Despite the heavy rainfall of the last week, we are technically in the midst of British summertime so when we do get the occasional glimpse of sunshine, why not spend some time updating and taking care of your garden? It’s a great excuse to soak up the sunshine outdoors whilst making your garden look fantastic at the same time – win, win. The great thing about turf is that as long as you do the necessary prep work and can provide the care it requires, it can be laid pretty much all year round. Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as buying the turf and rolling it out; there are a few stages of preparation that you need to undertake and some key points to think about. But what are they? We’ll take you through them here.
PREPARING THE AREA
It’s really important to make sure that the area where you are looking to lay your new turf is well prepared beforehand in order to allow the turf to establish correctly in the first instance. A good bed of soil will help the turf to root more easily, and this should be loosely turned over and raked level to ensure no stones, weeds or large clumps are left behind. It’s a good idea to water the soil a day or two prior to laying as this will help it settle and provide water for the new turf roots. You may also want to consider applying a base starter fertiliser to the soil. As a general guide, look for a fertiliser containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Scatter this on the soil and run the rake over it again. If your soil is of poor quality you will need to cover the ground with at least 15cm of good quality topsoil – you can view our range here.
WHEN TO LAY YOUR TURF
During the summer months, rolled up turf doesn’t last very long at all once it has been delivered to you – here at GDT, we have a 30ft chiller which allows us to keep turf fresh for up to 3 days, even when the temperatures reach 30°C. It’s advisable to lay your turf on delivery day to ensure it is in the best possible condition or within 12 hours as an absolute maximum. You must ensure that you do not cover the turf rolls or try to water them whilst they are still rolled – both of these actions will have an adverse effect on the quality of the turf.
LAYING THE TURF – KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
Firstly, make sure that you have a plank of wood handy as this will be useful for three reasons: you can avoid making indentations on your new turf by walking on the wood instead; it will help to evenly distribute the compression weight giving you good soil to turf contact; you can use the straight edge of the wood to help you with laying the next piece of turf. You should start using this plank of wood as soon as you have laid the first roll.
Another key tip is to avoid stretching the turf as this may cause it to weaken or fall apart entirely. Once you have laid your first roll, you should continue laying in a brickwork style pattern as this will help to prevent long gaps if any shrinking occurs. Sprinkle fine soil along all the joints, and then brush over the whole lawn. Perhaps the most important part of laying new turf, especially during the warmer months, is watering. Water your new turf thoroughly when you have finished laying it, ensuring that the water seeps all the way through to the ground below. Depending on the temperatures and rainfall you may have to water your new lawn in both the morning and evening.
SO YOU’VE LAID THE TURF – WHAT NOW?
Correct aftercare is essential if you’re looking for a healthy, well established lawn. You should continue to water the turf daily but avoid doing this in the middle of the day as the sun is a lot stronger at this time and could scorch the grass. It is advisable to water your lawn either in the early morning or late evening as only a minimal amount of water will be lost to evaporation at these times. Whilst we advise not to actively ‘use’ your lawn for a few weeks after laying, it is a good idea to mow it a few days after laying to encourage the turf to root and establish. Be very careful when doing this as you may dislodge the turf; if this does happen, leave it a few more days and try once more. We always advise that the cut is very gentle, removing no more than 25% of overall length at a time.
It may seem time consuming but your turf really will thank you for following all of these steps, both prior to and after laying. Each of these stages contributes to ensuring that your new turf roots and establishes well, giving you a healthy, good looking lawn that will end up being the envy of all of your neighbours. For any advice about what to do before, during and after laying your turf, especially during the warmer months, please contact us and one of our team will be more than happy to help.