Common Turfing Mistakes

Whether you’re an expert or a novice gardener, laying turf is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get a brand new, lush-looking lawn. However, even the most experienced landscapers can make mistakes that can affect the health and aesthetics of their lawns. Here are Online Turf’s top 4 turfing mistakes you should look to avoid for a successful turf laying experience:

1. Laying turf onto unsuitable ground

A common mistake we often see is laying turf onto an unsuitable base. For example, sand, grass, concrete and weed control membranes are all likely to hinder your turf’s growth and root development if used underneath turf.

You should only lay turf onto good quality topsoil so that the roots are able to easily penetrate the soil below & access the nutrients it needs to survive.

Laying turf on sand
Laying turf on concrete
Laying turf on grass

If you have a mixture of soil and sand (also known as ‘topdressing’) you should ensure that there is enough drainage available for the soil not to become waterlogged and that the sand does not absorb too much moisture away from the roots, drying out the turf.

2. Laying turf onto poor soil quality

Laying turf onto the correct base material is a good start for ground preparation, but you also need to ensure that your soil is good quality. Signs of poor-quality soil would be large debris (rocks, stones, weeds etc), claggy and clay-like soil texture or dry, hard soil. Having some small stones in your soil shouldn't be an issue as this can help with turf drainage.

Your soil should be soft enough to support the turf rooting into the ground, and moist enough to provide a steady flow of water and nutrients to the plant. You can add fresh topsoil to help level out areas that are uneven, or to mix in with clay soil to make a new, more suitable mixture

If you need further information on how to prepare your ground for laying turf you can check out our how-to video guide.

3. Not laying quick enough

As turf is a perishable product, one of the most common mistakes we see is not laying fast enough. Turf that has been left to deteriorate on a pallet can appear yellow/brown or, in some extreme cases, dark brown, smelly and mouldy. This is a sign of dead, unrecoverable turf.

We will always recommend laying turf the same day of delivery for the best results, but we understand that sometimes, this isn’t possible, so we’ve provided seasonal recommendations for the appropriate turf-laying times below:

Seasonal turf laying

Spring: You should aim to lay on the same day as delivery, or within 1 day of delivery.

Summer: In hotter temperatures, it is imperative that you lay turf on the same day of delivery. If you need to leave the turf overnight, we recommend removing the top few layers of turf from the pallet to encourage airflow. You should then lay first thing the next morning.

Autumn: You should aim to lay on the same day as delivery, or within 1 day of delivery.

Winter:  You should aim to lay on the same day as delivery, or within 1-2 days after delivery. You should not lay onto frozen ground.

4. Incorrect aftercare

Once the turf has been laid, it’s important you provide it with the correct aftercare to ensure your turf successfully roots in. Watering is key to a surviving, thriving turf. The best way is to follow the lawn’s needs and use the weather/season as a guide to your watering schedule.

In hot weather, you should water heavily & ideally in in the morning & evening to minimise the risk of evaporation. You should not water turf on the pallet in periods of hot weather, or cover it with a tarp, as this can make the turf overheat and sweat. In periods of heavy rain, you may not need to water as much, or you could risk waterlogging the turf

Other forms of aftercare mistakes would be over-fertilising your turf, which can scorch the grass in hot weather, or negatively affect the soil’s PH. You should also be wary of mowing too short, as this can scalp the lawn and damage the blades beyond recovery.

Maintaining a healthy lawn is easy to do, if you know what to avoid! By following the tips outlined above, you’re sure to have a thriving lawn in no time.

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