When is the best time of year to lay turf?



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When is the best time of year to lay turf?

May 16, 2024     

Fresh, natural turf can completely transform your garden and complete your landscaping project. However, knowing the right time of year to lay turf and understanding the ideal weather conditions can influence how your lawn will look and grow.

Our latest article walks you through recommendations for each season. This allows you can decide on the best time of year to lay turf.

When In The Year Should I Lay Turf?

Realistically, you can lay turf any time of the year in the UK. If you’re looking for an exact date, early spring or mid-autumn are usually the perfect seasons. This is due to the ideal weather and soil conditions. Spring and autumn also give your turf plenty of time to bed in and establish a healthy root system before the summer, when your lawn will be used the most.

Laying Turf In Spring

The UK’s spring often starts with heavy rainfall, which is a dream for your soil and grass as it’ll be fully hydrated. But, before laying turf in spring, it’s important to check that your soil is not waterlogged. Or, if it has been a particularly dry season, make sure you water your soil before laying your turf.

Post-winter, your lawn and soil may have experienced stress from the elements. If that is the case, thoroughly turn over the top layer of soil and apply a layer of good quality topsoil, giving the earth a much-needed supply of healthy nutrients. This will transfer into your turf’s roots and help your grass thrive.

Laying Turf In Summer

We understand why you’d want to lay turf in the summer: you might have more free time, and the weather will be much nicer! However, the hot, dry conditions aren’t ideal for turf laying. Not only will your soil need more preparation regarding aeration and irrigation, but the shelf life of your turf will also quickly deteriorate. In the summer, you must prep your soil and lay your turf as soon as possible for the best results.

If it’s not raining, you’ll need to water your soil during the preparation stages and twice a day once your new turf has been rolled out. If you plan to lay turf in the summer, ensure you have time in the morning and evening to keep it hydrated to guarantee a thick, bright, and healthy lawn.

Laying Turf In Autumn

Autumn is possibly the best time of year to lay turf. The temperature has often dropped by now, and rain is starting to fall (saving you the task of watering!). Dew has also begun appearing in the mornings, which adds extra hydration to your soil and new grass.

As long as an early frost hasn’t arrived, you should be good to go. What we love about turf laying in Autumn is that it gives your turf plenty of time to establish before the cold months arrive. It also allows for a healthy root and stem system ready to flourish in springtime.

Laying Turf In Winter

If we’re experiencing a mild winter, you can easily lay turf. However, if it’s wet, windy, and extremely cold, it probably isn’t the best idea. If there’s snow on the ground, this adds another complication, as you have to remove it before you begin.

There’s also a high chance the ground beneath is frozen, preventing your new turf roots from anchoring and building a robust root system. This will have a knock-on effect on the overall success, health, and appearance of your brand-new lawn.

Think About When You Want To Use Your Lawn

We’re often laying new turf for a particular purpose. Perhaps you’re hosting a family get-together or launching a community space with a set grand opening date in mind. It’s essential to understand that natural turf takes a little time to settle in and shouldn’t be used or mowed for a few weeks.

So, if you want your luscious new lawn to be in perfect form and ready to use, you need to calculate backwards to ensure you have adequate time to prep, lay your turf and allow it to settle.

How Long Does New Turf Take To Root?

On average, new turf takes two weeks for a shallow root to be established. We still recommend leaving your turf at this point. It can take up to 6 weeks for a strong root system to be created, which will help your turf grow strong and source essential water and nutrients throughout the year.

To test if your turf is fully established, give the edge a little tug. If it pulls away from the earth, it requires more time. If there’s resistance, it’s pretty secure. At this point, you can mow your new turf at a high mowing setting, gradually lowering the setting with each cut.

When Should You Not Lay Turf

There are only three occasions when you shouldn’t lay turf. It can occur any time of the year (especially with the UK’s weather!).

First, if your ground is frozen solid. These conditions are completely impractical. Frozen soil is not only incredibly hard to prepare. It makes the manual side of turf laying more difficult, but new turf will also struggle to anchor into the ground successfully.

Second, torrential rain! No one wants to be outside in the rain anyway. However, if the ground you’re working on is sodden, your turf won’t take to it. You also run the risk of uneven surfaces and compacted soil, as your footprints will easily leave indentations. Lastly, laying turf on wet earth is a messy job, leaving your turf looking muddy rather than marvellous.

Third, if your soil is too dry. This can sometimes occur during extreme summers and heatwaves and adds another layer of complexity to laying turf. For successful turf laying, you need your soil to be damp; it’s easier to work with and for turf roots to embed. If you’ve ordered turf and there’s an unexpected heatwave, speak to the team at George Davies about delaying your order or placing it in our chiller to maintain its freshness.

When To Lay Turf For A Sports Field?

This can be tricky, as it’s dependent on your sports fixtures and if the UK weather is playing ball! A well-maintained sports field is a crucial part of matches as it can impact the game as well as the mood of your team – no one wants to throw themselves into a tackle on a threadbare field.

Most sports clubs use grass seeds to fix bad areas of their grass field. However, if there’s time, they can completely returf their field during the off-season. As new turf cannot be used or mowed for the first six weeks, timing is vital to allow new turf to settle in before the next season starts. For more advice regarding returfing your sports field, speak to the team at George Davies.

How To Lay Turf

Now you know the best time of year to lay turf, head to our ultimate guide to laying turf. Our step-by-step instructions will help you from start to finish for the perfect lawn.

If you have any questions regarding your turf order, delivery or laying turf tips, contact George Davies. Our turf experts are ready to help.

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