16825 - 128A Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta   780.414.1476

Best Helpful Tips

Have questions? We can help below are some commonly asked questions or contact us if you don't see what you are looking for.

Can You Handle The Weight

How Do I Calculate How Much Material I Need?

How Much Does A Pickup Hold?

Is The Topsoil Good For Gardens (Flowers)?

Is The Topsoil Treated?

Mushrooms In New Sod

Planting Tips For Trees And Shrubs

Types Of Sand

Understanding Your Soil

Can You Handle The Weight

Much of the product that we sell can get rather heavy. Is your vehicle up to it?

GVWR
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

A vehicles GVWR is the maximum weight a vehicle should reach in use, including the vehicle itself, passengers, fuel and cargo. A vehicles GVWR is established by its manufacturer and should not be exceeded for reasons of safety.

Example, if you own a "half-ton" with a GVWR rating of 7000 lbs, you must subtract the weight of the truck (curb weight), less passengers, fuel, and any other "optional items" you added. What's left is the "payload" rating or how much you can carry. If you figured your weight at 5200 lbs before we load it, then you can carry 1800 lbs maximum.

We will advise you if we think your at risk of overloading your vehicle. It's then your call if you insist we still load your product. NOTE: Best Landscaping cannot be held responsible for snapped axels, broken box beds, twisted frames or weak brakes due to overloading. We also reserve the right to refuse to overload a vehicle if we think your safety or the safety of others may be at risk.

Weights listed below are per cubic yard.
(unless otherwise stated)

Road Crush: 3080 lbs

Sand: 2650 lbs

Shale: 2000 lbs

Topsoils: 2200 lbs

Bark Chips: 1000 lbs

Mulch: 1200 lbs

Washed: 2550 lbs

Limestone: 2600 lbs

Sod: 2000 lbs (per pallet)

Mixes: 2200 lbs

Flagstone: 2500 - 4000 lbs (per pallet)

Boulders: 250 - 3000 lbs

Paving Stones: 3200 lbs (per pallet)

If in doubt, delivery is available.

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How Do I Calculate How Much Material I Need?

Measure each area individually in rectangles. For depth, a general rule of thumb, for final grade, is 4.5 inches of topsoil. For vegetable and flower gardens, 9 to 12 inches. For pie shaped or triangular areas, measure and caclulate as though a rectangle and then divide by two. Add the totals for each area to get a grand total.

How to calculate the number of cubic yards required:

  1. Convert all measurements to feet (Meters X 3.2828 = Feet)
  2. Length x Width x Depth (In Inches) = Cubic Feet
  3. The cubic feet divided by 27 = Cubic Yards
  4. Order your topsoil by cubic yards

To calculate square yards:

  1. Convert all measurements to feet (Meters X 3.2828 = Feet)
  2. Length x Width (In Feet) = Square Feet
  3. The square feet divided by 9 = Square Yards
  4. Order sod by square yards

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How Much Does A Pickup Hold?

Pickups hold one to two cubic yards. Another way to look at is a cubic yard is about 6 wheelbarrows full.

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Is The Topsoil Good For Gardens (Flowers)?

While you can use straight topsoil for gardens and flowers, it is recommended that you use a garden mix. A garden mix consists of a mix usually of mulch, sand and topsoil.

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Is The Topsoil Treated?

No. But the topsoil we supply is as clean as is possible without sterilizing (a very expensive process). It comes from a stockpile that has been composting for approximately three years and has been screened down to minus 1/2 inch. The composting process takes care of the majority of the undesirable contaminents.

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Mushrooms In New Sod

The subject of mushrooms is of great concern to most homeowners. The sudden appearance of mushrooms is most common when soils are moist, like after heavy rains or on newly laid sod that is kept moist. Aside from being unsightly, they are rarely harmful to the lawn. The mushroom is only the fruiting body of a fungus that lives and grows in moist soils. They are a natural occurrence in the soil and are beneficial for breaking down organic matter. They also release nutrients and essential elements to the soil for utilization in plant growth. The mushrooms will develop from underground root like hyphae (mycelium) when moisture and temperature conditions are right. This may occur at any time of the year. They are frequently associated with decaying organic matter so, to decrease their occurrence, remove any accumulations of wood, plant debris or grass clippings. Avoid over-watering, keeping in mind that turf in shaded areas will require less amounts of water. With unfavorable conditions, the mushrooms will disappear as quickly as they appeared. Fungicides will suppress mushroom growth but will not eradicate the underground mycelium.

These mushrooms should not be confused with those from fairy rings which are harmful to the lawn. The typical signs are tan-colored mushrooms; or dark green, fast growing grass; or dead grass; or any combination of these in definite rings or arches. The fungus grows in soils 2 to 3 years before it can be seen on the lawn. It can also remain dormant for years until conditions are right for it to grow. Fairy ring arches and circles will increase in diameter from 15 to 60 cm annually.

Belinda Choban
Sod & Home Garden Specialist
1984

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Planting Tips For Trees And Shrubs

Trees and shrubs are usually purchased from nurseries or garden centers as bare toot stock, balled in burlap or containers.

Nursery Stock

Bare root trees and shrubs do not have a soil ‘ball. But their exposed toots are covered with moist peat moss to keep them from drying out. Small fruit trees, shrubs and raspberry canes are available as bare rootstock. It is best to plant them as early in the season as possible.

Nursery stock that is sold balled in burlap is dug in the spring before the plants begin to grow. The root ball is then covered with burlap to prevent it from drying out. Evergreens such as spruce and cedar are commonly sold balled in burlap. Balled in burlap material is available throughout most of the gardening season.

Containerized nursery stock is sold in plastic containers, fiber pots, or wooden baskets. Most trees, shrubs and roses are sold in containers. They can be planted at any time through out the growing season.

Planting

Make sure the new hole is large enough to accommodate the entire root system when planting nursery stock. For most tree and shrub, the hole should be at least 30 cm, or 1 foot wider than the root ball. For large trees the hole should be 45-60cm or 1 - 2 feet wider.

The plants should be set in the hole at the same depth as they were originally planted. The soil line on the trunk or stems can determine the previous planting depth.

When planting the bare rootstock, make a cone of soil at the bottom of the hole. Next, set the rots on top of the cone and spread them out. Damaged or broken roots should be pruned off at this time. Bare too stock may be planted slightly higher than the original planting depth because they are more likely to sink after the ground settles. The burlap, on balled in burlap stock, should be left on until the plant has been properly positioned. The string can then be cut; the burlap pulled back and placed in the bottom of the hole.

Plastic pots or wooden baskets should be removed before planting. Ti is also best to remove fiber or peat pots. If the roots are winding around each other they should be gently spread out. Alternatively, cuts can be made down the side of the root ball with a sharp knife to encourage roots to grow outward.

Fill the planting hole with the soil that was first removed. It is not advisable to mix additives into this soil. If improved soil is used in the hole while the surrounding soil is poor, the roots will tend to stay in the hole and not grow beyond. This will put the plant under stress. If the planting site is a bed or border with poor soil, then it is advisable to amend the entire area. Organic matter such as peat moss, compost or other planting mixes can be rototilled or dug into the soil before planting. Alternatively, good quality topsoil can be added.

The hole should be filled halfway and the soil gently firmed and watered to remove air pockets. The hole can then be completely filled, tamped, and watered. A slight will with a ring of soil around the planting hole should be made to hold water. Trees or shrubs can be fertilized once after transplanting with phosphorus ‘plant starter’ fertilizer.

Maintenance

Proper watering is the most important factor for successful planting of trees and shrubs. The plants should not be allowed to dry out during the first season. Water heavily so that it soaks deeply into the soil. The amount and frequency of water will depend on the soil type, weather conditions and location. When the soil surface begins to dry out, the plant can be watered again. It is important not to over water because this can suffocate the roots.

Mulches such as bark chips; decorative rock or pinecones can be used on the soild to hold in moisture. Landscape fabric underneath the mulch will reduce weed growth. It is important that the mulch layer is not to thick, because this may hold in too much moisture and cause root damage. The mulch layer should be about 2.5-5cm deep.

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Types Of Sand

There are five basic kinds of commercial bulk sand.

Concrete Sand

Utility sand, coarse, not washed, commonly used underneath paving stones and what Best Landscaping recommends. The various grain size is what provides a stronger rigid base for paving stones and compacts better than most sands. A fine or uniform sand would wash away over time. Sold in Bulk

Washed Horticultural Sand

A washed sand, good for mixing in flower beds. Also can be used for leveling under brick.

Play Sand

Commonly used for sandboxes and children's play areas. Clean and washed. It's texture is uniform in grain size. While other sands contain silica, Play Sand is silica-free making it safe for children. Sold in Bulk

Clay Sand

A very fine sand with large amounts of clay generally used for fill. Not washed. Compacts well as it holds moisture. Sold in Bulk

Polymeric Sand
Specialty Sand -

Is a unique mixture of polymer binders and a calibrated sand used between the cracks of paving stones to provide a harder bond than sand alone. Benefits include the prevention of weeds, unwanted insects (such as ants) and water errosion. Sold only in 22 KG bags.

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Understanding Your Soil

Gardeners will do a lot of research into the plants they wish to have in their garden, but most give little consideration to what the plants will be growing in. It is important to realize that the soil makes up half of a plants environment; the other half is above the ground.

What is soil and where did it come from?

Soil wasn’t always just there. It originated from rock, which was ground down by ice, water and wind erosion. Large deposits were moved around following the topography of the land. Animal waste and decaying plant material added organic matter. Precipitation drained away certain unstable nutrients, which had an effect on the type of plant material that became established. This helps to explain why soil types can vary so greatly from one area to the next.

Soil Texture

Ideal gardener’s soil consists of 45% solids (sand, silt, and/or clay), 25% water, 25% air and 5% organic matter.

  • The degree of solids determines the drainage, moisture retention and nutrient availability in a particular soil. Generally speaking, sand has god drainage but poor retention of water and nutrients. Clay has good retention but slow drainage.
  • Less than 25% air space is usually caused form compaction (traffic) causing limited oxygen supply to the roots, which results in growth problems. Aerating can increase air spaces in compact soils. Adding coarse materials such as peat moss, perlite and coarse sand, can help sustain air space.
  • Less than 25% moisture is caused from dry, windy conditions and can lead to bone dry soil, severely inhibiting growth. Incorporating spongy materials, such as organic matter or vermiculite can help increase moisture retention.

Soil Structure

Structure refers to the way soils are held together. To visualize this, think of pure sand where each particle is not held together in any way. Now think of the soil in you garden; it is held together in various sized clusters. These clusters allow for air, moisture and roots to penetrate, and assist soil chemistry in creating nutrients.

  • Improve soil structure – Desirable soil structure is associated with the amount of organic matter it contains. As soil micro-organisms break down organic matter, they create humus. Humus becomes the glue that holds soil crumbs together. Humus also acts like a sponge, holding moisture, nutrients, and air.
  • Avoid destroying soil structures – Over tillage will break down soil structure so that the soil particles are no longer held together. The result is poor water and nutrient retention. Compaction, created by repeated traffic or traffic on wet soil, creates hard clumps of soil that roots and water finds it difficult to penetrate.

Soil pH

PH measures the acidity/alkalinity of a substance. It is measured on a scale from 1-14; 1 being the most acidic; 14 being the most alkaline; and 7 being neutral. A desirable pH for most plants falls in the range of 5.5 to 7.5

  • Effects of pH – The pH of the soil has a great impact on the availability of different nutrients. The activity of micro-organisms is influenced by pH. Some plants are pH specific and do not grow well when the pH is altered.
  • Determining pH – Soil pH can be determined through tests preformed at a lab or with a home kit. (Consult a garden care professional for more information)
  • Modifying pH – Because prairie soil is created from alkaline parent materials such as limestone and sandstone, we are usually trying to find ways to make our soil more acidic. Adding organic matter is a slow, but safe way of acidifying alkaline soil. Adding sulphur, changes pH quickly however it is difficult to determine required amounts and can be readily misused.

Soil Amendments

By adding things to our existing garden soil, we can manipulate components, such as soil texture, structure, and pH. Organic matter improves all of these components at the same time. Organic matter is a “catch-all” term that includes material such as peat moss, compost and well rotted manure.

  • Purchase bulk or bagged products or use back yard compost (it is advisable to test home-made compost for pH and salt content first.)
  • Spread it evenly over the existing soil (The more the better) then use a garden fork to turn it under.
  • Let those wonderful soil microbes do the rest of the mixing for you.
  • In areas where plant roots are close to the surface and using a fork could damage them, spread around organic matter in early autumn. Soil microbes, rain and snow will gradually mix it into the soil.
  • Products such as elemental sulphur, dolomite limestone, gypsum, ect, are compounds that can change soil chemistry. However, it is easy to misdiagnose the problem or overuse these products. Start with lab test results that will determine exactly what the problem is and prescribe the use of chemical compounds in specific concentrations.

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