Laying a Lawn from Turf
1. Carry out exactly the same soil preparation (see Seeding New Lawns) up to the step where you have regraded the soil by hand rake.
2. Measure the area to be turfed accurately. Allow 5% extra for trimming and wastage. Order your turf. Never order more turf than you think you are capable of laying in one day as turf left in the roll will soon deteriorate (especially in warmer and more humid the weather) and result in a poor lawn.
3. Start by laying a row of turves along the longest and straightest edge. Never stretch the turves to fit as this will result in shrinkage and hence later gaps, instead butt, fold and push the edges together. Avoid using small pieces of cut turf near the edges as they will dry out faster than you can keep them watered and die off.
4. Place boards over the row that you have laid and use these to carry the rolls along to lay the next row (do not walk on your prepared soil). This second row should be laid with the joints staggered (brick-work fashion) so that the turves interlock.
5. Continue in this fashion until you have laid all the turves.
6. Water the turf copiously – this means applying sufficient water to saturate the turf and the topsoil to a depth of at least 150mm (6″). Ensure that the turf does not dry out for at least the first month of establishment.
The soil below the turf will stay moist (provided sufficient water was applied), but the turf on the surface is likely to start drying out rapidly, therefore it is important to apply top-up waterings to keep the turf moist. (this means hoses and sprinklers and not watering cans full)
7. Roll or “beat” the turf to ensure good contact between the underside of the turf and the soil (any air gaps will cause the turf to dry out and die off).
8. Keep off the lawn – this includes your pets and children, until the lawn has received it’s second mowing – about 4 weeks after laying.
9. Once the leaf blade length reaches 40- 50mm in length (just under 2″) and provided the turf has sufficiently anchored its roots into the soil. Mow the lawn with a very sharp bladed mower (ensuring that you do not tear the grass off). Set the height of cut so that you remove only 25% of the leaf blade length at a time and fit the grass box so that you remove the cuttings.
10. Mow your lawn regularly, feed it at least twice a year and keep it moist and you should have a lawn to be proud of.
Why do turfed lawns fail?
1. Leaving the turf rolled up on the pallet too long – be prepared for the delivery and lay turf as soon as it arrives.
2. Laying on poor topsoils and/or not preparing the soil thoroughly.
3. Laying on top of a layer of sand or grit sand or gravel because you are too lazy to prepare the topsoil properly.
4. Not applying sufficient water, often enough.
5. Letting the grass grow too long before mowing it and then razoring the grass down to ground level – the best way to ruin a perfectly good lawn.
6. Laying the turf in excessively high temperatures – the rate of water loss through evaporation is greater than the amount of water being applied.
7. Laying turf onto frozen or frosted soil. This will cause damage to the turf roots and inhibit establishment into the topsoil.