Where Do Weeds Come From?

Weeds are likely one of the most common and most frustrating challenges that gardeners and landscapers face when creating and maintaining beautiful lawns and gardens. You may be tempted to look for topsoil that guarantees to be “weed-free” in hopes of avoiding weeds altogether, but as someone once said: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. At Greely Sand & Gravel, we sell high-quality, certified organic topsoil, but we do not guarantee that our soil is weed free. Read on to find out why!

As you’ve probably noticed from observing your lawn or garden, weeds grow and spread very quickly. Once weeds have become established, it becomes difficult to remove them and contain their spread. Many weeds produce tiny seeds that are spread via the air and wind throughout their surrounding area. While we regularly and carefully screen all our topsoil for germinated weeds and other unwanted debris such as stones or twigs, it is impossible to screen out the miniscule weed seeds that can blow into the soil. We do our best to keep the soil covered and contained to minimize the spread of weed seeds, however, removing all possibility of weed seeds mixing with soil is impossible.

Some topsoils undergo a sterilizing process to kill weed seeds by heating the soil to very high temperatures, or using a chemical compound to eradicate weeds. While these processes may be somewhat effective, at Greely Sand & Gravel, we do not do anything or add anything to our topsoil that would compromise our organic certification. Additionally, these measures become less effective once your soil is spread on your lawn or garden and exposed to the elements, as new weed seeds can be introduced.

Some of the best natural ways to keep weeds at bay are to add mulch on top of your soil at a 3” depth when you are creating a new flowerbed. One extra step is to add a high quality geotextile cloth between your soil and mulch, and to try to keep on top of weeding, before the weeds have a chance to grow and go to seed. Unfortunately, there is no magic way to eliminate all weeds, but regular maintenance and a good geotextile cloth can help keep the issue well under control.

In addition to our ever popular Greely’s Topdressing Soil, we also sell a variety of mulch and geotextile cloths that can help keep weeds at bay in your garden or flower bed. If you have questions about which type of mulch or geotextile is right for your project, visit our online store to learn more or give our office a call at 613-821-3003.

All About Geo-Textile

Whether you are a commercial landscaper or a homeowner caring for your own lawn and gardens, weeds are a common issue that you will encounter in nearly every project! One of the best ways to deter weed growth in your flowerbed, patio, or walkway is to use a weed barrier fabric. This helps prevent weeds from growing up through your soil or between your stones, meaning less weeding for you after your project is complete!

Weed barrier or landscape fabric as it is also known, is a thick layer of fabric that goes underneath your new mulch or stone to prevent weeds from growing up through your mulch or stone.  For a new patio, walkway, or river rock installation, the fabric is installed once you have completed the excavation step of your project.

Once excavation is complete, line the entire area with the landscape fabric. To prevent weeds from growing up through the space between pieces of fabric, allow for a generous overlap of a few inches. Ensure that the entire area is covered and that there are no gaps. Using a pair of scissors, cut the landscape fabric to the proper size.  Not only will the landscape fabric help prevent weeds, it will also restrict the stone from working its way down in to the subsoil.  Once the landscape fabric is installed, you can begin shoveling your new product into the space. Take care to ensure the fabric does not shift and create gaps as you add mulch, stone, or river rock.  Anchoring pins can also be used to secure the landscape fabric in place.

For a flowerbed, line the soil with the landscape fabric, ensuring it overlaps to prevent spaces.  The landscape fabric can be cut to fit around existing plants and shrubs.  Then apply the mulch at a 3” layer to help hold the landscape fabric in place.

At Greely Sand & Gravel, we offer three different types of landscape fabric to ensure that you get the best results for your specific project. All three options come in 3’ x 50’ rolls.

Pro Guard Woven Geotextile has a tarp like texture and is very durable, making it perfect for underneath stone as it is very resistant to tearing and holds up well under a lot of weight. This would be an ideal product for anyone looking to create an interlock or stone patio or walkway.

Pro Ion Plus Non-Woven Geotextile has a fabric like texture and is perfect for use under mulch in flowerbeds.

Pro Silver Plus Woven Geotextile is silver in colour making it an excellent choice for camouflaging the ground underneath river rock or any other type of decorative stone. Use this product to maximize the visual aesthetic while preventing weeds from growing up through your stone.

For your convenience, we also sell anchoring pins to help keep the landscape fabric in place. All three types of landscape fabric and the anchoring pins are available at both our landscape depots and can be added to your delivery order when you purchase soil, mulch, stone, or any of our other landscaping products. Still have questions? Give our office a call today at 613-821-3003.

Using Polymeric Sand

Stone has become an increasingly popular feature in landscape projects in recent years. Whether you are planning an interlock driveway or a walkway using pavers or a natural stone patio, the options for colours, textures, sizes, and shapes are nearly endless when it comes to stone! Once you have planned your design and chosen your product, proper installation is key to ensuring that your patio, driveway, or walkway will stay stable, beautiful, and safe for years to come. Greely Sand & Gravel is proud to be able to provide all the products needed to create beautiful stone landscape features, from stone dust to pavers to polymeric sand!

What is Polymeric Sand?

While most people are familiar with the concept of using crushed stone and stone dust to create a base for your interlock stones or pavers, not everyone is aware of the important role that polymeric sand plays in the finishing stages of these types of projects. Polymeric sand is a specially formulated mixture of graded sand and a high-performance polymer binding agent used to fill the grooves and gaps between patio stones and interlock. It is designed to be used with all joints between stones up to 4” wide. When properly installed, polymeric sand will remain stable and flexible in the most extreme weather conditions and freeze/thaw cycles.

Benefits of Polymeric Sand

Polymeric sand offers many benefits that will increase the durability of your patio, walkway, or driveway and increase your project’s lifespan once finished. Polymeric sand stabilizes the stones to prevent them from becoming loose or a tripping hazard. Polymeric sand is also very durable when properly set, making it a great addition to high-traffic areas such as walkways and driveways. Another reason that our customers love polymeric sand is that it helps prevent weed growth between stones or pavers. Once you have finished your beautiful interlock patio, the last thing you want is to see weeds popping up between the stones. Sealing the grooves between stones with polymeric sand gives less opportunity for weeds to take root and grow. This means less maintenance for you and more time to enjoy your beautiful new outdoor space.

Our polymeric sand is available for purchase and pick up at both of our conveniently located landscape depots. We are also excited to announce that this year we now have both black and white polymeric sand, in addition to our classic beige and gray options. Our goal is always to provide our customers with the best possible array of products to take their landscaping projects to the next level.

For detailed instructions on how to install polymeric sand, visit our Polymeric Sand page on our website. You can also find information here on how much polymeric sand you will need to cover the area of your project sufficiently. If you have more questions regarding polymeric sand or other landscaping products, please give us a call at 613-821-3003. Our knowledgeable team is committed to helping make your project a success!

The Magic of Composted Pine Mulch

Our customers are often surprised about how many different options we offer at Greely Sand & Gravel when it comes to mulch. We are proud to offer a wide selection of high-quality mulches, perfect for any project. One of our mulches that has become increasingly popular is our Composted Pine Mulch.

What is Composted Pine Mulch?

Composted Pine Mulch is a unique product that offers a deep, rich colour combined with a unique texture compared to shredded pine mulch or pine bark nuggets. This mulch is partially decomposed, meaning that it has a texture more similar to soil than most other mulches while still retaining all the visual appeal of a wood product.

In addition to all the beautiful benefits of a typical mulch, including weed control, water retention, and increased visual appeal, Composted Pine Mulch continues to decompose over time, slowly releasing nutrients back into the soil. Adding Composted Pine Mulch to your garden or flowerbed ensures natural nutrients continually enrich your soil and strengthen your plants.

Another reason why Composted Pine Mulch is such a popular choice is because it is a very environmentally friendly product. This mulch is produced using by-products from sawmills and forestry operations, giving it a lower carbon footprint than other mulches. Our customers love having peace of mind knowing that they are getting a product that looks great and nourishes their plants, and is also better for the environment than other options.

Because of the nutrients released into the soil during the decomposition process, Composted Pine Mulch can act as a gentle, natural fertilizer. This is an excellent option for more delicate plants than a more potent natural fertilizer like Mushroom Compost. Composted Pine Mulch can also be applied directly on top of the soil rather than being combined with the soil at an appropriate ratio, making it a less labour-intensive product.

As with all our mulches, Composted Pine Mulch is available for delivery, either by the truckload or in our convenient Greely Gardening Bags. You can also pick it up at either of our landscape depots to save on the cost of delivery. Not sure about what type of mulch you want yet? Come and see us at our main office in Greely to see some actual samples of our products.

If you are ready to place an order or would like more information, visit our online store or call us at 613-821-3003. We would be happy to speak to you further about our impressive array of mulches for your landscaping project.

Common Questions About Sod

Thinking of starting a new lawn from scratch and have questions about sod? It can be a daunting task to think of installing sod as a homeowner, but if you are well equipped beforehand with the right products and information, the process will be much more smooth and hassle-free! Not only does Greely Sand & Gravel sell premium locally-sourced Kentucky Bluegrass Sod and screened topsoil, but we also have answers to some of the most common questions we get from our customers about installing sod.

How do I calculate how much sod I will need?

Our sod is freshly cut daily in rolls that measure 2’ x 5’, so each strip covers 10 square feet of space. Find the area of your space by measuring the length and width in feet and multiplying them. The resulting number is how many square feet of sod you will need. If the area you need to cover is more of a triangular or circular shape, rather than a square or rectangle, use our helpful square footage calculator on the Sod page of our website to find out how much you will need. We always recommend purchasing at least a few extra rolls if you need to trim some to fit your specific space.

We sell sod by the skid or by the half skid. A full skid contains 70 rolls, enough to cover 700 square feet, while a half skid comes with 35 rolls, enough to cover 350 square feet.

How do I prepare the soil before laying my sod?

Having a good base is a crucial aspect of laying sod successfully. We recommend having a layer of fresh, high-quality soil, no less than 4” deep, spread in the area before you install your sod. Greely’s Screened Topsoil is perfect for creating a structured base for your sod. If you would like step-by-step instructions on the process, please visit the Sod product page on our website.

How quickly should I install the sod once it is delivered?

Sod should be installed the day it is delivered, so it is as fresh as possible. When deciding which day to have your sod delivered, try to plan for a time when you can spend most of the day working on the project. We always deliver sod as early in the day as possible to ensure it gets to our customers in the freshest possible state. Installing the sod quickly gives it less opportunity to dry out and will help preserve a healthy root system.

Should I fertilize before or after laying sod?

We recommend fertilizing before laying sod to spread the fertilizer directly in the soil and have access to the root system once the sod is laid.

How much and how often should I water my sod?

Frequent, generous watering is essential in the first few days and weeks after laying fresh sod. For the root system to take hold well in the soil and the grass to flourish, sod should be amply watered at least twice a day for at least a couple of weeks after installation. Consider installing a sprinkler system to make this task easier and to ensure that your sod receives frequent watering. Sod that does not receive enough water will not take root successfully and will wither quickly, especially in warm and sunny weather.

Watering New Sod

My lawn is quite large, do you offer any discounts on sod?

We do offer a multi-skid discount on sod! For the second and every additional full or half-skid purchased and delivered in the same order, we offer a $25 discount per skid. This also applies to Greely Gardening Bags delivered in the same order. Additionally, if you return the wooden skids to one of our landscape depots, you will receive $15 back for each skid returned. This also allows us to recycle the skids, resulting in less waste and taking the pressure off our customers when it comes to disposing of the skids.

Sod is typically ready for delivery in mid-May, depending on the weather. If you have questions, would like additional information, or would like to secure your spot for delivery once the sod is ready, please call our office at 613-821-3003. We look forward to helping you transform your lawn this year!

If you have questions about selecting a variety of mulch, installing it for the first time, or topping up an existing area, you can find lots of helpful information on our website. Once you decide which mulch you want, it is quick and easy to place your order for delivery using our online store. Still have questions? You can always pick up the phone and call us at 613-821-3003. If you want to see our premium selection of mulches before you buy, visit either of our landscape depots, we would be happy to give you a first-hand look at what we have to offer!

When to Top-Up Your Mulch

As the snow starts to melt, it is time to look around your yard and figure out what areas may need a little TLC this spring and summer. One thing to take special note of is the condition of your mulch. Whether used in flower beds, as a border around your lawn or driveway or to accent a tree or bush, mulch sustains a certain amount of weather-related wear and tear each year. Spring is a great time to top up your mulch and ensure that it looks as fresh and vibrant as the day it was installed.

Why Use Mulch?

Our mulches at Greely Sand & Gravel are natural products made from high-quality wood and coloured with biodegradable dyes. We are proud to offer our customers a wide array of colours and several different textures to ensure that you can find the perfect mulch for your space. The advantages of adding mulch to your flower beds include protecting soil from erosion, adding visual appeal, controlling weed growth, deterring pests, increasing moisture retention, and even replenishing nutrients in the soil through organic matter. Mulch is more than just an added pop of colour – it can be a vital component of a healthy and vibrant flower bed!

Because mulch is a natural product, it is affected by the changing seasons and weather conditions. Long hours of sunlight can cause coloured mulches to fade, while heavy rainfall can wash away a layer of mulch. These are perfectly normal occurrences and one of the main reasons we encourage customers to consider replenishing their mulch each year. When you first install mulch, we suggest laying a generous 3” layer to ensure complete coverage in your space. A 1-2” layer is generally sufficient when adding additional mulch.

How to Top-Up Mulch

When topping up your mulch, it is a good idea to gently rake the existing mulch first. Doing so can break up any clumps that might have formed and can rotate faded pieces so that more vibrant colour is restored. This is also an excellent time to remove any weeds that may have sprung up through the mulch, and any sticks, stones, or debris that have fallen into the area. Once this is done, you can proceed with adding a 1” layer of new mulch. The easiest way to do this is to spread the mulch gently in the area by shaking it off a shovel. Following this process every year or every other year should ensure that your mulch stays looking fresh and vibrant.

If you are installing mulch in an area for the first time and want something that will require little maintenance, we suggest going with a natural coloured mulch rather than one that has been dyed. The dyes create rich, beautiful hues, but these mulches tend to have more noticeable fading in areas with high sun exposure. We recommend our Composted Pine Mulch for an aesthetically pleasing, lower maintenance option. This naturally deep brown product slowly decomposes into the soil over time, enriching it with organic matter and nutrients.

If you have questions about selecting a variety of mulch, installing it for the first time, or topping up an existing area, you can find lots of helpful information on our website. Once you decide which mulch you want, it is quick and easy to place your order for delivery using our online store. Still have questions? You can always pick up the phone and call us at 613-821-3003. If you want to see our premium selection of mulches before you buy, visit either of our landscape depots, we would be happy to give you a first-hand look at what we have to offer!

Choosing the Right Grass Seed for Your Lawn

Topdressing your lawn or starting a new lawn from scratch can seem like overwhelming tasks. Before you even get outside to start the project, there are many decisions regarding materials. Should you use seed or sod? Screened topsoil or a topsoil blend? And what is the difference between coated and non-coated grass seed? How do you know which seed is right for your project?

At Greely Sand & Gravel, we take the time to thoroughly research and carefully source all our products so that we can ensure our customers get the best material for their job. When you purchase from us, you can rest assured that you are getting the very best, and our knowledgeable team will help you select a product that is just right for your needs!

Selecting the Right Grass Seed

When it comes to selecting grass seed, there are many different products on the market at various price points. It can be hard to know the differences between products and what you should look for in quality grass seed. The first step is to assess the area you are trying to cover. How many square feet of lawn do you need to cover? Is the area primarily in the shade, or does it get full sun exposure? Once you have determined these key factors, you will know how much grass seed you need and whether you should look for a particular product that works well in more shaded areas.

Should I Use Coated or Uncoated Grass Seed?

An important thing to look for when purchasing grass seed is whether the seed is coated or not. Many companies that produce grass seed add a coating that is said to help with even distribution, water retention, and fertilizing the seed as it germinates. While these things may sound great, the reality is that often the coating used acts as little more than a filler, meaning that you get less seed in each bag and will likely end up spending more money on grass seed as opposed to selecting a non-coated option. Additionally, if you use high-quality soil with your seed, such as our Greely’s Topdressing Soil, the soil blend itself provides moisture retention and fresh, natural fertilizer to your grass seed.

What Kind of Grass Seed Should I Buy?

Another factor you may be wondering is what kind of grass seed to purchase. From Kentucky Blue Grass to Ryegrass, there are many types, each with its advantages. At Greely Sand & Gravel, we sell three different selections of grass seed, all of which feature a premium blend of different types of grass seed at a carefully calculated ratio to give you a full, luscious-looking lawn. All three options are non-coated seed, ensuring you get 100% grass seed with no fillers. Choose from:

All three options will be available for pick up at both our landscape depots as of mid-April. Visit us at our south or west end locations to stock up on grass seed and learn more about all the great landscaping products we offer!

If you have questions about choosing the right grass seed or would like assistance with placing your order, please give our office a call…we would be happy to help!

Let Our Mushroom Compost Help Your Garden Grow!

Are you looking for an effective way to provide healthy nutrients to your soil to bolster the life and health of your plants? Look no further than Greely Sand and Gravel’s Mushroom Compost. This excellent addition to regular topsoil or garden soil acts as a slow-release fertilizer in your garden.

Mushroom compost also aids in moisture retention, making your garden look healthy while supplying plants with the water they need. Mushroom compost is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, critical to healthy plant growth and development.

How to Use Mushroom Compost

The best time to add mushroom compost to your garden is in the spring, before the growing season. If your garden soil is looking light brown and dry, adding and thoroughly mixing in mushroom compost is a great way to enhance the health of the soil. Simply blend the mushroom compost into the existing soil using a trowel, small shovel, or hoe.

Mushroom compost should not be used on its own, as it is high in salt content and can cause waterlogging. You should also know that having too much mushroom compost can harm the plants because the product is highly concentrated. A good ratio of mushroom compost to soil is one part mushroom compost to two parts soil. This ratio allows the mushroom compost to provide nutrients to the soil without overwhelming the plants.

More About Mushroom Compost

There are a few other essential things to be aware of when planning to use mushroom compost. If you are creating a new garden this year, we recommend using our Greely’s Topdressing Soil, which already has our mushroom compost blended in at the perfect ratio. This saves you the extra step of adding it in yourself after you have created your new garden. If you are working with an existing garden and soil that has already been used for several years, adding mushroom compost is an excellent way to revitalize that existing soil.

Our Mushroom Compost is Certified Organic

On top of all of these benefits, Greely Sand and Gravel’s Mushroom Compost is now certified for organic growing. This means that you can have peace of mind knowing that proper screening and testing procedures have taken place before putting the mushroom compost into your garden. Ottawa customers will be pleased to learn that our mushroom compost is also locally sourced produced in Osgoode, ON.

Mushroom compost is typically ready for delivery and pick-up at our landscape depots in mid to late April. We offer delivery by the truckload and in our convenient Greely’s Gardening Bags. If you are only looking for a small amount of mushroom compost to add to a planter, small garden, or garden box, consider coming to pick up a bag or fill a pail at one of our landscape depots, located in Ottawa’s south and west end. This is a great way to save on delivery costs and try out our product before ordering a larger amount.

If you have questions about how to use mushroom compost or would like assistance with placing your order, please give our office a call…we would be happy to help!

When Will Topsoil Be Ready?

Now that spring is right around the corner; you may be getting anxious to get your landscaping projects started sooner rather than later! One of the most common questions we get this time of year is – “when will topsoil be available?” and “why is it not ready yet?”

When Will Topsoil Be Ready in Ottawa?

Typically our topsoil is ready to be delivered after the middle of April. The reason why our topsoil is not available earlier is due to the weather in Ottawa. Sometimes we even get snow in April!

Whether you choose our Screened Topsoil or our Greely’s Topdressing Soil, Greely Sand & Gravel’s topsoil is an entirely natural product. We never mix our topsoil with any synthetic compound or preservative. This means that the product will freeze when the weather is cold, just like the ground.

Because of the large quantity of topsoil we move every year, the product is generally stored and screened outside. These factors make the process of preparing topsoil for delivery extremely weather dependent.

What Makes Greely’s Topsoil So Great?

At Greely Sand & Gravel, we care about providing the best quality topsoil to our customers every time they buy from us, at any time of the year. To achieve a top-quality product, we never rush the process of preparing topsoil so that it is in excellent, usable condition when delivered. This means that we wait for our topsoil to defrost before screening it.

The screening process is key, as it removes rocks, sticks, weeds, and anything else that may affect the quality and consistency of our soil. If the soil is still frozen, it forms clumps and cannot pass properly through the screener. Waiting for the soil to defrost adequately in the spring also allows us to ensure that the moisture levels in the soil are appropriate for delivery and end-use. No one wants to end up with a pile of frozen mud at their home!

We appreciate our customers’ patience as we take the time to ensure that our topsoil is perfectly prepared for your project. We understand that it can be tempting to rush the process, but after decades of producing quality topsoil, we guarantee it is worth the wait!

If you want to learn more about what makes Greely’s topsoil so great, read our article 10 Great Reasons to Choose Greely’s Topdressing Soil and learn why it’s been the best Ottawa topsoil for over 40 years!

Order Your Topsoil & Other Landscaping Needs Online

In the meantime, you can always reserve your spot now by placing an order for topsoil delivery through our convenient online store. While you’re planning your order, this is also a great time to ensure that you have everything else you need for your project. Will you need grass seed or sod? Are there tools that you will require to complete the work? Perhaps you want to consider adding a layer of mulch to your flowerbed after you have laid your soil? At Greely Sand & Gravel, we have the products and the expertise to get you ready for this year’s landscaping season.

If you have further questions regarding topsoil preparation and availability, one of our knowledgeable team members would be happy to assist you!

Preparing Your Yard for Winter


Nobody likes to think about it, but before we know it, winter will be here!

We usually think of winter as the season we take “off” from lawn and garden care, but there are several key ways you can prepare your yard for this cold season and give yourself a head start next spring. Below you will find a variety of tips to ensure that your yard is ready for this winter.

  1. Cut your lawn to the height that it has been maintained all year. Even though the grass grows a lot more slowly this time of year, it’s important to continue cutting your grass well into the fall season. This allows the roots of the grass plants to continue digging deeper so that your lawn will come back healthier the next year. Cut your grass short, but not too short! Cutting the grass too short can cause damage to the root system. Leave the clippings on the lawn to return nitrogen back to the grass. If possible, aerate, overseed, and fertilize to give your lawn the best start in the spring. Providing this extra boost in the fall goes a long way in keeping the root system strong and healthy. If you decide to go the overseeding route, we recommend our Premium Plus Lawn Seed which can be picked up at any of our conveniently located landscape depots.
  2. Remove all fallen leaves from your lawn before the first snow. As leaves decompose into your lawn throughout the fall and winter, they can affect the quality of your soil, and can even stunt new grass growth in the early spring. Be sure to either rake or mulch any leaves in your yard. These can be added to your compost pile if you have one. Alternatively, consider using our Disposabag service to quickly consolidate and dispose of all your fall yard waste.
  3. Trim back all perennial plants and remove all annuals to keep your gardens clean and ready for the coming spring. This keeps your plants healthy and also allows them to spring back to life the following year, while leaving room for new additions.
  4. Add a generous layer of two to three inches of compost to your gardens. Over the winter, this will slowly allow nutrients to be released into the soil, replenishing it for the growing season ahead. Our nutrient-rich Mushroom Compost is the perfect product for this task. Be sure to thoroughly mix the Mushroom Compost into the existing soil to yield the best results for your garden and plants in the spring.

While fall yard work may seem overwhelming, it’s an important time to keep your lawn and gardens healthy and well-maintained. By completing just a few simple tasks, you can rest easy in the winter months, knowing that you are set up for success in the spring. Want to learn more about the products and services we offer to help you complete these projects? Visit www.greelysand.com or call us at 613-821-3003 to talk to one of our qualified professionals.