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How to establish your new lawn turf quickly

Turf LayingYou need to make sure that you treat your new lawn like a newly born baby - look after it! Feed it, water it, caress it, talk to it if you have to, but most of all do not neglect it. The first two to three weeks are the "critical phase" in the establishment of a new lawn from turf. All too often, lawn owners have a new lawn laid then fail to look after it and then blame the company who supplied or laid the turf when problems develop after a few weeks later. Follow these simple rules to ensure that your newly laid lawn gets a head start.

Rule No 1 - Access

Do not be tempted to walk on the turf without placing boards or planks on the surface beforehand, otherwise you will be creating foot depressions in the lawn. Once you have finished accessing the lawn; remove the boards. Work from the boards at all times. You will need two lines of boards or planks, one to lay the turf off, the other to gain access to the board or plank that is closest to the turfing line. All foot traffic should be via boards and boards only and this included wheel barrows! Start turfing around the edges with one full turf and then start turfing the furthest away from the turf stack and work towards it.

Keep pets off the new lawn and ensure that they perform their daily ritual on another part of the garden.

Rule No 2 - Moisture

Whilst the lawn was growing on our turf farms, its' roots were deep into the soil (as much as 3 feet deep) and could easily find sufficient moisture. To enable the grass plants to survive and to grow a new root system, it is essential to keep the soil on the back of the turf and the soil below it sufficiently moist for the whole period of establishment (up to 4 weeks).

To enable you to apply sufficient water to your lawn the appropriate equipment will be needed. Anything less than a hosepipe is inadequate for the water volumes required and an oscillating sprinkler attached to the end would make the job easier and would apply the water more evenly. Do not drench it otherwise it will rot and do not leave the sprinkler in the same spot for more than 15 minutes. Little and often and push a knife into the ground or try and lift a turf to see if the water has soaked through underneath. Ensure the edges get watered too. If it rains, some of the lawn in particular the edges under shrub overhang may not get watered so water these by hand.

Rule No 3 - Mowing Heights

The old adage - a little and often - can be applied to grass mowing. The more you mow the more individual grass leaves will grow and therefore your lawn will have a denser sward and conversely, the more infrequently you mow the thinner the sward and the more mossy, disease ridden and weedy it will become. You do not want to take off more that 25% of the grass growth in any one mowing session. Change the direction of the mower each time you mow. Your lawn will grow quite quickly and it will need mowing about a week from laying. Check to see if the roots have got away into the soil beneath by gently trying to pull a turf upwards.

Rule No 4 - Fertilise your new lawn

Within 4 weeks following laying the new lawn and then every two to three months thereafter. Every time you mow, you remove some of the nutrients so make sure that you give your new lawn a fighting chance by feeding it with a fertiliser only (no weed or moss killer) lawn product.

Rule No 5 - Keep an eye out for lawn disease

Despite the best will in the world, welcome to real grass and real grass problems. Your old lawn may have suffered from all sorts of lawn problems and ailments but the symptons probably went unnoticed. If you notice any white/grey white mycelium like cotton wool on the new lawn, especially when the weather is warm and moist and muggy then you may have an attack of Fusarium Disease. If you notice pink mycelium on the lawn's surface then you might have an attack of Red Thread Disease.

Should you have a requirement for lawn turf or top soil you can order it from The Lawn Shop.

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Chris

Hi, I have had turf laid 8 months ago and it is looking very thin and dry although the ground is moist. Also, the ground is very lumpy.

I am a bit concerned my turf is dying. I have sprinkled some granular feeder on top a week ago although there are no signs of improvements. Any suggestions?

Also, to overseed, do you just throw the seeds on top of the turf and water daily?

Reply - it could be insect larvae damage, eating the turf roots. Chafer Beetle or Leatherjackets. Take a look under the turf. Send some images, a close up and an overview. sales@lawn.co.uk

Val muir

I have just had turf laid...watering daily half hour each section. Not using planks for moving sprinkler. Can I cut down on watering after two weeks as I will.be away for a week. can I hold off mowing until mid April?

Reply - Yes, that will be fine. Natural rain is far better than watering.

Legoman

I laid a new lawn 7 days ago, is it ok to walk on it to mow it?

Reply - Yes but go careful and do not take off more than 15% of the growth off.

mr sewell

Hi I had a lawn laid by a garden company no names but not sure how good it was done as not a Gardener but ground was very dry was told that grass will take on any surface and it was sandy ground a Rotavator was used been told to water it twice a day but i am very worried what's the best thing to do as its laid now will it take ok and when should i use a feed on it its about 4 days old now .

Reply - Feed within the first month with a good lawn fertiliser, like one of www.thelawnshop.co.uk granular products.

hairyfingers

Hi

Have had turf laid in an area 7m x 25m. Close to 200 mtr squared.

Its very hot at the moment 25 - 30 degrees c. And looks set to continue.

I have had the sprinkler on for 12 hours a day moving it around every hour. So each area of the garden gets three 1 hour water sessions.

Is that enough or too much water? Its sodden after the hour but dry by the time it comes round again.

Its been down for 3 days should I put any fertilser on. What type?

Thanks

hairyfingers

Hi

Have had turf laid in an area 7m x 25m. Close to 200 mtr squared.

Its very hot at the moment 25 - 30 degrees c. And looks set to continue.

I have had the sprinkler on for 12 hours a day moving it around every hour. So each area of the garden gets three 1 hour water sessions.

Is that enough or too much water? Its sodden after the hour but dry by the time it comes round again.

Its been down for 3 days should I put any fertiliser on. What type?

Thanks

Reply - take a look at the two articles on watering your lawn written in the last week on the blog. You must keep turf watered but soon we are going into a water deficit. Do your best with it and fertilise with a slow release lawn fertiliser once it is all green from www.thelawnshop.co.uk

Ben Humphrey

I laid my new lawn at the weekend and it has been non stop heat and sun on it since, I have been watering it in the evening a couple of times once the sun has gone in and again when in the morning before the sun comes up, is this the correct thing to do? I have not watered in the day when the sun is it on it as i didnt want it to burn. My problem is the squares are starting to srink and it is getting a bit brown and dead looking in places.
Is there anything i can do to keep the lawn healthly or any thing i can buy to help it sow?
Thanks

Reply - sent you a direct email. See the latest article on The heat is on Turfing which features your question and our response. Let's hope others benefit from your question and our response.

Paul

Hi!
Laid turf last weds. Followed all the right steps but we have had a heatwave ever since I laid and worried I haven't been able to get enought water on it. It's laid on my allotment and I am not allowed to use a hose so relying on using watering cans and it already looks dry and has shrunk. It is difficult to get enough water on it to soak right through
Should I just admit that I should lay agin in autumn or is there anything I can do? Have been watering twice a day.
Thanks

Reply - keep watering and plan to over seed some damaged areas and top dress them and all should be good. Once the turves shrink, they are hard to wet again so little and often watering in the shade will be a good practice.

Reply - Keep watering little and often. Do not let the turves dry out.

Vicky

We are about to lay some new turf and the base is fairly dry. Should we water it before laying?
You mention that you should stay off it (unless using planks) for 2-3 weeks but then also mention you should mow it 1 week after it is laid which would be impossible with planks!?!
Thanks

Reply - Yes, to a depth. Water little and often and make underside of turf is wet too. Mow on a high mower setting around 7 days from laying. Remove planks once laid too.

Glynn

My new turf lawn has been down for just under 2 weeks. It is very springy. Do I need to roller the lawn?

Reply - No, not at all. Let it settle naturally. Mow after 7 days from laying it. Fertilise two weeks from laying and there after every three months.

Mike

My lawn is 3.5 weeks old now, I have just fertilized it using liquid fertilizer; How soon after this should I water it? And how frequently should I be watering a new turf of this age?

Thanks

Reply - Fertilising, that's good practice. Water it straight away so turves do not shrink.

Etienne

My new lawn is 7 days old. By accident I left the sprinkler on the same spot for 5 hours. What should i do now?

Reply - but a timer? It may rot sadly.

Jason

I have had my turf down for 5 days and it looks very patchy it hasn't had water on it for 24 hours due to the rain we had when should I water it.

Reply - as soon as you laid it. Don't forget to fertilise it too asap and every three months thereafter.

Melanie

I have just laid a new lawn in very cold conditions. It's about 6 degrees C and likely to freeze at night.
How much water should I give the lawn and what is the best time of day to do it?

Reply - do not water it when frosty otherwise it will curl up and be hard to settle down again flush.

Magentic Glass Boards

I laid my lawn yesterday using good quality turf, the ground was well prepared and I've watered the lawn well once down. The lawn is in a very shady position and has a large tree in the middle of it, are their any further tips for this situation that may help the grass establish.

Reply - Keep your lawn mown on at least four from lowest on a Hayter or Honda. It will be the drip, drip, drip of the water off the tree leaves that will help wear the grass out underneath. You may need to over seed it at some point when you notice it thinning. Keep it well fertilised too.

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