Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Turf Laying - Tips and Tricks

Laying turf is not all that difficult. As in most things, some reasonable preparations make the experience more pleasant. Lifting and moving the rolls of sod is heavy work, but it can pay off handsomely.....instant lawn!

A good friable, ripped or cultivated sub grade or base, covered by a modest amount of a clean, weed free sandy topsoil are prime ingredients. Locally, coarse sand is a preferred option based on cost and availability and most importantly.......it does generally come free of weeds. However, any sandy topsoil can be used effectively. Turf grows best in the medium and longer term on a sandy soil. It compacts less and allows higher infiltration. At least 50mm is needed. Avoid heavier clay or silty soils. They can be very hard when drier.

Have the area graded to the desired level - even by hand is satisfactory. Place a good NPK mixed fertiliser on the topsoil, ie below the turf sod. Plan for the finished height to be at or slightly below any hard surfaces such as paths.

Lay out the turf rolls and open them out. Make sure they are tightly butted together, along and between the row. Cut and trim the turf around objects. It gets tricky when odd shaped areas are involved, so have a plan to allow for those issues. You can work across the turf as you lay the area, and I prefer to use a plank on the area if you are moving turf rolls into place by wheelbarrow. This option reduces the chance of any indentations developing.

Thoroughly roll the area with a moderate weight roller to ensure good contact between the turf and the topsoil, then water thoroughly. A quick light weight roll the next day is often worthwhile to ensure close contact between sod and topsoil after the area has settled a little.

Keep the area well watered for at least 7-14 days, depending on the weather. This is absolutely vital in warmer areas, and may mean irrigation several times a day, particularly in daylight hours for a few days. In warm weather root development is usually very quick if water is readily available......fine roots extending into the topsoil are seen within a few days. That is what you want.....they are searching for water and nutrients, and these roots will quickly anchor the sod.

What you do not want is something like this situation below, seen recently on a major unit development. The turf was probably laid before Christmas..........and ignored. Turf can be tough and recover, but at least give it a fair chance of surviving. Turf sod is more expensive, and laying turf correctly will protect your investment in an instant lawn.



I guess these areas were not watered after laying the turf..........plus a few other issues too!



4 comments:

Tanya said...

My husband recently ordered some turf online from Rolawn Direct as our garden is in a sorry state, and needs a serious make over. I just hope the turf doesn't end looking like the examples in your photographs.

Peter H said...

Tanya.......the final outcome is dependent on how the turf is laid. Preparation of the site is important to get a good finish. That might be an issue you need to discuss between the turf layers. This site is still not good, 3 months after turf was laid, and is a source of some merriment among the turf industry locally about what NOT TO DO!.

Rolawn also have details of how to achieve a good finish with laying turf on their web site.

We strongly recommend use of slow release fertilisers once the area is established [about 4-6 weeks after laying], but this can be shorter in our tropical conditions. I am sure it will be ok.

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Julie Myers said...

You have some great tips on how to lay turf. I would really like to lay turf in my yard because my grass has been struggling to grow. It sounds like it isn't too difficult as long as I have good turf and that the soil is ready. I will be sure that when I get it laid that I water it well so that it can grow well. Thanks for this great post! http://www.perthturfsupplies.com.au