Landscape Maintenance: Should You Be Using a Different Mulch?

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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.   

Age

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

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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 Long Will My Home Landscaping Installation Take?

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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.

Your Home Outdoors: Starting with Your Needs to Plan Your Dream Outdoor Living Space

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When it comes to planning a new outdoor living space, dreaming big is the easy part. The sky’s the limit in our minds, but the nitty gritty of establishing a budget and a plan can often feel confusing and disorienting.

Here at The Park Company, we want to use  our landscaping services, irrigation services, and tree services to transform your outdoor living space according to your dreams while still staying within your budget. Here’s how the process works.

Start with Anything and Everything

If you’re dreaming, dream big. When planning a major (or minor) renovation to your outdoor living space, there is no reason to initially constrain yourself. (That comes later.) Have fun and start by putting it all out on the table. Do you want a fountain? Great! An outdoor kitchen with a full wet bar? Why not! A koi pond and Japanese zen garden? Sounds wonderfully serene! The goal for this step in the process is to brainstorm in order to gather as many ideas and options as possible. Nothing is off limits.

We recommend exploring our website and the various services we offer as you begin to develop ideas. Drive around your neighborhood to look at your neighbor’s outdoor spaces. Talk to friends and family. Use the image search feature of your favorite search engine. Think long-term (what you’d like your outdoor space to look like in 20 years) and short-term (what you’d like to have by next year). Think about the potential for multi-seasonal use of your outdoor spaces. Imagine what you’d like to do in your backyard if anything was possible. Think of things you do inside and envision doing them outside. Compile a list of outdoor activities you leave your property to accomplish and then imagine what would have to happen for you to be able to complete these activities in your own yard.

Generate as many ideas as possible, but make sure to record them somewhere. An online folder with pictures and a written list is always a great way to start. It will make the next step much easier.

Organize Your Ideas to Fit Your Specific Outdoor Space

Now that you have an extensive list of ideas, it’s time to organize them. There are many ways to do this. You may want to organize by season, by types of outdoor activities, by varietal of plant species, by some sort of color scheme, by keeping or cutting your trees, by things that you can do yourself versus things you would need professional help to complete (think raking leaves versus stump grinding), etc.

The main thing to avoid at this stage of the game is eliminating anything. Sure, your own personal nine-hole golf course might be a bit outside your price range, but for the organizational stage, it is still important that anything goes. Keeping a full list will help you see trends in your own desires and may make the process of onboarding a professional that much easier.

One simple, but highly effective tool you can utilize is a graphic organizer such as a Venn diagram or T-chart. By using different organizational structures and then placing this side-by-side, you will start to get a clearer picture of which ideas are common across all of the different potential renovation plans and which only fit into very specific outdoor living space concepts.

Budget, Prioritize, and Plan

Once you’ve organized your ideas, it’s time to get real by budgeting, prioritizing, and planning. It’s also time to contact a professional.

Budgeting is, for most people, the least enjoyable step in realizing your outdoor living space dreams, but it doesn’t have to be. With support from the professionals at The Parke Company, you might be surprised by just how far your money can go. This is especially true when planning long-term, multi-year renovation projects.

Once you’ve determined a realistic and sustainable budget, your next step is to begin to prioritize various outdoor projects or concepts. You may not have the money for the aforementioned golf course, but perhaps a putting green is feasible. A wet bar may be outside your reach, but a tiki bar may be obtainable. Maybe the deck comes this year, the grill next year, and the jacuzzi the year after that. Though these are highly personal decisions, a landscaping professional can help you see which aspects of your overall plan can be easily realized within your budget and help to you determine what and where to cut, if necessary.

Finally, it’s time to plan. Your dream is specific to you and your landscape is different from others. The planning stage should take into consideration your organized and prioritized ideas, your budget, your timeline, and the attributes of your current landscape and home. Only once all of these aspects are taken into account can a thoughtful and realistic plan, be developed.

Let The Parke Company Help You Make Your Dream Outdoor Living Space a Reality

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 outdoor living spaces, we have all your bases covered. We know the soil, water tables, plants, and seasons and how each of these may directly or indirectly impact your specific landscape. We have the local experience, knowledge, and know how to help you realize your dreams.

Our certified team of Nashville locals has a reputation for being clean, consistent, and professional, and for being leaders in their industries. Here at The Parke Company, we 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 at (615) 350-6033 or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Mulching in Winter: The Benefits of Fresh Mulch in Colder Months

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It’s winter in Nashville, and tending to gardens and shrubs is probably the last thing on your mind. “That would be a mistake,” say the experts at the Parke Company, Nashville’s leading landscaping service and tree service company. Dry winter winds and the occasional winter warm spell can do real damage to your dormant and evergreen plants.

While Nashville winters are relatively mild, when the temperature drops below 25 degrees and the last of the hardy annuals turn brown and crumble, it’s time to do winter mulching. Why mulch in winter? Unlike spring mulching, which is done to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and warm the soil, the principal reason to mulch in winter is to insulate the soil and prevent damage from dry winter winds.

Insulating the soil to keep it frozen prevents dormant plants from sprouting during brief warm spells in winter. Changes in air temperature can also cause expansion and contraction of soil. Left unchecked, this soil movement can push a plant’s roots above the surface, where they can be damaged by cold winds. Keeping the ground frozen through mulch insulation minimizes the risk of this occurring.

Mulching in Winter

What to Use as Winter Mulch?

Remember last fall when you were raking leaves and doing a major leaf pick up? If you stored those leaves in a leaf bag, now is the time to break them out to be used as winter mulch. You can use any loose insulating material, keeping in mind that you will need to remove it in the spring.

Here are a few ideas for mulch material:

  •        Pine needles
  •        Straw
  •        Shredded leaves
  •        Shredded bark
  •        If the first freeze comes after Christmas, you can use boughs from your Christmas tree – great material because they are easy to remove in the spring.
  •        Snow is actually an excellent insulator, but you can’t count on that in Nashville.

What and How to Mulch in the Winter

We’ve already discussed insulating your flower garden, so let’s talk about other areas to protect.

If you have a fallow vegetable garden and you didn’t plant a cover crop, you can use a layer of leaves. If your vegetable garden is fenced, you can use it to “store” all of your extra leaves. In the spring you’ll have a ready supply of mulch material.

Evergreens and semi-evergreens, like rhododendrons, can become dried out by winter winds. You can protect them by covering the plants/shrubs in burlap. Make sure the burlap is not resting on the shrub or it will freeze to the bush. Stuffing leaves between the burlap and the bush will prevent that.

Another option is to spray the shrub with an  anti-desiccant, like Wilt-Pruf. As an aside, an anti-desiccant will prolong the life of your Christmas tree and also makes a good covering for carved pumpkins.

When to Remove Winter Mulch

The short answer is after the thaw, but that can be tricky. Easter snowstorms are not totally unknown in Nashville. Basically, when the smell of mud is in the air, it’s safe to remove the mulch.

If you have questions or need assistance with winter mulching, please don’t hesitate to call us at the Parke Company!