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

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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

Comprehensive Guide to Winterizing Your Landscape Assets

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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

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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.

Controlling Crabgrass and Dandelions Without Chemicals

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Walt Whitman once wrote about weeds as “plants whose virtues have yet to be discovered.” We’re pretty sure that most Nashville residents are still waiting for those virtues

to be uncovered. Crabgrass tops the list of lawn complaints, while dandelions have both admirers and detractors.

Weed control is a lawn maintenance issue that affects all homeowners, and many of those homeowners want what seems to be an impossibility.

Homeowners often want to control weeds but not use chemicals. At the Parke Company, our 30 years of experience delivering superior landscaping services to the Nashville community tells us that a “natural” solution is possible.

The problem, of course, is that a natural solution takes time, possibly years. In an age of pre-emergent herbicides, few homeowners want to pursue a far slower strategy. But that may be changing. Where there is a consumer need that is not being met, entrepreneurs smell opportunity. That may be at play here when it comes to controlling crabgrass.

Crabgrass – Super Weed?

The best defense against crabgrass, or any weed, is a thick, healthy lawn that chokes out weeds before they can gain purchase. For crabgrass that means a healthy, thick lawn, and soil with the proper pH balance (7.0-7.5). Perennial ryegrass is the best competition for crabgrass. It also provides some insect control, as it emits a natural poison that gives some pesky bugs a lethal dose of natural insecticide.

And now, Iowa State University has studied an all-natural material that has amazing crabgrass stopping powers. Corn gluten meal, a product of milling corn, turns out to be a highly effective herbicide. Some manufacturers are adding potash and nitrogen to the meal to give the soil a boost as well. A systematic application of corn gluten meal results in 60% reduction in weeds of all kinds the first year, 80% the second year, and a weed free lawn the third.

Pretty powerful stuff.

Dandelions – Exotic Flowers?

When Walt Whitman was musing about weeds, he probably wasn’t including dandelions in that class of vegetation. The fact is, dandelions were intentionally imported to North America in the 1700s by colonists from Europe. Back then, they enjoyed a much better reputation and had a higher level of appreciation.

If you examine the “virtues” of a dandelion compared to crabgrass or chickweed, dandelions look downright attractive. Consider the following:

  •        Dandelions make a tasty wine
  •        They can be dried, ground, and used as a substitute for coffee
  •        Young dandelion leaves are used in salad
  •        They are a natural source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin A
  •        They are a natural diuretic

 

Still not buying it? Then get a weed fork and cut these rascals out of the lawn. Make sure you get the root, which can grow to 5 feet long. A dandelion has a two-year life cycle and you have to get rid of it before the end of the cycle. That’s when the flower is replaced with the fluffy white bloom that spreads seeds on the wind.

To prevent the growth of dandelions, fertilizing in the spring and fall are the best defense. Again, the thicker the grass, the less opportunity for weeds of any kind to thrive.

Contact The Parke Company

Another option, of course, is to let us take care of the issue. We provide a full line of lawn services including lawn mowing, shrub pruning, and tree trimming. Contact us today and let’s plan your “weed abatement” strategy together.

Summer Grass Care Tips for Nashville Lawns

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Summer is coming, Nashville, and it’s time to brush up on a few simple lawn maintenance tips to keep your grass looking lush and beautiful. The combination of hot

temperatures and heavy rains can do damage to your lawn. This is particularly true if it is planted with cool weather grass like  Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fine fescue.

The key to keeping your lawn healthy in the summer revolves around two simple tasks: lawn mowing and watering. Done right, a properly mowed and irrigated lawn can stay lush and green throughout the summer. Done wrong, roots could be damaged, and the blades can be exposed to disease.

At the Parke Company, we have been serving the Nashville metro area as a premiere landscaping service for over three decades. We know the most common mistakes that homeowners make in their summertime lawn care. To avoid unintentional damage to your lawn, we are offering simple guidelines to keep your lawn healthy, lush, and green.

Mowing – Buzz Cuts are Not in Fashion in Nashville

Mowing can be a hot, sweaty chore. It’s not surprising that some people give their lawns a buzz cut thinking that they won’t have to repeat the process as many times because it will take a while for the grass to grow tall enough to need another mowing. Unfortunately, if they do that often enough, they won’t have to worry about mowing at all because the grass will most likely turn brown and go dormant.

Taller grass is healthier grass. When grass is allowed to grow to 2.5” to 3”, it actually shades the soil, lowering the temperature and slowing evaporation. Here are a few tips on correct mowing.

  • Tune up your mower. Inspect/replace the spark plug and check for oil or fuel leaks. Most importantly, have the blade sharpened. A dull blade does not cut the grass, it tears it. Ragged tips on the grass invite disease.
  • Set the lawnmower to a 2.5” cut. If you are uncertain of the height, just set it as high as it will go.
  • Change up your mowing pattern. Mow north to south and then east to west on your next outing. Changing up patterns keeps the lawn looking level.
  • Using a mower with a bag or a mulching mower will minimize thatch buildup. Deep raking or thatching should not be attempted until the fall.

Watering – Giving Your Lawn a Tall Drink of Water

The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service says that typically lawns need 1” to 1.5” of water per week. That’s a flow rate equal to 630 to 945 gallons of water. Infrequent, deep watering is far more effective than daily light irrigation. Ideally, the watering session will reach 4” to 6” into the soil.

The Extension Service advises that the best time to water to minimize evaporation and the possibility of watering lingering on the surface of the grass is between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. If that’s not possible, try 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

So, the takeaway is to use a sharp blade, don’t cut your grass too short, and give your lawn a deep drink instead of sprinkling daily.

Contact The Parke Company

Or, if you don’t have the time, contact us today. We offer a full line of lawn services including maintenance of shrubs and tree trimming.