5 Ways You Can Improve the Health and Life of Your Trees (Without Tree Removal)

Parke-company-nashville-five-way-improve-tree-health-life

A well-maintained tree (or a number of trees) is an integral feature of every great landscape design. Trees can create natural barriers on your property, provide shade, and tremendously benefit the overall aesthetics of your property.

For a number or reasons, proper tree care is a must. Not only are sickly trees unsightly, but they can also pose a genuine threat to the safety of your property.

In the worst-case scenario, an unhealthy tree could fall in a storm. A good way to prevent that would be to cut down a tree in poor health. An even savvier way to deal with this issue is to ensure that your trees never get to that level of unhealth.

To circumvent the costs of dying trees, here are five ways you can improve their health and life without removing them.

1. Plant Strategically

If you haven’t yet, the best time to conduct a tree inventory is now.

By conducting a tree inventory, not only will you have an assessment of the health of your existing trees and be more informed as to what steps need to be taken, you will also have a detailed report as to the location of your current trees.

Preventing issues with tree health starts with planting trees strategically. When you plant trees with intention, you can ensure that competing species are not planted too close to one another, that they won’t grow into power lines, and that their placement won’t conflict with anything else in your current landscape design.

2. Start with Great Soil

Vital to planting trees strategically is starting with great soil. Just like any plant, trees need quality soul to grow well.

There are a number of different factors that make soil quality important. Not only does soil serve as a reservoir for vital nutrients and water, but it also contains the microorganisms that encourage beneficial decomposition, acting as an anchor for plant roots.

Maintaining healthy trees (as well as planting new ones) begins with assessing for quality soil to ensure that your trees have a hospitable environment in which they can grow.

If you’re not comfortable testing the soil yourself, seek out a landscape maintenance professional to do the complex work for you. These professionals will evaluate the soil for qualities like texture, drainage, chemical properties, and more.   

3. Tree Trimming

As previously mentioned, trees are plants and, as such, require similar care.

Just as you would prune dead leaves from a basil plant, or cut back dead parts of a grape vine, it’s important to incorporate regular tree trimming into your tree care.

By trimming trees regularly, you can identify diseased branches and trim them before any more sickness spreads. You can also ensure that trees don’t get overgrown if they are near any other feature of your landscape that may compromise the tree’s health.

Tree trimming has a vast array of benefits from maintaining the health of trees and increasing sun exposure, to protecting against branch weakness and improving the life of fruits and flowers.

4. Pest Maintenance

The neighborhood squirrels and raccoons may be cute, but they might not be the best for maintaining the health of your trees. In some cases, an animal that choose to make a home in or near your trees could be what compromises the health and safety of the trees on your property.

Especially with young trees that are growing, and sickly trees you’re treating, a physical barrier or other repellant can keep pests from munching at your tree’s bark or building a home where they may not belong.

5. Ask the Experts

When it comes down to it, it isn’t enough to simply ensure that you maintain the health of your trees; it must be done well for them to flourish to their potential.

If you’re not confident that you can perform all of the necessary tasks to support the growth of your trees, you’ve got a few options: you could spend hours researching how to best serve the trees on your property, or you could call a certified arborist to do the tough work for you.

By trusting the landscape professionals at The Parke Company, you call rest easily knowing that your trees will be evaluated and cared for by experts who will tailor their work to the unique needs of your property.
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you

Municipal Landscaping: What’s a Tree Inventory, and How Can It Help Your City?

Parke-company-nashville-tree-inventory-what-is-it

If you work in municipal landscaping, your heart’s passion is to beautify and preserve the natural landscape of your city. While every aspect of your town’s landscape design is important, tree care may be one that warrants reevaluation.

Some people think that tree maintenance is simple: tree removal, tree trimming, stump grinding. What they may not have considered, however, is that proper care for trees is vital to maintaining a thriving, green world, even in urban areas.

In addition to the procedures your city already has in place to tend to local trees, consider incorporating a tree inventory. Here is what you need to know about this important practice.

What is a Tree Inventory?

As its name suggests, a tree inventory has a lot to do with accounting for all of the trees in a specific region. But it doesn’t stop at a simple roll call.

Tree inventories will take into account the number of trees in an area as well as the variety of trees recorded.

Some more sophisticated tree inventory processes will employ GPS and GIS technologies to ensure precision and accuracy of tree records. This allows those who oversee the landscape to have easy access to the locations and population sizes of trees in their city without having to rely on a potentially inaccurate map or by visiting the reasons in real life every time.

A tree inventory is the process of bringing true and precise awareness to the arboreal life of your city and efficiently recording that data in an accessible format.

How Does it Help?

Tree inventories do more than just inform your landscape maintenance professionals how many and what type of trees are present in your city. Tree inventories can also be effective for proper tree care.

On a basic level, tree inventories can be a practical way to save your city money. A keener awareness of the trees in your city can be helpful for anticipating new construction in particular regions in order to avoid unexpected costs related to sudden needs for tree removal. It can also instruct you as to which areas should be avoided for new construction.

Tree inventories are also a practical and detailed way to care for the health of your city’s trees.

Tree inventories do more than just record the type and location of trees in an area. They can also record specific reports on the health of individual trees. This can inform the certified arborists who care for your trees as to how to move forward with the treatment of the landscape.

A tree inventory records the current status of trees in the given area and can report back on needs for each tree to encourage flourishing and aid trees that may be in poor health. This can also be an effective measure for avoiding potential costs associated with sickly trees that may fall or infect other parts of the landscape, leading to the loss of plant life and presenting a hefty financial burden to your city.

What Are My First Steps?

Caring for a city’s landscape is a difficult job, and it is one that should only be performed by the best in their field.

If your city has yet to conduct a tree inventory, this is a vital practice to institute if the landscape is to be as healthy and beautiful as possible.

Your first steps should be to contact someone experienced in tree care. A certified arborist is best equipped to conquer this lengthy and arduous task.

The experts at The Park Company are committed to honoring the beauty of the landscape in their communities. Their certified arborists and landscape artists are uniquely qualified to care for the landscaping needs of Nashville and the surrounding communities.

A tree inventory may be what is keeping your city’s landscape from its best and healthiest state. Don’t hesitate 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 101: Choosing and Applying the Right Mulch for Maximum Growth

Parke-company-nashville-mulching-101-choosing-and-applying

As much as many of us would simply like to let nature takes its course when it comes to tending our property, the fact of the matter is that lush landscapes do not grow themselves and often need to be helped along.

Incorporating mulch is a time-tested method for maintaining a beautiful landscape design, but with the myriad options available for mulching, choosing the best one for your particular property can be challenging.

First and foremost, the type of mulch you select depends heavily on the project you have in mind. When people hear “mulch”, brightly colored wood chips often come to mind. While this may be an appropriate aesthetic choice, the harsh dyes and chemicals in this material do not foster growth; they would be much more appropriate to cover parts of your landscape that only need visual improvement.

Furthermore, once you have carefully selected the type of mulch you’ll use, ensuring optimal growth means more than just heaving bags of compost over the top of your garden or along the edges of your property.

If you want your landscape to be the crowning glory of your neighborhood, properly incorporating mulch is key. Here is everything you need to know about choosing and applying the right mulch for maximum growth.

Mulching How-Tos

Choosing the right kind of mulch may require a visit back to high school environmental science class.

What you want out of mulch is decomposition. Decomposition pulls nitrogen from the soil, which plants love.  

Nitrogen is vital to plant growth because it is a primary component of chlorophyll, the necessary chemical for photosynthesis. Even if you slept through science class, you probably still caught that photosynthesis is how plants use sunlight to grow.

Many mulch varieties boast of their nitrogen content, but the best mulch for your next project may depend on the specific plants you are trying to grow.

Gardens

For a garden growing fruits and vegetables, organic and inorganic mulches can be effective. In some circumstances, mulches like wood chips can still promote growth, but in a garden they are more likely to be a nuisance since you will be digging up that area frequently.

When selecting an inorganic mulch for gardens, choose ones that will help defend against weeds while still protecting the soil.

Using plastic mulch can be good for gardens with temperature-sensitive plants. A dark plastic sheet will retain heat overnight and keep your more delicate vegetation warm. These sheets can ward off weeds and also prevent too much rainwater from soaking through the ground and overwatering your plants. When applying this kind of mulch, be sure to bury or weigh down the edges of your sheet and make holes in the sheet to allow for growth.

Organic mulches both cover and nurture soil in gardens. As mentioned previously, an organic, decomposed mulch enriches the soil because of its nitrogen content.

Additionally, hay and straw can be effective mulches to help retain moisture in soil and well as offering nutrients during decomposition. It is vital, however, that the hay is seed-free so that you are not inviting any unwanted plants into your garden. You should also be careful not to lay the hay or straw too close to the stems of your plants. This can attract slugs and other pests.

Trees

Mulch can also be a helpful tool if you’ve planted a tree and want to boost its growth. Mulch can be helpful for maintaining moisture in the soil around a tree’s roots, adding nutrients, and reducing damage to roots caused by lawn mowing (and damage to lawn mowers caused by tree roots!).

When it comes to these hardier plants though, the type of mulch used is less important than how the mulch is applied.

Much like garden plants, it is vital to avoid laying your mulch too close to the tree’s roots. This “volcano effect” occurs when mulch is piled high around a tree trunk and it can often result in too much moisture buildup which leads to root rot.

To avoid this pitfall, follow these few steps from The Arbor Day Foundation for the best tree care when laying mulch:

  • Remove all grass from around the base of the tree within a three to ten-foot radius (depending on the size of the tree).
  • Pour your mulch (they do recommend organic) within the circle about two to four inches deep
  • After pouring, double-check that the mulch is not touching the tree’s trunk.

From hardy oak trees to dainty tomato plants, incorporating mulch into your regular landscape maintenance could be what helps you achieve the lush property you’ve dreamed of. If you’re reticent about adding a new practice to your landscaping techniques, fear not! The certified arborists and landscaping professionals at The Parke Company are knowledgeable and experienced in how to cater to your property’s specific needs.

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

6 Signs It’s Time for Tree Removal

landscaping and irrigation

Trees, like any other plant, are living organisms. This means that they will die someday. Proper removal of dying trees is necessary, not only for the general health of your landscape, but also for the safety of your home.

Unstable, sickly trees are a serious safety risk. If their instability progresses too far, an unhealthy tree could fall into your yard or on your home. Even if a tree is not completely dead, a weak tree could easily be brought down by a storm.

The best way to circumvent this safety risk is by being proactive in maintaining the trees on your property. Always keep a close watch on your older trees to check for symptoms of illness. Here are six signs that it’s time for tree removal.

1. Lack of Leaves

Most property owners are aware of the fact that trees shed their leaves in fall and remain barren until spring rolls around again. You may notice, however, that the regrowth of leaves on your trees is a bit different from years prior. This could be one of the first signs of a tree’s failing health.

If you observe that a certain area of your tree has few or no leaves, this could be a signal of illness. A tree lacking or sparse in overall leaf coverage is likely dying and should be evaluated by your landscaping service provider.

2. Mushrooms At the Base of the Tree

Mushrooms and other fungus-like organisms grow easily along the forest floor, but this is bad news for your trees. When large colonies of fungus grow on your trees, they infect the roots and trunk, causing damage that can result in serious instability and significant safety risks.

Unfortunately, if the growth of the fungus is progressive, little can be done to salvage infected plants. Many invasive organisms that commonly attack trees (such as honey fungus) cannot be removed with a fungicide.

Any trees that have not been seriously damaged by the fungus can be transplanted after careful examination, but many will have to be removed to prevent the spread of further infection.

3. Dead Branches

If you’ve noticed fungus growing at the base of your tree, you are likely to find collections of dead branches on the ground as well. Sickly trees often drop these fallen branches, which can then contribute to the spread of disease.

According to Tchukki Andersen, a certified arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association, when trees are sick or dying, they tend to shed branches to become “smaller” so that there is less of an organism to feed. This is not unlike when the human body cuts off blood flow to appendages to redirect blood to the heart and brain if necessary.  

Falling branches present a risk of falling and causing damage to your property or loved ones. When unattended, falling branches compromise tree stability, resulting in a potential fall.

4. Find Branches Without Buds

It is possible, however, to catch signs that branches may be dying before they even fall.

Carefully observing your trees’ branch health can help you spot early indicators of tree illness.

Tree limbs that lack buds where they have typically been present could be dying. If these same branches are also fine and brittle, snapping easily, this could also be a sign poor health.

Careful observation of branch health will help you avoid the larger risks that result when illnesses reach the trunk of a tree and compromise its stability. Be proactive and monitor your trees’ branches as a part of your regular landscape maintenance.

5. Bark Health

Like human skin, the bark of a tree can be a visible indicator of its overall health.

If bark has fallen off of a trunk leaving deep cracks and gouges, this could be a sign that the tree will need removal. These cracks in bark are often referred to as “cankers” and trees are likely to break or split in those areas, posing a serious threat to safety.

Evaluating a tree’s bark can also reveal its health status. This evaluation is known as a “scratch test”. To conduct a scratch test, simply peel away a small section of the bark from the tree’s trunk. If the underlying flesh of the tree is green, the tree is alive. If the bark underneath is brown and dry, this is a sign of decay.

When conducting a scratch test, make sure to test multiple branches since a sickly tree could still have a healthy branch or two.

6. Trunk Heath

While you’re conducting a scratch test, it can also be helpful to evaluate the health of your tree’s trunk as a whole.

If your tree’s trunk lists heavily to one side as a result of strong winds or a storm, this is a sign of weak roots and warrants removal.

A cavity or “owl hole” in your tree’s trunk may seem charming, but it can also signify a dying tree. Hollow portions of a tree trunk are never a good sign. These holes are typically the result of a fallen branch leaving a cavity behind and they tend to appear in old, dying trees. If you notice these types of cavities in your tree, have it inspected as soon as possible to avoid a costly disaster.  

It is important to note the difference between a sick tree and a dying tree. While dead and dying trees cannot be saved, sick trees can be helped if quickly diagnosed by a certified arborist.

From tree planting to tree removal, the care of your home’s landscape should be handled by experienced professionals. The certified arborists at The Parke company have the precise set of skills to properly evaluate the health of your trees and to help you take the next steps toward tree removal.
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.

Building a Treehouse: Choosing the Right Tree

landscaping and irrigation

Nowadays, most children are heavily exposed to screens before the age of three and spend overwhelming amounts of time indoors rather than creating outdoor memories to last a lifetime.

People who grew up without the ubiquitous presence of screens are likely to recall one of childhood’s most nostalgic inventions – the treehouse. For parents who want to enrich their children’s upbringing and combat the negative social and physical effects of excessive screen time, installing a treehouse in your backyard may be the key.

If you’re thinking about adding a treehouse to your landscape design, strategy is key to ensure both safety and sustainability. Here are a few things you need to consider when choosing the right tree for your treehouse.

Location

Everyone knows the first rule of real estate: location, location, location. The same is true for choosing the perfect tree for your treehouse.

It is important to consider your specific needs when deciding where to build a treehouse. For a family of younger children, a treehouse close to your home may ensure that your kids do not stray too far on their adventures and remain in your line of sight. Be sure, however, not to locate the treehouse so close to your home that it presents a potential safety risk or disrupts the rest of your landscape design.

If your children are older and can handle a grander excursion, you may be able to build  your treehouse on a tree further back on your property, allowing your children to embrace a little independence and grow their developing imagination.

Age

Once you have determined the ideal location for your treehouse, consider the age of the trees in that area.

Safety is a top priority when building your treehouse and tist can be directly influenced by the age of the tree you choose. Older, weaker trees should be avoided when selecting a tree for a treehouse, but even young trees should be approached with caution.

Trees are (obviously) plants, so they continue to grow over time. When building around a tree that may continue to grow significantly, be sure that you have built your structure in such a way that allows for growth as you exercise regular tree care. The last thing you want is for a treehouse to burst at the seams after a few years’ growth.

Supports

There are a number of different factors to consider when ensuring that your tree will offer sufficient support for your treehouse.

The first option is to choose not one, but two trees between which to build your treehouse. If there are multiple trees near enough to each other, building across two trees may allow you to build a larger treehouse with double the support.

Regardless of whether or not you have the capability of building on two trees, the thickness and disbursement of the branches will be important for ensuring stability. Be sure the branches are sturdy and convenient enough for building a treehouse. Removing extraneous branches can be done easily with proper landscape maintenance, but it’s a much more difficult task to grow the right branches.  

Height

The internet is full of opulent photos of treehouses tucked away in the highest reaches of Amazonian canopies. While a sky-high treehouse may make for a scintillating Instagram post, treehouses placed far off the ground may not be the best idea.     

Especially with younger, more rambunctious children, treehouses placed in a tall tree may increase the risk of injury in the event of a fall. Generally, it is advised that treehouses for children should be about 10 feet from the ground.

Height can also be a risk factor when combined with risk factors from weather. When a treehouse’s center of gravity is higher from the ground, storms can present unforeseen danger. When subjected to high-speed winds, treehouse can act as a sail and multiply the stress put onto branches during a storm. Ideally, a well-built treehouse will be able to endure the weather typical of your area, but keeping a tree house low to the ground may be a simple step to ensuring stability.

Treehouses are a classic feature of landscape design that are often forgotten today. In an age when kids need time outside more than ever, incorporating a treehouse may be what helps to combat “tech-brain” and encourage imagination in ways that only outdoor play can.   

From tree planting to treehouse installation, The Parke Company is available and qualified to ensure that your treehouse is safe and artistically incorporated into your current landscape.

For more information on how to safely incorporate the whimsical delight of a treehouse into your landscape design, contact the certified arborists at The Parke Company and let their superior lawn services transform your property.
Give us a call (615-350-6033) or contact us online today to see how The Parke Company difference can work for you.