How To Lay Turf Like a Pro

4 min read

Freshly laid turf can look either like a million dollars, or a dog’s breakfast. And it is all dependent on how well the soil is prepared, how the turf is laid, and the level of after care you give until it establishes.
If you are thinking of laying your own turf, here are some tips to guarantee your neighbors will have lawn envy!

Soil Preparation:
STEP 1. Remove all building waste, rocks, old lawn & weeds.
Any living weeds left behind will sneak up between the new turf joins. Dead weeds/lawn will hinder the roots of the new turf from finding the soil underneath and will prevent your new turf from establishing evenly.

STEP 2. Dig up or turn over soil and consider introducing new soil.
 Introducing new soil will pay for itself with the remarkable variance on how well the turf does. Spread on appropriate soil conditioners if desired i.e. for acidic soils add lime, for heavier clay soils add gypsum, for sandy soils simply mix in small amounts of organic material.

Use a Rotary hoe or a shovel to turn the soil over. If you are adding organic material – make sure that you only use a small percentage and mix it in well with the soil. If the turf is laid directly onto organic material, the roots will not be able to get to the soil and will die. 

Make sure that your soil is finely broken up. If the slabs/rolls of lawn are placed upon clods of dirt, it create air pockets. The air pockets prevents the roots from holding moisture and therefore the lawn will die. Our budget under turf soil is perfect for at this point. It is mixed on site to ensure a consistency, and it contains sand which aids soil drainage.

STEP 3. Level the surface - 
Eliminate drainage problems by making the soil drain away from the house.
Allow for the height of the turf along paths. Use a roller to make the ground even for your new turf.

Laying the Turf:
Lay the turf within a couple of hours of delivery. This is even more critical in the Summer, when you will want to lay the turf immediately after it has been delivered. Dampen the ground prior to laying the turf, lay a small section of the turf, and then water it well. If it is a really hot day, dampen the pile of turf and make sure it is delivered into a shady spot so that it doesn’t dry out while you are working. It can help to throw an old wet bed sheet over the top to keep it cool and damp. Avoid plastic though, because it will make the turf sweat.

Start laying the turf away from the stack of turf, to avoid walking over the top of freshly laid turf. Use a brickwork pattern and choose your straightest and longest edge. Start by rolling your lawn out without pulling or stretching the turf, pushing the edges together, staggering the joins in a brickwork pattern. You may need to peg grass on sloping areas to prevent movement and always avoid gaps as this provides a perfect environment for weeds to grow. Try not to let the edges overlap as the roots will dry out and the turf will quickly die.

Use a bread knife or shovel to cut around edges as required. Then top dress your freshly laid turf with a good quality top soil. We generally recommend a sandy loam or washed river sand. This will help the turf to thicken and the grass to establish faster.

Make you sure apply a generous layer on top of narrow strips and joins. Top dressing your turf helps it to hold moisture which reduces shock to the turf, and as an added bonus, ensures your water is retained more efficiently.

Soak the turf:
Keeping the water up to newly laid turf is absolutely critical. In fact, you will want to almost ‘flood’ the turf for the first couple of days, to keep it and the soil beneath it very damp. To remove air pockets, flatten the turf underfoot, or for a more professional finish, use a roller.

Remember to keep the water up to your new lawn for three to four weeks. If it is very hot, dry or windy, you may need to continue watering for up to six weeks.

Follow Up:
Turf takes around six months before it really establishes and settles. After it has been mowed a few times (you can think about a light mow after a few weeks), you might want to think about applying a good fertiliser to further help it along. And if you are planting your turf around about now, you will find that it may lose quite a bit of colour during the cooler months.

If you are unsure how much product you need to kick off your turf, as always, give us a call and we will sort you out 5453 7100.

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