How To Look After Newly Laid Turf
Caring for newly laid turf
Whether you have created a new yourself or made the most of our supply and lay surface, your new turf will need lots of TLC in its first few weeks. Here are some hints and tips on caring for newly laid turf.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to water your newly laid turf. Not just on the first day, but every day for at least a fortnight.
Hours before it was delivered to your garden, your turf was happily growing in a lovely sunny field. Its roots were delving deep into the soil to reach the moisture the plants needed to survive. At a rough guess, the roots would have been at least 50cm long with hundreds if not thousands of underground branches. Grass plants are like icebergs – only a very small proportion of the plant is above the ground.
Wimborne Turf delivering to a customer. Turf needs to be laid and watered as soon as it arrives - any delay could lead to loss of quality
Then along came the turf harvester with its super-sharp blades and cut the turf for your garden. The harvester takes off just a couple of centimetres of root as well as the crown and the leaves of the grass plant. 80-90% of the root mass stays in the field.
The turf that arrives in your garden has lost 80-90% of its water finding ability and it needs to be nurtured while the roots regrow. They WILL regrow – but only if they have plenty of water and nutrients within easy reach.
That’s why we recommend using a pre-turfing fertiliser and why we insist that new turf is watered every day for the first fortnight.
How much water does new turf need?
As soon as your turf has been laid, give it a really good soaking. Set yourself a target to wash all the loose soil off the leaves and into the sward. Then leave temporary puddles on the surface. After half an hour or so, lift up a corner on one of the turves. Is the soil beneath them good and wet? It should be. If it isn’t, water it all again.
Water every single day for the next 7-10 days. Soaking the lawn well each time. If it rains, check the soil moisture before deciding not to add more water – sometimes a light shower just isn’t enough.
Do your watering as late in the evening as you possibly can. That way less of the water will be evaporated by the sun and more of it will soak down to where the roots need it.
In very hot dry weather, you may need to water morning AND evening. Whatever the weather, you must not let that turf dry out.
Pay extra attention to the edges of your new lawn. They’re more prone to drying out.
After a week or so, you should be able to lift one of the turves and see shiny new white roots beginning to grow.
Once you are confident that the roots are developing AND provided the weather isn’t baking hot, reduce the watering to every other day. But keep an eye on things and don’t get complacent. That soil still needs to be kept moist.
In weeks 2-4 watering every other day should be adequate.
After 4 weeks, gradually reduce the amount of water you apply.
6 weeks after installation you should be able to stop irrigating all together.
How long should you keep off the grass?
For the first 2 weeks you should avoid walking directly on your new turf. If you need to step on it to move the sprinkler or reach flower beds, always use boards to spread your weight.
In 3 weeks your turf should be able to cope with light use.
After 6 weeks it should be well established and OK to play on.
When will your new turf need mowing?
Mowing is probably THE most important aspect of lawn care. Incorrect mowing can ruin a lawn and allow all sorts of weeds to establish.
Once your grass reaches 8-9cm long (which may be in as little as 3 weeks) it will need a cut. Check first though that the turf has rooted in firmly. Tug on the grass. If you feel the turf lifting, wait a week before you get the mower out. If the grass is firm, you can give it a LIGHT cut.
Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass length. ALWAYS ensure that your mower blades are clean and sharp and be sure to take away the clippings.
Feeding your new lawn
Applying a good quality lawn feed at regular intervals during spring and summer ensures your lawn will always look as good as possible.
Our Dorset soils will need a top-up of nutrients around 6 weeks after your turf has been laid. Always use a formula that suits the season. Between March and September – apply Spring-Summer lawn feeds and between September and February, use an Autumn-Winter formulation. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully. Too much feed can scorch your lawn. If you’ve chosen a granulated lawn feed, it will need to be watered in.
Asking for Help
Don’t forget, the Wimborne Turf team is on hand to answer any questions you may have about establishing your newly turfed lawn. It’s better to ask than to have things go wrong.
- Alex Mason