At Mirage Landscaping in Calgary, we have over three generations’ worth of experience in landscape design. We have seeded and sodded both new lawns and ones in need of total rehabilitation as part of our clients’ vision for their “dream yards”. As one of Calgary’s full-service landscaping design and maintenance firms, we have had all manner of commercial and residential clients ask us whether they should use sod or establish a lawn through seeding.
Both approaches usually result in fantastic results when they are undertaken by professionals. Most of the variables involved, such as timing, length of establishment, viability and cost, are largely determined at the beginning of the process.
The Merits of Sod
The two largest benefits of sod, which are rolls or slabs of already matured grass cut with their root systems intact, are in the speed of its installation and its readiness for foot traffic. Sod is typically procured locally, and has been growing in place for as much as two years before being cut upon ordering and delivered via truck. By using locally grown and harvested sod, you are assured that what becomes your lawn has been “weather tested” and will flourish despite the temperature extremes we face in southern Alberta. As the sod is harvested locally and delivered to your site within hours or days of your order, it also has an increased chance of taking its transplantation in stride.
With proper site preparation and installation, sod becomes a virtually instant lawn. It can be installed in any decent weather save for the most scorching of high summer days. Sod will root rapidly and be ready for an initial mowing in as little as two weeks. Any seams in the lawn apparent at first will quickly disappear with proper care and watering.
Sod sounds unbeatable doesn’t it? There are some drawbacks that keep the more patient approach of seeding a very attractive option. Foremost among these negatives is cost. Sod is cut from the ground, rolled or stacked, loaded onto a truck by the pallet, and then unloaded and installed. All of this weight and handling drives up the cost of sod.
The other primary problem with sod is that it lacks versatility. If you’ve ever seen a sod farm, you will note that the entire field is brightly sunlit. If your lawn is going to be in partial or deep shade, sod raised in full sunlight, typically an 80/20 blend of bluegrass and fescue, will struggle mightily to establish itself or fail entirely. Your only alternative may be to use seed.
The Benefits of Seeding
The two primary upsides of using seed to establish a lawn are lower cost and better grass diversity. The grass seed blend you employ can, within reason, be geared towards conditions locally grown sods may be ill-suited. If you need shade loving grass, drought tolerant breeds, erosion control through deeper rooting varieties, or just want to spend a lot less money in exchange for taking more time, seeding is the better option. There is nothing instant about it. Though lawns can be seeded in early spring, this time of year is when weeds are fully in bloom as well. It is usually far better to seed a lawn in late summer, when weed growth is less vigorous.
Establishing seeded lawns requires daily attention to become well-rooted. Watering a newly-seeded lawn is a frequent affair at first. New grass shoots should also not be trod upon during their development or soil compaction may result in patchy areas where the grass never breaks through.
Either Way, Consider An Irrigation System
If you are looking at a patch of bare dirt, or a worn out lawn that needs to be removed, now is the time to consider the installation of an underground sprinkler system before the new lawn is planted or installed. Contact Mirage Landscaping of Calgary for a free quote on the entire job.