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How to lay turf - What is turf - Lawn care and landscaping

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How to lay turf - What is turf - Lawn care and landscaping

   Turf or sod (as they are sometimes called) is an excellent and quick way to transform your untidy worn out lawn.  Only a few tools are required and turf can be laid all year round.  However frosty conditions and extended periods of hot, dry weather should be avoided.  Two factor to achieve a lush healthy green lawn are excellent quality healthy turf and good soil preparation.
                     Measure area for turf

   Turf can cost anywhere from £2.50 to £5 a roll so it is important to calculate the correct amount you require.  Here is a link to a turf calculator to help you work out how much you require.  Once you have worked the area out add between 3 - 5% on to make up for any off-cuts.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_Turfing-Services-Cornwall.jpg                             Removing your old lawn

  If you are replacing your old lawn it will need removing first.  The best way is to use a turf cutter.  There are many Turf Cutters on the market available from your local hire shop. The model showed in the picture is a COMM42 300/320.  It is important to make sure that you set the cutting depth so that it is removing the thatch layer just underneath the old lawns's surface.  Mowing the lawn before will reduce the volume of material requiring rolling and lifting. A 100 square meter lawn will leave around 3 metric cubic tonnes of debris that will need to be disposed off.  It is important to cut in straight lines otherwise you will have a lot of thin missed strips that have to be lifted by hand! Cut the strips of turf in one meter or less lengths, roll up and dispose of, any bigger and they start to get a bit heavy. A bit like turfing in reverse.



   The ground will most likely be compacted so it will require the soil breaking up.  This will allow oxygen into the soil and encourage deep rapid rooting of the turf.  This can be done with a rotovator, if you don't own one this to can be hired from your local hire shop.  You should rotovate to a depth of about 20 - 25cm. Once the area is all rotovated in both directions and the soil is fine with no big pieces then start to level it out with a rake.  Once the ground is level you can start to flatten the ground down with you feet by walking over the soil.  If the soil is not pressed down slightly the ground will sink and be uneven when it is walked on after the turf has been laid.  If you have time leave the ground to settle for several days or longer before finally raking back over if again removing any stones along the way.  At this point you can add a pre-turf fertilizer, this will add any nutrients that the soil might be lacking and aid the turf development.

  b2ap3_thumbnail_Turf-on-a-pallet.png                         Laying the turf

  The turf should be laid within 24 hour of being delivered because when turf is rolled up the leaves of the grass are not receiving any sunlight and will rapidly start turning yellow start to die.  Start laying the turf along a straight edge, butting each roll of the turf close to the next.  Each row of turf should be staggered in a brickwork fashion.  Don't walk on the newly laid turf, use wooden boards to stand on to distribute your weight so not to put indents in the new turf.  When you need to cut the turf use something like a  bread knife for this and make clean neat cuts in the turf.  Once the last roll is laid stand back and admire how good your new lawn looks, but your not finished yet.

                            After care

Immediately after laying the turf it will need a very good water.  The best way to do this is with a water sprinkler.  You will need to keep the turf moist until it is firmly rooted.  To help encourage deep rooting water the lawn well as this will encourage the roots to dig deeper in the soil but don't over water.  First thing in the morning and in the evening are the best times to water. You may be tempted but do not walk on the lawn for at least 2 - 3 weeks apart from when it needs a cut. As soon as it starts to grow cut it.  Mowing helps encourage the growth but remember to never remove more than 25% of the total plant. This prevents stress to the plant.
Lawn care products can be used on the lawn once established but you usually have to wait 6 months before these can be applied and remember to always read the label.  
Please have a look at my other blog articles at  for more information on turfing, scarifying and lawn mowing . We also have a youtube video to accompany this article called How to lay turf. Please click on the link and subscribe.


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Tagged in: Healthy Lawn Lawn Care
in Lawn Care Hits: 44876 7 Comments


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  • Guest
    Richie Jen Monday, 24 February 2020

    Great information for establishing a lawn in Australia. As we are planning to lay our new turf in our backyard, our turf supplier recommends Zoysia grass for our yard which is best to grow in both shade and sunlight with less maintenance, I prefer Empire Zoysia turf brisbane. Here I got ideas of Zoysia turf to use for the various purpose and soil types. Thanks for Sharing.

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Guest Wednesday, 27 January 2021