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A lawn made from turf costs more than one from seed, but produces a near instant effect which can be used sooner.
Soil preparation is all-important to ensure the turf thrives once it is laid. Credit: RHS/Tim Sandall.
Laying a lawn from turf is a quick way to get an instant result. It is good for situations where you can't keep off a lawn for the two or three weeks you need with seed. So for people with children or pets, it is often a good option, as you can be back on the lawn within a couple of days of laying.
Although laying turf is a quick way to achieve lawn cover, soil preparation before laying turves is just as important as for sowing seed.
Turf is best laid in mid-autumn, but can be laid any time between mid-autumn and late winter whenever the soil is not too wet or frosty. In spring and autumn little mowing is needed so newly-laid turf can be left relatively undisturbed for several weeks.
Turf laid in spring often needs watering in dry spells over summer. Both dry soils and mowing before grass is fully rooted, stresses turf and delays rooting.
Turf-laying is best avoided from mid-spring until early autumn to avoid the need to repeated watering.
Good seed bed preparation is the key to establishing a successful lawn. Pay particular attention to clearing weeds and cultivating the surface to a fine tilth.
Complete all site preparation before buying, or taking delivery of turves. Bought turves may vary in both size and thickness. Check dimensions when planning the lawn.
If laying is delayed, then the turves should be laid out flat to avoid any discolouring and weakening, but where possible laying should be done within 24 hours of delivery.
Gardeners sometimes need to lift turf themselves using a spade or ‘turfing iron’ and then trim each turf to a regular size and depth. To do this, place the turf upside down in a prepared wooden box and slice off soil at the correct depth. The thinner the turf is (within reason) the better the rooting; a 2cm (¾in) turf roots better than a 7.5cm (3in) turf. Avoid turf that contains a lot of weed.
Where disturbed soil, such as old flower beds, are being turfed, the new turf should be laid slightly higher than the rest to prevent a hollow developing as the soil settles.
Laying turf to make a lawn is problem free as long as turf is kept watered until it has rooted into the underlying soil.
Lawns from seedLawns: autumn careLawns: spring and summer careLawns: mowingLawns: repairingLawns: rust diseaseRHS video: laying a lawn from seed or turfSports Turf Research Institute
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