Dan's guide to laying turf

Turf is a great way of having instant results that can be lightly trafficked again after only a few days.  It also can be carried out at any time of the year, as temperatures don’t determine germination.

turf layingFor best results, turf should be laid mid-autumn to late winter as long as the conditions are not too wet or frosty.  In spring, watering needs to be carried out regularly.  The middle of summer should be avoided only as keeping the turf and the soil beneath sufficiently watered can be difficult.  Dry soils can stress the turf and cause delay in rooting or could cause it to fail.

To calculate the amount of turf required simply multiply the length and width in metres together to give you the area in m2.  Turf tends to come in 1m2 rolls so the calculation will give you the number of rolls required.  Add 5% for waste, trimming around edges etc.

If you are replacing an existing lawn, or the area to be covered has existing weed growth, then the area will need to be treated with a non-residual herbicide 14 days before cultivation to ensure irradiation of all weeds.

Cultivation should be to a depth of 150mm – 200mm and be of a fine tilth.  Fertiliser or manure should be added at this point and mixed well into the soil.  Lightly compact the area, small footprints, and then lightly rake to give a fine tilth.  Ideally water the area a couple of days before laying is to commence.

Ideally lay turf within 24hrs of delivery to avoid yellowing.

When starting to lay, start along one edge or a corner.  Butt joints up to each other but don’t stretch the turf to join, as it will shrink back leaving a gap.  Level any slight discrepancies with soil or sand under the turf and give a gentle tap down with a piece of wood to ensure a good contact between the turf and the soil.  Any small cracks or gaps can be filled with light soil.

Once the first row is laid, use wooden planks on the laid turf to stand on to lay the rest.  Joins in the turf should be staggered from the row before.  Use a knife or half-moon tool to cut the turf.

Once the turf is all laid, water immediately.  The turf should be watered for several days afterwards, lifting the corners of the turf to ensure that enough water is penetrating through to the soil below.  A light cut of approximately a ¼ of its length will also encourage root growth.