If you are done waiting and want a green, luscious lawn right away, turf may be the best option for you. By using turf, you are basically buying time and convenience. Time because you are getting ready turf without having to spend 14 to 18 months coddling it; and convenience because, you can lay turf almost any time of the year and it can be walked on only a few days after laying with no weeds or moss to spoil the effect.
Laying turf is easy. But with some basic tips on how to lay new lawn turf, you could be sitting outdoors and enjoying your perfect garden even sooner than you think.
When to lay turf: As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest advantages of ready turf is that it can be laid at any time of the year except when there is snow or frost on the ground. However, the best time is spring or early autumn when the grass will easily root and, with luck, nature will help out with the watering.
Preparing the area: Whilst laying out the turf itself is an easy job, you’ll get best results if you spend some time preparing the area. Loosen the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a rototiller and spread 2 inches of finished compost. Add 2 to 3 inches of sand to claylike soil to improve drainage.
Levelling the ground: Remove the big stones and make sure the surface is level. Raking evens out the surface and also creates loose soil particles, which are ideal for grass roots to sink into. Soil needs to be moist when you lay sod. Water it well 24 to 48 hours before installation. Use a spreader to lay down the appropriate starter fertiliser, and then lime if needed.
Laying the turf: Lay the turves on the soil, staggering the joints like brickwork, make sure to butt sections of turf snugly against each other without overlapping them. Not only will seams be less noticeable this way but the edges will be less likely to dry out and die back. Smooth out loose areas or wrinkles, patting down the sod so it’s flat against the soil underneath it, with no air pockets. To create a clean edge, cut off any excess turf with a spade or sharp knife. Bang the turves all over with the back of the rake to ensure they make contact with the soil before giving the whole area a good water.
After the turf is laid: It will take a few weeks for your lawn to establish and in that time it’s essential you don’t let the turves dry out; so water them regularly and try to keep foot traffic off the sod for a week. Once the lawn starts to root, it can have its first cut at the mower’s maximum height. Start mowing when the grass is 2.5cm – 5cm high, never removing more than one third of the total height of the grass at a time.
Fertilise once more: Allow your lawn about three to four weeks’ growth, then feed it again with a starter fertiliser to make up for nutrients that washed away during the heavy watering schedule.
Last few words
Sourcing good quality turf is the key to give your lawn the best start. Laying it down properly is just a sensible thing to do with your investment! It is also important to lay it as soon as possible after delivery as it won’t keep forever. Try and have it delivered to a shady area if the weather is warm and be prepared to keep it watered.