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Lawns & Soils

Lawn Planting & Renovating

Sodding Vs. Seeding

Sodding:
  • instant results - low traffic use almost immediately and normal to high traffic use in 2-4 weeks
  • reduced concern about weeds as sod inhibits weed growth
  • stops soil erosion / washouts right away
  • less initial maintenance, can lay sod year round
Seeding:
  • less costly
  • more variety - different blends available for every location
  • initial labour less intensive

Your specific needs should be weighed against these advantages to determine which method is best for you.

Site Preparation (Seed & Sod)

Before preparing your site for a new lawn, if at all possible, ensure that all flowerbeds, trees, shrubs and sidewalks are installed. This will reduce overall cost and labour in the long term.

Determine the slope and grade of your lawn. Slope soil away from your house so water does not pool around away the foundation. If existing soil is poor, grade subsoil to desired slope, leaving 6-8" for good quality screened loam. Once soil level has been topped up, rake to final grade. Apply a high phosphorous fertilizer (starter fertilizer) over the entire area. Water lightly prior to laying sod or seeding.

Sodding

  • purchase sod from a reputable supplier to ensure quality
  • recommended blend
  • 20% Creeping red fescue
  • 80% Kentucky Bluegrass
  • lay sod so that the seams are staggered (see below)
  • make sure the edges of the sod are butted up tightly to one another
  • trim excess with a sharp knife
  • roll sod with a roller to ensure good root to soil contact
  • water thoroughly (2-3 hours per sprinkler setting) and repeat as often as necessary to keep area moist (at least 2-3 weeks or until new growth is present)

Seeding

  • can use various mixtures depending on the site and conditions. (See Lawn Seed brochure for suggestions)
  • spring or fall are the best times to seed 
  • using a drop seeder apply the seed at half the recommended rate making two passes (see below)
  • apply a thin layer of soil / soil mix to the entire area to hold seed in place and retain moisture
  • must NOT dry out, frequent watering especially during the first 3-5 weeks while germination is taking place.

Mowing & Fertilizing

Mowing:
  • make first cut when the new grass is 8-10cm (3-4") high
  • normal cutting height 5-8cm (2-3")
Fertilizing:
  • can start fertilizing after the lawn has been mowed 3 to 5 times or start the following spring
  • avoid using fertilizers with herbicides until after the first season.

Renovating Lawns

Why?
  • lawns deteriorate for many reason – insects, disease, adverse weather, poor soil conditions, age
When?
  • spring is the best time for renovating lawns
Total or Partial Renovation?

decide whether a total renovation or partial renovation is necessary

  • if less then 40-50% of the lawn is composed of desirable grass, do a total renovation
  • in instances where poor quality or patchy turf can be restored without completely killing or removing old sod, do a partial renovation
Preparations:
  • mow area close to the ground & remove dead vegetation 
  • rectify and correct any problems that caused the deterioration:
    • low fertility –amend soils
    • surface compaction - aerate or turn over soil
    • too much shade - prune trees that are causing excessive shade
    • undesirable weeds or grasses hand weed or use a herbicide 
  • using chosen grass seed mixture, seed area using recommended seeding rates for a new lawn.
  • rake area lightly to cover seeds and roll area to ensure good seed to soil contact
  • if soil tends to dry out quickly top dress with a fine layer of topsoil or you can loosely spread straw or use burlap to cover seeded area—any of these coverings will help soil retain moisture
  • once seed has germinated, remove straw and burlap to prevent damaging new grass seedlings
  • keep the surface moist and keep grass cut short until new grass fills in and establishes