. Our years of experience coupled with our long list of landscaping services enables us to provide you with the individualized professional help you and your landscape deserve.

First Steps in Landscape Development – Planning and Removal

When developing a new landscape or altering an existing one, the first step must be planning. The Parke Company has the experience to turn your landscaping dreams into a reality no matter what geological impediments stand in the way. We will work with you and with your landscape budget to develop a plan that complements your unique desires and situation.

While planning, it is important to know that one of the most crucial changes to your landscape may be the removal of existing landscape elements. To prepare your lawn or backyard for additions or alterations (or simply to open up space, allow for more light, or to maximize natural rainwater distribution) it is quite common to extract certain aspects before adding anything new.

Nashville’s Unique Landscape Options

The upside, or perhaps the downside, of landscape planning in Nashville is the vast array of options and possibilities. Depending on your budget and the unique characteristics of your property, almost anything you set your mind to can be achieved. On the one hand, homeowners should see this as an exciting perk to living in such a diverse and beautiful area. On the other hand, this may have a crippling impact on your ability to make decisions and prioritize changes to your landscape. All the more reason why you should look to a professional that knows the area and can help you make informed decisions that are right for you and your landscape, now and in the future.

Landscape Configurations and Combinations

A painting is much more than a bunch of individual brush strokes. A program code is much more than a list of 0s and 1s. Similarly, your landscape is much more than the features and plants that it contains. How each element of your landscape interacts with the others is incredibly important in developing the overall aesthetic and feeling you desire. Even with the best of intentions and a well developed, specific list of landscaping desires, if the configurations or combinations are wrong, the whole thing can fall flat. What looks beautiful or functionally efficient in your mind may not be so in reality. Even worse, if you have not thought long and hard about how the various aspects of your landscape will interact, the final product may lead to disastrous outcomes.

For example, there are certain landscaping elements whose placement must be considered first. Fire pits, swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are a few examples of such elements. For fire pits, or any type of outside heating source (such as grills, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, etc.), it is extremely important to take into consideration the surrounding landscape. Overhanging trees are of course a no-no as heat, sparks, or flames could ignite them leading to considerable, if not devastating, damage to your property and home. Less thought of are the types of plants growing near a heating source, but they are also important. Grasses, bushes, or shrubs that wither and die or shed leaves during colder months should not be placed near heating sources as the dead plant matter can easily ignite and quickly spread to an uncontainable fire.

Large sources of water must also be considered. Pools or fountains with cement walls can attract unwanted wandering roots that can crack or damage their foundations. Any water source that is not contained or leaks slightly can provide an overabundance of moisture for plants that prefer drier soils. Additionally, if placed in close proximity to a water source, plants that shed their leaves during the offseason can be a nuisance and, due to the increased need for leaf removal, can make pool, fountain, or pond maintenance increasingly difficult and expensive.

Just as there are configurations and combinations to avoid, there are also those that should be embraced. While some pairings are aesthetic, others focus on what is best for the plant species. Dark stone situated near green grass or brightly colored flowers can create a much desired visual contrast. Similarly, the look of manicured elements (such as topiaries) within a more wild or natural backdrop can create a yin and yang atmosphere. In such cases, it is also important to take into consideration the long-term costs associated with pruning. Placing edible plants near other flowers can help with cross-pollination leading to a greater likelihood of fruits and a decreased need for maintenance. However, in this specific case, it is also important to not place either of them too close to patios or outdoor sitting areas, especially if you are allergic to bee or wasp stings, as the location of their flowers will increase the presence of these insects. In some cases, combinations can have both aesthetic and mutually beneficial results. For example, integration of various mulch types or rain gardens can be beautiful, but can also have the added benefit of increasing soil nutrients and moisture levels and retention.

Why The Parke Company is Nashville’s Go-To for Landscaping Combination Services

From moisture levels to shading to slope, every single landscape is different. What looks beautiful on your neighbor’s lawn or at your friend’s winter residence in Florida may not work in your backyard. Nashville’s unique climate offers many challenges, but also many rewards. When it comes to selecting the landscape configurations and combinations that are specifically right for you, it is important to turn to professionals who know the area well, can help you avoid common landscaping mistakes, and can provide you with open and honest feedback, guidance, and support.

Locally owned and operated, The Parke Company provides community-centered, high quality, and affordable tree and landscaping services to municipalities, businesses, and private residences in the greater Nashville area. Our certified team of Nashville local arborists and landscapers has a reputation for being clean, consistent, and professional and for being leaders in their industries. We at The Parke Company stand behind our work and pride ourselves on our ability to respond quickly, provide efficient and cost-effective services, and meet your needs every step of the way. Please feel free to give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

5 Landscaping Tips for a Nashville Winter

landscaping and irrigation

Taking care of your landscaping may be the last thing on your mind during our Nashville winters, but there are preventive and maintenance steps that you should be aware of. The Parke Company, Nashville’s premiere landscaping service and tree service, has five easy tips to get your spring lawn off to a great start.

This winter has been a doozy so far, with temperatures in January fluctuating from 21 degrees to 64 degrees. However, just because there may be frost or snow on the ground does not mean that your landscaping will take care of itself until the real spring thaw.

Winter is Not the Time to Ignore Your Landscaping

With that in mind, we would like to offer up five tips to help your lawn make it through the winter unscathed:

 Discourage people from walking on the grass when there is frost or snow on the ground. Grass, particularly young grass blades, can break from the weight. While typically the grass will recover in spring, we still recommend traffic be kept to a minimum. Make sure your walkways are cleared of snow to discourage people from taking a shortcut across the lawn.

Protect plants from cold, dry winter winds. Frost and dry winds can damage trees, cracking bark and limbs. Needles on evergreen shrubs can be severely damaged and turn an ugly brown. Of special concern are plants with roots near or exposed to the surface. Cover the base of the plant with mulch to provide protection from the wind.

Winter is actually a great time to add to your landscape. The deciduous transplant season begins right after the first hard freeze and continues until the first leaves appear in spring. Transplanting after the plant has gone dormant for the winter provides more time for it to acclimate to its new bed because it’s not pushing new growth.

Do you have crepe myrtles, liriope (monkey grass), or boxwoods? Winter is a good time for pruning these. In fact, you can only prune them while they are dormant. Now is also a good time to put down pre-emergent herbicide to hold down the weeds. In Nashville, we unfortunately have a variety of weeds that thrive during the winter.

Spend some time doing what we do for our clients during the winter season planning. When the warmer weather of spring hits and you feel like anything is possible now that you have survived winter – in other words, you’re on an emotional high – it is the wrong time to order additions to your landscaping. You’ll be happier if you plan out your spring flower additions, tree services, hardscape additions, and any other landscape issues when you have the down time of winter to work with.With a little luck, Nashville will get a thaw in late March and our landscapes will turn green again. Make sure your lawn and plants wake up from the winter snooze in good condition by caring for them during the cold season.


Need help planning for spring? Feel free to give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss the latest landscaping trends with you.