Most Calgary lawns are mainly Kentucky bluegrass, which needs lots of
watering in dry Calgary. Folks often use fertilizer to help it grow and chemical
pesticides to kill the weeds that thrive in it. Chemicals kill micro-organisms in
the soil that ensure your grass gets nutrients from the soil. The grass then
becomes less healthy, prompting the use of more fertilizer and water.
The best way to go for a sustainable, low-maintenance eco-yard is to
minimize the amount of lawn you have to just the area used for play or lying
on the grass. Replace your lawn with vegetable gardens, aspen groves, a
deck or patio, or flower, shrub and tree beds that are covered with natural
mulches (leaves, wood chips).
Where lawn is appropriate, you can replace the grass type with hardy, lowgrowing
grasses that need little water, fertilizer, or mowing.
Did you know? 40 to 70 percent of our treated water supply is used on
landscapes. Half of this water is either wasted or not needed by the plants.
Overseeding is adding new grass seed to your existing lawn. Not only does overseeding
thicken up the lawn, it prevents weeds. You can seed grasses that are hardy
Overseed in May, June and September when the weather is cool so tender
grass seedlings will do well. If you overseed in early May, natural snowmelt
and rain will help the grass seeds germinate. They need to be kept moist for 3
weeks to sprout so if itʼs dry, water for 10 minutes twice daily.
Overseeding in late October is easiest. You need not water—just let the winter snow melt and
spring rain encourage the seeds to sprout in the spring. You need to overseed
2 to 5 times, usually once a year for 2 to 5 years for the hardier grass types to
take over your lawn.
Note: Avoid using corn gluten meal, a natural weed suppressant, for a
month before overseeding or it will stop the seeds from sprouting.
How to Overseed
- Spread a thin layer of compost to overseed.
- Add a 1 cm or 1/4 in layer of compost over your lawn first. This is about a
cubic yard of compost for most lawns.
- Use a seeder to spread the grass
- Rake the seed into the compost lightly with a leaf rake.
What grass type to use
Overseeding or seed bare soil with Sheepʼs fescue in areas not sun-baked. In
really sunny areas, use a low-maintenance mix with a lot of fescue grasses in
it. Bow Point Nursery in Springbank has Sheepʼs Fescue seed and also a
seed mix. Western Canada Compost will deliver compost.