Lawn warrior tips and tricks:

Less Water Sod: save water, save money and protect your investment


greengate Garden Centres carries Manderley Less Water Sod.  Manderley Less Water Sod is Canada's first qualified drought-tolerant, environmentally friendly sod.

Manderley Sod
It's grown from professional grade grass seed that meets the stringent drought-tolerant standards set forth by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA), and uses a Water Star™ Qualified Grass seed blend with no filler.

Help decrease the cost of living while increasing property value, with a drought-tolerant sod that stays greener and lusher with up to 50% less water consumption than traditional sod products.  Under severe drought conditions, Manderley Less Water Sod can act as an insurance policy by marginalizing the risk and expense of sod replacement.

The drought-resistant turf: Resists drought. Reduces typical watering by up to 50% saving you time and money. Stays green longer and greens up quicker. Protects your investment and increases your home's curb appeal. Minimizes the environmental impact of your property by conserving water.

Both seed and sod

are basically a combination of Kentucky Blue Grass and fescue grass varieties. These are combined in different ratios for different conditions.  Fescue is more tolerant to adverse conditions, so for example, the ratio of fescue in a specialty seed for full shade would be higher than it would be in an all purpose mix. Kentucky Blue Grass needs full sun to thrive.

There are specialty seeds available for the shade, for low maintenance, and to patch damage left by pets. There are reasons to use both seed and sod; choose the option that works best for you.

perfect lawns tips

General Preparation for New Lawns

  1. Topsoil should be at least 6 in. (15 cm) deep. Add additional topsoil if required.
  2. Spread topsoil using landscaping rake, removing all debris.
  3. Establish a grade sloping away from the house.
  4. Compact the soil using a garden roller.



Seeding should be done in the spring or fall, not during hot, mid-summer conditions. Seed is less expensive than sod, but requires more maintenance.


Seeding Steps

  1. Spread grass seed using a drop spreader at the amount per square foot indicated on the package. Different varieties have different ratios.
  2. Rake in lightly.
  3. Fertilize using a high phosphorous lawn fertilizer (10-30-10), which encourages root growth. It is used only on newly seeded grass.
  4. Keep area moist for at least two full weeks.
  5. Mow when approximately 2.5 in. (7 cm) long. Do not cut shorter than 2 inches (5 cm) the first year.



Sod is more expensive than seed, but gives you an instant lawn. Sod is sold in 2'x5' rolls. (10 sq ft.). Sod should be kept in a cool place and used within two days of delivery, so general preparation should be near or fully completed before delivery.


Sodding Steps

  1. Begin laying sod along a straight edge, such as a sidewalk. Lay full row.
  2. Lay the next row offset from the first, so that their seams are overlapping.
  3. Trim sod to fit using a sharp knife. A straight edge is sometimes useful for even cutting.
  4. After sod has been laid roll or tramp down the high spots.
  5. Fertilize using a high phosphorous lawn fertilizer (10-30-10), which encourages root growth. It is used only on newly planted grass.
  6. Keep area moist for at least two full weeks.
  7. Mow when approximately 2.5 in. (7 cm) long. Do not cut shorter than 2 inches (5 cm) the first year.

Lawn maintenance:

Once your lawn is established, it becomes only a matter of weekly mowing, and watering, and fertilizing a few times a year. Mow once a week using a sharp blade, which will make a cleaner cut. During hot, dry conditions lawns can use up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water a week. Regular weekly waterings will create deeper roots, so that the plants can tolerate drier conditions. Weekly deep waterings are better, for both moisture retention and grass development, than light daily waterings.



Fertilize often.

You can feed your lawn four times a year. Fertilize your lawn in early spring, summer, late summer and fall. A good fertilizing regiment is key to a healthy lawn. You can get away with a single fertilization a year if you hate all the extra mowing. The time to do it is in the fall about three weeks before your last mow and before your grass goes dormant.

Apply a slow release lawn fertilizer with a high proportion of nitrogen (the first number of three on the package), such as 21-3-4 in May and again in July. (Slow release fertilizers last for 6-8 weeks) Winterizing fertilizer can be applied in late September and will become active in the early spring when growing conditions begin.

lawn fertilizing

* Fertilized vs un-fertilized lawn

lawn fertilizing

* Lines in the lawn from use of a drop spreader. Avoid this by using a broadcast spreader.

lawn fertilizing

* Lines in the lawn from use of a drop spreader. Avoid this by using a broadcast spreader.

Match your spreader to your fertilizer.

Using the correct amount of fertilizer is crucial. If you're not sure there are fool proof programs by Scotts and others. They match the settings of the Scotts spreader to the Scotts fertilizer. All you need do is read the recommended setting on your spreader and match the recommended setting on the bag of fertilizer. In this way you can expect great results without burning. Always apply at the recommended rate indicated on the packaging regardless of which fertilizer you use.

Lawn fertilizer spreader
Fertilize shady areas less than sunny areas.

People tend to over apply fertilizer to shady areas because the grass is struggling. But that is just the opposite of what you should do! Grass loves sunny areas so it's no surprise it does better than in shady areas. If your lawn is really struggling in the shade over seed with a blend specifically designed for shady areas.

Scott's Turf Builder fertilizer

Aerate in the early spring.

Older lawns can become very compacted over time via traffic and gravity. Perforating alleviates the compaction in your and lawn opens up your soil with small holes that allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate to the grass roots. Roots benefit and will grow deeper and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. You can top dress with zeolite afterwards to add drainage and help break up clay.

lawn aerating

*Compacted lawn compared to uncompacted and fertilized lawn.

De-thatch your lawn.

Thatch is the bits and pieces of dead grass that over time accumulate just above the soil. A little bit is beneficial. It's organic material that can be broken down by microbes in the soil. When the thatch becomes to much that it can't naturally breakdown it becomes a detriment forming a barrier keeping moisture and air from getting to where the grass needs it. A half-inch or more of thatch can weaken your lawn. De-thatching can also prevent dew worms and chinch bug. Thatch is a great place for them to set up shop. When dew worms are present there is little control. For chinch bugs we have now have nematodes that target the grub and is an effective control for this turf pest. The best time to de-thatch is late summer or early fall. That's when your grass is growing most vigorously. Before de-thatching, mow a little shorter than normal. This just makes it easier to get it out. You'll achieve better results if you do it after a light rain or watering.

Vary the length of your grass

according to the season and growing conditions. In the spring let the grass come fully out of hibernation before clipping it down. Don't cut it as short as you may in the fall. Cutting your grass too short weakens it. Longer grass grows stronger and thicker and crowds out weeds. Also, weed seeds can't germinate as easily since they don't get much light. Established weeds have a tougher time competing with the surrounding turf. However, cutting your grass shorter in the fall can prevent snow mold and other diseases, but in the spring let it flourish and allow the plant to deepen its roots. A healthy root system means healthy plants.

Experiment with different grass heights.

Typically, here most lawns are a mixture of several types of grass, so depending on whether you are out on the prairies or in a highly shaded or sunny area will dictate its growing habit. The type of grass that does the best in each condition will be the predominate grass in that area. The ideal mowing height for our cold climate species to maintain its health and thickness is about 2-1/2 in. However, because of different growing conditions through the summer take note: at which height is my lawn doing its best and in which areas?

The best defense against weeds in your lawn

is to have a healthy lawn. Grass is super aggressive that's why it's an ideal plant for covering large areas. If your lawn is healthy it becomes difficult for invasive plants to take hold. Although there are ways to wholesale weed kill your lawn, like a weed bar, the best way to choke out weeds is to ensure you have a healthy lawn. This is not only a more beneficial way of controlling weeds it is also cost effective.

Soil pH (acidity level) is very important,

and just because your dirt looks rich it doesn't mean it's the right pH for grass. Take samples around the yard and test them. If the pH in your soil is too low, acidic, or too high, alkaline, you may have issues with your lawn. Most grasses prefer a pH of 6.0 to 7.2. Lucky for us this is a typical pH level in our area so the chances of this being a huge issue are low. If you want to test your soil, we have kits on hand.

Treat dog spots with a lengthy hosing.

Take a good quality sprayer and spray out the effected dead patches with vigor. When you think you have sprayed enough, do it some more. The key is to dilute the urine and clear out the dead grass and expose clean soil as much as possible. Often this "treatment" will be enough to bring back the lawn in a number of weeks. You can over seed with a specifically designed dog patch product to shorten that amount of time. Dog Rocks can be added to your pets drinking bowl to help prevent this particular issue without harming you best friend.

Over seed bare patches.

Simply mix good quality compost with grass seed blend appropriate for the sunlight it receives. Spread the compost seed mixture over the bare areas in your lawn and keep it moist until it fills in and grows to at least and inch and half in length before you mow it. Fertilize the patched areas with a high middle number fertilizer to get the roots growing strong. You can do this in the spring if you know there are areas that will not fill in. Otherwise, late summer and early fall are the best times to reseed any dead areas. Summer is just too hot for the seed to thrive.

Watering is all too important!

Water deeply, not sporadically. Many people have the misconception that short frequent watering's are the best, they're not. If you have an irrigation system you may be tempted to water often for short periods. Set your system to water deeply less often. You want your lawn to reach deeply with its roots. Water less often and more deeply is the key here. Ideally you want to water about an inch or so with each watering giving it many days in between depending on the weather. Use a rain gauge or an overturned Frisbee to know how much water is being applied at each watering. Monitor how your lawn is doing to know exactly how often to water as each area of the city and even areas within your lawn may have different requirements. If water is pouring off your lawn and into the street this is a good indication that too much water is being applied. Remember that you can kill your lawn with kindness and introduce unwanted pests and diseases by watering too much.

A final secret hack

is to apply Evolve Rage Plus via a dial a spray bottle in early spring. Water as evenly as possible at the rate recommended on the label. Rage Plus is an excellent fertilizer to get plants flushed out and looking their best.

Spring Lawn Maintenance


Spring lawn maintenance


Rake lawn thoroughly or use a power rake to break up the thatch. Thatch is interwoven dead grass, which prevents moisture and nutrients from penetrating into the soil.

Aerate every few years, which is removing soil plugs. This allows better moisture and nutrient penetration.

lawn maintenance


Consider applying Corn Gluten.

Corn gluten is a great fertilizer and it has the added benefit of inhibiting the germination of seeds in soil. This means while fertilizing your lawn you will also have the added benefit of preventing any weeds that have been deposited in your lawn from sprouting. Seeds can last several years in the soil, so an application in spring can be very beneficial. This is as close to a "weed and feed" as we can get here in Calgary. Obviously, you would need to apply this to an established lawn that does not need any extra over seeding as the seeds will not germinate after application.

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