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Is spring the best time to lay turf?

Waving goodbye to winter brings renewed hope and energy to gardeners and a sense of purpose and positivity. Spring brings with it new buds, new growth and the impetus to be outside.

One of the main focal points to notice after the long winter months will be the condition of your lawn (See our lawn care tips for spring time). Or for those gardeners considering new projects it might be time to lay turf.

is spring the best time of year to lay turf lawn

Is spring the best time to lay turf?

Turf is one of the most under-estimated aspects of any garden, and with spring fast approaching, most think this is the best (and only time) to lay turf. Yet turf can be laid any time of year. We think autumn is the optimal time, but laying turf in spring is absolutely fine and can transform any sized project instantly.

With the promise of lazy summer days, entertaining on the lawn, and perhaps a spot of croquet, gardens will need to look their best. For some, spring is therefore seen as the most convenient time to lay down a new lawn.

What are the advantages of laying turf in spring?

Conditions in spring time are very favourable. As you are working with nature, days are generally milder and longer, rainfall is gentle, providing appropriate irrigation and moisture for root growth to establish at a faster rate.

The temperature of the soil is warmer in spring, giving plants the ability to put down roots for immediate growth. The soil will also be much easier to work with.

If soil quality is poor it’s important to use a pre-turfing fertiliser before turf is laid. Your local garden centre will be able to recommend a suitable product.

The disadvantages of laying turf in spring

Turf laid in the spring will need extra watering, especially during extreme dry spells during the summer. Dry soil may stress the turf and delay rooting. For large areas make sure you have arranged irrigation or consider whether you can delay your turf project until the autumn. Small areas are easier to manage with a sprinkler.

There may be a shortage of turf during the spring months at garden centres as supplies run dry due to popularity. But don’t let that deter you, we are on hand to advise where and when you can find stocks of our turf, and of course we are here to supply too.

Care guide when laying turf

Turf provides an instant lawn effect but it is important to prepare the soil well before laying, as you would grass seed. (See our guide to preparing your soil for turf).

Don’t be tempted to mow your grass before it is fully rooted as this stresses turf and may delay rooting.

We advise you to lay turf on the day of delivery during the spring. If this is not possible, we recommend you unroll the turf in a holding area and water it regularly.

Do not under-water your newly laid turf, as this may result in shallow rooting. The water applied needs to be sufficient to penetrate and soak the soil underneath the turf in order to encourage the news roots downwards. There is no need to feed it for the first 3-6 months as it arrives fully fertilised.

In order for your new turf to settle in stay off it, ideally for at least 3-4 weeks, to enable it to establish and really set down its roots, so it can become a thing of beauty throughout the summer months and beyond.

Summary

  • Conditions for laying turf in spring are favourable, warm and wet
  • When laying turf in spring plan how you will keep it watered including for that first summer
  • Do not mow or run around on the new turf for the first 3-4 weeks

 

We supply quality turf all year round. If you would like further advice on lawn care this spring or would like to talk to us about your order, please contact us on 01392 231040 or email sales@wesellturf.com

Spring Lawn Care

After the wet winter months, your lawn may have taken a beating and it now needs a little time to bounce back.

It’s only natural to want to get out and mow your lawn as soon as spring arrives, but the best thing you can do is to encourage nourishment with plenty of TLC and some good feed, which all goes towards putting vital energy and nutrients back into the soil and helps to fight off disease, ensuring your lawn is full of luxurious vitality for the summer months ahead.

We have devised some helpful tips for those of you ready to get your lawns in order this spring.

Mowing

With the sun making an appearance at this time of year, it easy to think I’ll jump in the garden and give the grass a mow to get it ready for the Spring. And while it is a very important job to do, caution is required. Grass leaves have a lot of work to do at this time of year as they are storing any available nourishment and sending what they can down into their roots to enable new growth to form on the surface, as well as trying to stave off diseases. Therefore, mowing too early will cut off any vital nutrients that they need.

For the first mowing in spring, set the cutting height to the highest setting. Thereafter, gradually reduce the height of cut until the desired height is reached. The general guideline is never remove more than one-third of the leaf in any one mow. A little and often approach is better in spring; think, once a week in spring time but never when it is wet or frosty.

Aerate

From March onwards a key part of looking after your lawn is to aerate it. It is an often overlooked part of lawn care but is well needed after the impact of winter which can lead to compacted soil and also sometimes very wet grass – conditions not conducive to spring growth! Aeration allows air into the soil enabling better root growth and absorption of more nutrients from the soil, allowing it to breathe again. This can be done with a hand-held aerating tool or a powered aerator.

Scarifying or raking, is a really useful thing to do in the spring and the autumn. You can easily hire a machine, which makes it simple to do. Scarifying prevents too much thatch from accumulating by removing the build-up of dead vegetation. This ensures that air and water can permeate into the soil and it discourages moss from spreading too. Of course to keep cost down, a hand held spring-tine rake can be used. Vigorously pull the rake through the grass sward to remove dead grass, roots and moss.

Moss and weed removal

After the winter you may see lots of moss and weeds in your turf, they’ll be competing with the grass for nutrients and moisture and need to be dealt with. An all in one lawn feed, weed and moss killer is ideal to increase the nutrient levels of the grass and kill off the moss at the same time. Or for a less chemical approach, Scarifying or raking, as described above can really help. It’s a good idea to wait at least until April or May to use weed killer. But manual weeding can be done earlier. Not all weeds are created equal!

Also, the presence of moss, could be a sign of compacted soil if your lawn has been subject to high levels of traffic. Aeration is the best remedy to rectify it, but this kind of solution is best kept until the autumn.

Once moss has been removed you may have to consider over-seeding to cover up bare patches or even out the whole lawn with the appropriate grass seed and then add fertiliser for optimal growth.

Over-seeding

If your lawn is plagued with bare patches due to heavy traffic, pet activity or neglect or it suffered from the ravages of an excessively wet winter, you may need to apply grass seed to fill in the gaps. Spring is a great time to over-seed your lawn after any winter damage. It’s easy and quick, just sprinkle where needed. April to September is the ideal time to over-seed.

Feeding your lawn

To establish lawn health, spring is one of the optimal times to feed your lawn. In fact it’s ideal to feed it up to 6 times a year and helps prevent weeds and moss forming

Summary

  • Feed your lawn regularly with all-in-one feed, weed and moss killer, especially in Spring and Autumn
  • Set the mower blades high for the first mow in Spring and don’t remove more than one third of the leaf at a time
  • Aeration helps a compacted lawn to thrive better
  • Scarifying removes dead vegetation to encourage grass growth
  • Moss and weeds can be removed with chemicals or manually
  • Over seed bare patches left by moss and weeds between April and September

 

If you would like further advice on lawn care in spring or would like to talk to us about your order, please contact us on 01392 231040 or email sales@wesellturf.com

Can you still lay turf in the winter?

Is turf affected by the cold weather? How does snow and frost affect turf?

We’ve been asked a few of these question this week with the weather taking a turn for the worse. Just as we were beginning to look forward to the spring a blast of Siberian weather has arrived. But fear not, it’s not all bad news. The cold snap shouldn’t affect the harvesting and supply of our turf, unless the ground is frozen, and usually we can harvest in the afternoon following a frost. And as long as the roads remain clear we can still deliver as usual.

lay turf winter frost

Laying turf in the winter

Generally the cold weather won’t affect laying turf either. Winter is actually a great time to lay turf as it gives the turf time to settle and root before the summer months when you‘ll be wanting to use the lawn more often. It will actually be easier to manage; it will require much less maintenance and watering (no long hot sunny days to worry about … ah, wishful thinking!).

Can I lay turf when the ground is frozen?

Laying turf onto frozen ground is not advised, however if you have already received your turf and the rolls have frozen, simply wait until they thaw and then lay.

What if I’ve just laid new turf and the frost comes?

If you’ve recently laid new turf, the frost won’t cause any long-term damage either, just follow our tips below to ensure it stays in tiptop condition.

How can I take extra care of my lawn in the frost and snow?

As snow and frost won’t really do any damage to your lawn, there isn’t really too much to worry about. However keeping off the grass when it is frosty or frozen can help to reduce ugly footprint forms in the lawn, but rest assured they’ll not cause long term damage – grass is pretty hard wearing! Any scorch marks will then grow out of the grass in the spring.

When it comes to snow, prolonged compacted snow cover can cause an outbreak of snow mould (small circles of straw coloured spots in the grass).  To reduce the chance of snow mould damage we’d advise you to avoid throwing snow on the lawn from paths and driveways, and, as much as we don’t want to spoil the kids fun, remove snowmen when they are finished with (shh … don’t tell the children we said that).

Obviously, this is not the time to be mowing or applying any fertilisers or weed killers either. The grass needs to be growing rather than dormant for them to work.

If you would like any further advice or would like to talk to us about your order, please contact us on 01392 231040 or email sales@wesellturf.com

 

 

 

Turf aftercare

Newly laid lawn

After laying turf avoid vigorous use to allow it a chance to put down its new roots. This will take 2 to 4 weeks depending on the time of year. It grows a lot slower in the winter. During that time we would advise you to only walk very carefully on it, do not mow it and make sure it has plenty of water.  It is easy to underwater but difficult to over water.

Once you can no longer lift up the corner of a turf it has grown in and it’s ok to give its first haircut. The general rule is only ever cut off one third of the length. So if it’s growing very fast you will need to be patient and take a few mows to get it down to the length you want it. Leave 7 days between each cut. By doing this you’ll avoid the grass looking yellow.

Mowing

Once your new lawn has settled in, you can expect to be mowing it once or twice a week from April to October. It’s very much dependent on how cold the winter is but it’s not likely to need any mowing December to February.

Annually

We treat all our turf with fertilisers and nutrients to make it healthy. To keep your lawn at its best we recommend a weed and feed type treatment each spring and autumn which garden centres can supply. Leatherjackets, which are the young larvae of cranefly or daddy long legs, can also be a problem. Please see our separate post on “Leatherjackets”.

Lawn care, like everything, is something which you could make into a full time job if you have the time and inclination. Other jobs which keep a lawn at its best include scarifying, aerating etc

How to lay turf

There are 2 stages: preparation and laying. It’s important to prepare the ground before the turf arrives so it can be laid immediately and not suffer from being rolled up for too long. Turf must be laid within 24 hours of delivery.

Preparation

Remove vegetation, roots, plants and stones ready to prepare the soil. Vegetation may need to be sprayed off to avoid it growing up through the new turf. A garden centre can advise on the appropriate product and how long before the ground will be ready after use. This may typically be 2 weeks.

The ground needs to be made ready to lay the turf on top. There needs to be sufficient quantity and quality of top soil to nourish the grass and levelled to the desired slope, flatness or other contour. We advise 5-15cm (2-6 inches) of topsoil is needed for grass to thrive. But this depends on factors such as the drainage and aspect of the land.

To prepare the soil rotivate, roll and rake over the surface. Rotivating will ensure the ground isn’t too compacted which can be bad for drainage. Grass needs well draining soil otherwise moss is likely to take over. Rolling the loose soil will speed along the process of settling it to its natural level. Use your feet to firm down the soil if you don’t have a roller. Then finally, raking it will make it easier for the growing roots to take hold into loose soil.

Laying

Start laying from a position where you won’t need to stand on the prepared soil. Then continue by placing a plank on the first rolls to spread your weight evenly.

Lay the turf rolls in a brick fashion and push them together as close as possible. This helps to avoid the joins being noticeable. In warmer weather some shrinkage is normal after laying so these steps help to make the newly laid lawn look as good as possible. Where this happens the effect will disappear as the grass grows, or you can sprinkle some fine soil or sand into any gaps.

At the end of a row of turf where a piece is cut to fit, it is best to avoid finishing with a very small piece. If necessary cut the previous piece and use a longer strip to finish. Again this reduces the problems of shrinkage.

Curved and slanted lines require the turf to be cut to fit. You could use an old kitchen knife.

Aftercare

Now refer to our guide for aftercare. Most importantly your new lawn needs plenty of water.