Is it OK to lay turf in summer?
Warm weather brings everybody out of doors and into the garden. But what if your lawn is looking a bit worse for wear? Is it OK to lay turf in summer? At Wimborne Turf, we’ve had over 30 years’ experience of growing and laying turf and we can promise you that it’s definitely OK to lay turf in summer. Provided you take a few simple precautions.
Be sure to lay your turf as soon as it is delivered
Turf is highly perishable and in warm weather it starts to lose condition from the moment it is harvested and rolled up. The longer turf is left rolled up, the more it deteriorates and the harder it is to encourage it to grow once it’s laid. This is due to a phenomenon known in the trade as sod heating.
Many hands make light work - it's important that turf is laid fast when the weather is warmer. If you are not confident in your turf laying ability, it's worth hiring an experienced professional to get the job done quicker.
Our top tips for avoiding sod heating
- Prepare the soil for turfing BEFORE your turf is delivered. That way you can start laying your turf the moment it arrives
- Buy turf from a local grower. It may seem more cost effective to buy online from a national grower but more often than not turf will have a long journey on a hot lorry before it is delivered to you. If turf is locally sourced it will arrive fresher and in better condition.
- Stack turf out of direct sunlight in the coolest place you can find. Please don’t cover it with sheeting or shut it in a shed though, it needs as much ventilation as possible.
- NEVER water turf while it’s still rolled up. Damp rolled turf seems to deteriorate quickest.
- Break big pallets of turf down into smaller stacks. This will slow up the sod heating process.
- Turf needs to be laid quickly in warm weather. If you are not 100% confident of your turf laying skills, ask about our turf supply and lay service – it’s probably cheaper than you think.
Caring for newly laid turf in warm weather
I cannot stress enough the importance of watering turf in warm weather. You will need to water your new turf every day for at least a fortnight. In very hot weather you may need to water twice a day. You must not let the soil dry out. If you do, the immature root system underneath your new lawn simply won’t be able to support the grass plants and they will die.
If possible irrigate in the evening time, once the heat has gone out of the sun. That way more of the water will soak into the soil before it can evaporate into the air.
Use a hosepipe or a sprinkler and really douse the whole area. 15-20 minutes after you’ve finished watering, lift the corner of one of the turves and check that the soil underneath is good and damp.
If Mother Nature has been kind enough to send some rain – you still need to check that it was enough to soak through the turves into the soil. If not, you’ll need to supplement the rainfall with a bit more water.
After 10-14 days, provided that the turves have started to root in, you can gradually reduce the amount and the frequency of watering. But stay vigilant – especially on very hot days. How will you know your turf has rooted in? If you can tug quite hard on the leaves and NOT feel the turf lifting – your grass plants are making good progress.
How soon can I start using my new lawn?
Provided you have been watering regularly and the turf is rooting in successfully, your new lawn should be able to cope with light usage around 3 weeks after laying. Be gentle to start with. Picnics and sunbathing will be OK – a full-on game of rugby will be too much for the plants at this stage.
Please remember not leave toys, rugs, tents or paddling pools for longer than 24 hours….they will suffocate the young plants. And when you mow, avoid scalping the lawn by aiming for a height of 3-5 cm.
It’s a joy to see a newly turfed lawn in summer – it looks and feels fabulous and there’s no reason why summer turfing can’t be successful, provided you avoid sod heating and keep the newly laid turves well-watered.
- Teresa Flower