Answers to Garden & Landscaping Frequently Asked Questions
Sod & Grass Seed1. How do I figure out square footage of my backyard?
The simplest way of calculating square footage of your yard is to break your yard up into basic shapes like squares, rectangles and triangles. Then using basic length time’s width multiplication you can calculate each area and add them all together for a total square footage. We recommend adding about 10% extra for cuts and irregular areas. We don’t recommend using plot plans as they are not always completely accurate and also don’t always include extras like sheds, decks, walkways, etc. When ordering your Bluegrass sod, only order what you need within that 10% because we cannot accept back unused sod as it’s a perishable item.
2. What is the weight of a pallet/roll of sod?
The weight of sod will vary greatly depending on moisture content. An average a roll of sod is 25lbs and a pallet will be approximately 2000lbs. A car, SUV or minivan will typically carry 10-30 rolls of sod and most half ton pick-up trucks will carry 1 pallet. Remember if you choose to pick up sod then your loads must be secured.
3. What is the procedure for pallet returns?
Pallets are charged a deposit fee and once you return them you will receive your deposit back. The procedure is to bring your pallets back to our yard and drop them in our designated pallet return area. A yard person will issue a pallet return slip that is taken inside with your original receipt and method of payment. We only return the deposit when original receipt and method of payment are provided.
4. How many rolls of sod on a pallet and how big is each roll?
There are 70 rolls or 700 square feet of sod on one pallet. We sell sod by the square foot and can sell as little as one 10 square foot roll at a time. Each 10 square foot roll is 2 feet wide by 5 feet long.
5. How much area does a bag of grass seed cover?
The amount of area that a bag of grass seed will cover varies depending on the mixture, size of bag and amount applied. We recommend for new lawns 2-4lbs per 1000 sq. ft. and for over seeding 0.5-2lbs per 1000 sq. ft. Note some mixtures will vary in application rates, please read package or consult a professional.
6. What type of sod do you sell?
Our sod mixture is adapted occasionally based on new seed introductions and climate changes. Our mixture however, has not changed much over the past 50 years of production. The blend is specially suited for Southern Alberta and is a registered mixture of 80% Kentucky Blue Grass and 20% Red Fescue.
7. What grass seed mix would you use for a lawn?
The grass mixture that we recommend for residential lawns is our custom registered mix of 80% Kentucky Blue Grass and 20% Red Fescue. This mixture is great for sunny and shady areas and will continue to adapt to different growing conditions.
Sod Installation & Maintenance1. When do I fertilize my new lawn and what is recommended?
Fertilize before laying sod, add fertilizer at the rate of 0.5 kilograms per 100 sq. ft. and rototill or rake to a depth of 5 cm. Bluegrass requires from 2 to 3 kilograms of actual nitrogen: 1 to 1 ½ kilograms of actual phosphorous, and the same of potassium per 100 sq. ft per year. We offer our own bluegrass fertilizer, 19-12-15-6, nitrogen-phosphate-potassium-sulphur.
2. What is the best product to remove dandelions or quack grass from my lawn?
To remove dandelions or quack grass from your lawn, use selective herbicides. Selective herbicides are designed to only kill broadleaf weeds. These are still chemicals, please apply according to directions.
3. What kind of soil is required under sod?
Screened soil is best used for under sod; it is screened to remove large rock and debris.
4. When and how much do I water my new lawn?
Saturate the area with water immediately, after installation, ensure all edges and corners are thoroughly saturated – to check, lift a corner and make sure the ground underneath is wet. Insert finger in the soil under the sod , it should be moist to a depth of 4 cm. Keep consistently moist for 10 days then after the first mowing you can cut back to 1” of water per week, taking into account mother nature.
5. How do I prevent weeds in my lawn?
The best weed control is good, healthy turf. When your lawn is thick and vigorous, weeds simply have no place to get started. In renovating lawns, however, or even established lawns that have had lapses in maintenance, weeds do have a way of intruding. There are two types of chemical weed controls available. One type kills the weed (post emergent) and the other type prevents seed germination (pre-emergent).
6. How do I get rid of dog patches in my lawn?
One way to get rid of dog patches would be to neutralize the soil, rake dead patches, top dress with about 1” of soil then seed. Cut a pc of burlap to fit area and stake down. Grass will grow through burlap, when it is about 2” in height lift burlap off and mow grass as usual. There are also dog patch products available!
7. How long after installation should I mow my new lawn?
Generally within 10 – 14 days of installing your new lawn. It is recommended to mow at 4” in height. Your new lawn can take light foot traffic within the first week.
8. How do I install new sod?
Lay in brickwork fashion, staggering the seams, in a straight line. Ensure all joints are butted tightly together without overlapping. Trim sod as necessary with sod knife from the bottom of the sod.
9. How do I get rid of dew worms in my lawn?
Aerate and then top dress with top soil and sand.
10. How long after delivery do I have to lay my sod?
Sod should be laid as soon as possible, no later than 24 hours after delivery. Sod is only guaranteed if properly installed, maintained and laid within 24 hours of delivery.
11. How do I prepare my yard for new sod?
Remove all debris from area, rototill if needed. Prepare soil, should be 3 – 4 inches in depth. Grade and shape to desired contours. Fertilizer is recommended prior to sod installation.
Trees1. What flowering tree produces little or no fruit would you recommend?
There are several trees that grow well in Southern Alberta that produce flowers and have little to no fruit. The most popular is the Spring Snow Crabapple because they are very showy, but you can also look at Japanese Lilacs, Linden, Caragana, and Russian Olive.
2. What is the difference between deciduous and coniferous?
Deciduous trees lose their leaves during the winter. Coniferous trees produce cones and usually have fine, needle-like leaves and they stay green all winter.
3. What does “caliper” mean?
Caliper is the diameter of a tree’s trunk. Measurement is usually taken about 15cm above the ground, or where the trunk and root meet at the soil line. The larger the caliper is the larger and more mature the tree is.
4. Why are some trees so expensive?
Some trees grow very slowly and take years to reach market size. Many trees have been grown in fields for more than 10 years before being sold. Water, fertilizer, weed, pest control, transplanting, potting and shipping are all expensive. Rare, unusual trees or those in limited stock are all going to be more expensive.
5. What is a good tree to grow near my deck?
A good choice is a tidy one that does not drop fruit or seeds or drip sap. Some good choices are Hawthorn, Linden, Amur Maackia and Amur Maple.
6. My juniper is really old and overgrown; it’s covering my front window. If I cut it back will it bush?
Most evergreens will not fill out if you prune them back. They will not form new branches on old growth. It is better to dig it out and replace it with a new, more suitable plant.
Tree Installation & Maintenance1. How do I prevent rabbits and deer from eating my trees?
The best way of preventing rabbits and deer from eating your trees and shrubs is to plant trees and shrubs that are resistant. This however does not guarantee that they will not eat them, rabbits and deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough. The other option would be to apply a rabbit and deer repellent. Most repellents are water soluble and will have to be re-applied regularly, they are also designed not to hurt or harm your trees or shrubs.
2. What fertilizer is best to use when planting trees, what does the numbers mean on the fertilizer package?
Newly planted trees for the first year should be fed a transplant fertilizer (5-15-5) once a month and not past the beginning of August as the tree will be starting to go into dormancy. Older and established deciduous trees should be fed with a slow release tree spikes and evergreens should be fed evergreen fertilizer (30-10-30). The numbers refer to the percentage by weight of nitrogen (1st number), phosphate (middle number) and potash (last number).
3. What do I do for the top of my tree or shrub that has not leafed out?
The first thing to check when your tree or shrub has not leafed right to the top is the branches to see if they are still alive.
4. How do I stake my tree and should it be staked?
It is only necessary to stake your tree if it is not standing straight on its own and if it’s exposed to strong winds until the roots become established. Tree stakes should be removed after 1 year.
5. When can I prune my tree?
The best time of year to prune a tree is while it’s dormant; the exceptions are Maples, Birch, Evergreens and Lilacs. Maples and Birch should be pruned August to October because of their sap, if you prune at any other time you can actually cause damage or kill the tree. Evergreens are best pruned late spring after new growth has opened. Lilacs should be pruned after they have finished blooming in late spring to avoid removing flower buds for the next year.
6. My trees leaves are wilting & browning, what is happening?
The tree is either being over or under watered. Check the soil 6” below the surface at the drip edge of the tree. If the soil is muddy and soaked then you are watering too much, if the soil is hard and dry then you are not watering enough. If you are watering correctly and the problem persists then you will need to contact an arbourist to come and look at your tree.
7. Should I remove the wire basket/burlap before planting my tree?
No, the wire basket and burlap should remain around the tree roots. Removing the wire basket and burlap can cause unnecessary stress to the tree. However, once the tree is in the hole all the wire, string and burlap must be removed from on top of the root ball.
8. My newly planted tree has dropped most of its leaves, what is wrong?
It is most likely transplant shock. Your newly planted tree is using all its energy concentrating on establishing root growth. Leaves dropping can be very normal and once the tree settles in then it should start producing new leaves. Continue treating the tree like its completely healthy, checking for water and fertilizing as required.
9. How much should I water my new tree?
When first planted, the roots should be completely saturated for the first 2-3 days to ensure moisture has penetrated the root ball completely. The first 2-3 months the tree should be watered twice a week, ensuring that the soil is moist, not saturated. To ensure that your tree is getting enough water, dig down 6” at the edge of the drip line of the tree and grab a small handful of soil, if the soil is damp and sticks together its perfect. If it is dry and crumbly then it needs more water, if it drips like a sponge then it’s too wet and stop watering.
10. When is the best time to be planting my tree?
The ideal time to plant is in early spring or late fall, but anytime between spring and fall is fine as well.
11. How big is the root ball?
The root ball size varies on the size of the tree. The larger the caliper tree, the larger the root ball it will have. The caliper sized trees typically start at 24” in diameter and continues up to 42” in diameter. If planting the tree yourself, we do recommend that you measure the root ball of the tree in order to dig the correct size of hole.
12. How close to my house can I plant my tree?
To calculate the minimum space needed for the tree to thrive, take the canopy spread of a mature tree and divide by two. For example, if a tree has a 20’ spread at maturity, plant the tree no closer than 10’ to a building.
13. What is the largest size tree I can put in my backyard with no back alley access?
The largest tree that you can put in your back yard without alley access would be a 70mm deciduous or 250cm coniferous tree granted that there are no obstructions like steep slopes, retaining walls, power lines, stairs, etc.
14. I have a small yard, what kind of tree(s) should I plant?
If you have a small yard we recommend that you purchase smaller trees which would mainly be the ornamental type of trees like crabapples, maydays, etc. We also advise that you contact one of our qualified staff members and they will be able to assist you in the process.
15. If I pick up my own tree, what is the proper way to transport it home?
Lying down in the back of the truck tied securely and covered with a tarp to prevent wind burn and leaf damage. Ensure that the root ball in lying against the cab of the truck and not the tailgate.
16. How deep should I dig the hole for my new tree, what do I need to do to prepare for planting?
The hole should be a minimum of 6-8” wider and deeper than the root ball. If the soil is very wet and there is a drainage problem in that area, dig the hole deeper so you can place rock at the base of the hole to keep the tree from drowning. Put zeolite in bottom of the hole, put in soil and mix in bone meal. Place in hole and backfill, then water in with transplant fertilizer.
18. Does Blue Grass deliver, if so, how long before I can have my trees delivered?
Yes, Blue Grass delivers. You are usually looking at anywhere from 2 – 7 days for delivery. Our tree delivery price is per tree. Give us a call and one of our staff will be happy to give you pricing.
19. Does Blue Grass provide tree planting?
Yes, we do tree plantings. This includes us digging the hole, placing the tree and back filling the hole. This price is also per tree, please call for pricing. Prior to planting customers are responsible for contacting Alberta 1 call (1-800-242-3447) to mark utilities.
20. Does Blue Grass have warranty on their trees?
Yes, there is a one year warranty on trees purchased at regular price (this does not include sale items), when the tree(s) are properly maintained and planted.
Shrub1. What is hardy and will grow in the Calgary area?
Calgary and area are considered a zone 3 climate, meaning any plant material rated at a zone 2 or 3 will be hardy for the area. However, Calgary has a unique climate with winter warming periods (Chinooks), which cause some havoc, because of this we have created what are called micro-climates which allows already existing zone 2 and 3 plants to thrive better and also allows for zone 4 plants to grow successfully. In conclusion, Calgary and area is unique and every yard varies greatly, so generally planting zone 2 and 3 shrubs should be fine. However, experimenting in your own yard is the best way to discover what does best where.
2. What shrubs can I plant that are drought tolerant and low maintenance?
Generally anything that is hardy for here is drought tolerant after it has been established. Some great drought tolerant and low maintenance shrubs include: caragana, cotoneaster, potentilla, saskatoon, currant, juniper, mugo pine, buffalo berry, etc. There are many other successful shrubs but the ones listed are proven.
3. What shrubs will do well in shaded areas?
Generally anything that is not grown for its flowers will grow successfully in shaded areas. Some great shrubs are: caragana, contoneaster, cranberry, currant, dogwood, snowberry, burning bush and many others. Everything requires some sunlight in order to thrive. Shrubs grown in shaded areas are slower growing but often do very well because soil typically stays moister.
4. What is a shrub?
A shrub is classified as a woody plant that grows to less then 5m in height. These plants can be deciduous or evergreen. They come back every spring and go dormant every fall but keep a visible structure year round. Shrubs make a great addition to any landscape, adding colour, texture and structure.
Shrub Installation & Maintenance1. How do I correctly water a shrub?
Initially after planting, and for the first season, when a shrub is in the ground, it needs to be kept on the moist side to allow for root development. The best way to check the water level in our soil is to physically go out and test it. At the edge of the shrub (drip line), dig down a few inches, being careful of roots. Take a small amount of soil in your hand and if it sticks together like dough its perfect for moisture. However, it its soggy and dripping stop watering until needed again. On the other side, if it’s crumbly and dry give it some water. This method is the best way of checking because all areas and all shrubs have different watering needs.
2. What is the correct way to plant a shrub?
First dig a hole that is twice the size of the pot. In the bottom of the hole you will need to add 1-2 cups of zeolite. Spread around, add a few inches of soil into bottom of the hole, add ½ cup of bone meal, then mix with zeolite and soil. Remove the shrub from the pot, if root bound, break the roots apart gently. Place the shrub in the hole so that root ball is level with existing ground. Back fill around the shrub with the soil that was removed from hole, avoid putting clay back in. Pack soil lightly and water to remove air pockets. Top up soil if necessary, being careful not to pile soil up around base of the shrub. Water the shrub using a root booster or water soluble fertilizer, example 10-20-10. Enjoy and watch your new addition grow.
3. Does Blue Grass have warranty on their shrubs?
Yes, there is a one year warranty on shrubs purchased at regular price (this does not include sale items), when the tree(s) are properly maintained and planted.
4. When can I prune my shrub?
The best time of year to prune a shrub is while it’s dormant; the exceptions are Evergreens, Maples and Lilacs. Maples and should be pruned August to October because of their sap, if you prune at any other time you can actually cause damage or kill the shrubs. Evergreens are best pruned late spring after new growth has opened. Lilacs should be pruned after they have finished blooming in late spring to avoid removing flower buds for the next year.
5. What fertilizer is best to use when planting shrubs, what does the numbers mean on the fertilizer package?
Newly planted shrubs for the first year should be fed a transplant fertilizer (5-15-5) once a month and not past the beginning of August as the tree will be starting to go into dormancy. Older and established deciduous shrubs should be fed with a slow release fertilizer and evergreens should be fed evergreen fertilizer (30-10-30). The numbers refer to the percentage by weight of nitrogen (1st number), phosphate (middle number) and potash (last number).
Annuals1. What is an annual?
An annual often refers to a plant grown outdoors in the spring and summer and surviving just for one growing season. Annuals are fantastic for adding seasonal colour to any landscape. Most annual flowers bloom for long periods unlike any other plant. Annuals can be any seasonal flower using in gardens, planters, pots and hanging baskets, as well as most vegetables and herbs.
2. How do I get my annuals to produce more blooms?
There are severals conditions that allow annuals to produce abundant blooms throughout the season. Ensure they are receiving correct light conditions and regular waterings. Most annuals are also heavy feeders so regular fertilizing for a bloom booster will encourage more flowers.
3. My annuals have yellow or brown leaves, what’s wrong?
Yellowing and or browning leaves are a sign of incorrect watering. Check the soil, if wet and muddy cut back on the amount of water and if dry and powdery water more. Annuals really thrive best on consitant waterings and will suffer when neglected.
4. When is it safe to plant annuals outside?
Annuals are sensitive to temperature changes and most do not handle cold, frost or snow. It is best to wait until after the May long weekend or after all threat of snow and frost has passed. Annuals can be put outside during the day is temperatures are above ten degrees but should be taken inside or well protected with frost blankets at night.
Perennials1. What is a perennial?
A perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals and are plants with little or no woody growth. Known as small flowering plants that grow and bloom over the spring and summer dying back every autumn and winter, then returning in the spring from the roots. Perennials make a great addition to any landscape adding different colours, textures, shapes and flowers throughout the seasons.
2. What perennials would be best for shaded areas?
There are many different perennials that thrive in partial to full sun areas. Some common shade loving perennials are Astilbe, Heuchera, Ferns, Hostas, Bergenia and Ligularia. All these add different textures and colours to the garden.
3. When can perennials be planted?
Perennials can be planted in the spring once the ground has thawed and all risk of hard frosts have passed and can be planted well into the fall prior to the ground freezing. If planting late in the season its recommended to water and mulch well befored freeze up.
Soils & Rock1. How do I calculate how much product I need?
Multiply the length by the width of the area to be covered by the soil or rock product. Divide by nine, divide by 36 and multiply by the number of inches in depth you need. This will give you the amount in cubic yards required for the project.
2. Should I use Garden mix, Loam or Rocky Mountain mix soil for…….?
Garden mix is 25% top soil, 25% compost and 50% peat moss; it is great for flower beds, gardens, etc. Not great for sodding as the compost could burn the grass roots.
Screened loam is black top soil that has been screened to remove rock and debris. Best used for sodding, flower beds, shrub beds and as clean fill. This soil is heavy and will pack over time.
Rocky mountain mix soil is a blend of 30% composted bark and 70% peat. Great for shrub beds and flower beds, weed control and water retention.
3. If picking up how much can I haul in my truck?
Generally a 6-8 ft pickup truck (1/2 ton) box will fit approximately 1 cubic yard, ¼ ton pickup truck holds approx. ½ cubic yard. Weight is always an issue; call Blue Grass for approximate weights on various soils and rocks.
4. How deep a layer of mulch is required to prevent weeds from growing through?
A depth of 4 inches is required to prevent weeds from growing through.
5. What products do I put under my patio/sidewalk?
There various products you can use under your patio/sidewalk; pea gravel and road gravel can be used for sub-grading. Play sand and bedding sand can also be used for under patios and sidewalks.
Rainbow Play SystemsComing Soon! Please contact us with your questions!