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Laying turf

Creating a healthy lawn

Having a nice even, green, healthy lawn provides plenty of attractions - from enhancing the look of your property, to providing nice surroundings to sit in, or an area for play.

To have such a lawn is not an overnight job, but with careful planning, it will yield great results.

Before doing anything, you need to decide when you are going to undertake such a project. A turf can be laid at different times of year, but there are certain weather conditions that should be avoided - you do not want to be laying turf in frosty conditions, or in extremes of weather - such as very wet, or warm. Ideal times of year are generally spring and late summer/early autumn.

Assessing the Area to Turf

  • Consider - What is the grassed area like at the moment, or what is the area that you intend to turf like?
  • Assessing the current state of the area may give you clues as to any issues with the site.
Is the state of vegetation poor, are leaves yellow?

This would suggest a lack of nutrients in the spoil, which, if you are intending to repair a lawn area may require the use of some lawn fertiliser, rich in nitrogen.

But, be careful that you do not over fertilise - it is better to do it over a period of a few weeks.

So, before you start doing anything with your lawn of planning to lay new turf, you need to do some simple research.

Weeds / existing grass
  • Are you looking to re-turf or are you repairing an existing lawn?

On existing lawns, dig out weeds across the lawn with a hand fork, and aerate and feed to encourage the growth of grass. If you are planning to lay new turf, then remove all signs of weeds – be careful not to turn soil and bury roots back within the soil. By preparing the soil area and leaving it for a few days before laying new turf, you should be able to see signs of any new growth of weeds that you did not catch the first time.

Preparing the soil - What sort of soil do you have?

Do a soil test to determine the PH, see whether the soil is heavy in clay. If it is heavy in clay, there is a likelihood that it will have become impacted and this restricts root growth and penetration. You will need to aerate the soil –

  • If you are not digging up the area, make holes with a fork and fill these with sand.
  • If you are digging up the area, but retaining the soil you can mix sand and a soil conditioner. 

If reusing the existing soil, you will need to dig this thoroughly and remove all existing weeds. Chemicals to remove weeds are best avoided if possible as these may damage new turf, so you should wait a few weeks to ensure all weeds are gone. At this stage, you can then add nutrients to the soil, such as well rotted organic matter.

You will also need to check on the drainage of the soil - if you are repairing an existing lawn, after watering or rainfall, you should be able to see where water drains and where it does not. Aerating the soil will help with drainage, but you may also find that there is excess run-off from other parts of your garden, so you may need to add some drainage channels or modify areas of your garden to alleviate this.

Once you have prepared the main soil area you may need to add some fresh top soil before adding any turf.

Your new turf

There are a variety of different turfs and grasses available. These will vary in quality according to price, but also different types are available for different applications - some may suit higher traffic areas, whilst others may be more resilient to a drier environment. Before looking, make sure you have measured up the area and decided on your budget, so you have an idea of what you are aiming for.

A garden centre will be able to advise you on the different types of grass and turf available, and may also check soil samples that you provide.

  • Once your turf arrives it should be laid as soon as possible. Leaving it rolled up can cause it to warm up and for the turf to deteriorate.

With the turf down, it will need watering. You should avoid walking on the area and should not cut it until the grass is established and rooted. It can take a few weeks for the grass to properly settle in.

Some simple points:

  • Prepare you area carefully – plan and allow sufficient time for your project.
  • Assess your soil - type, quality, and drainage.
  • Choose turf suitable for the area - environment, use.
  • Be ready to lay your turf as soon as it arrives.

Do the job properly, become an expert in turf

Laying turf is an expensive process, taking both time and planning.

  • Do the job properly
  • Become an expert
  • Learn about turfs for yourself or to help you in building a gardening business.
  • Learn about different soils, turfs and good horticultural practices with an ACS course.

We offer a great range of turf courses, including:

Turf Care

Turf Repair and Renovation

Associate Diploma In Turf

Certificate In Horticulture (Turf)

Proficiency Award in Turf Care and Management

Proficiency Award in Sports Turf and Irrigation

Sports Turf Management

If you have any questions, or would like to know more, our highly knowledgeable Horticulture tutors can help - get in touch today.

[20/01/2021 02:34:04]

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