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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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Hi, I had a new turf lawn laid 30th October and looks to be taking root well with regular watering. A few questions if someone could help please?
1. When is best to spread some fertiliser on this? Any recommendation of which one/type?
2. When is best to mow for the first time? i.e. now or should I wait until Spring?
Thanks for any help/advice!

Reply: Fertilise it now with an Autumn / Winter that has only fertiliser it it. Something like Scotts Lawn Builder A/W or at a push a slow release Spring & Summer but at a half dose rate. It will stop releasing if the weather gets colder. See for their NMAXX
Mow it now and remove no more than 25% of the vegetation. Continue to mow every 3-4 weeks if not frosty and ground conditions permit otherwise it will get leggy and thin out. Hope this helps you.

Shah Mohammad Polash

That is a very good tip that you should overlap each pass at about 3 inches so that it will look even.
I have an acre lot, and my house is a very small portion of that, so I have a lot of grass.
I think that I’ll find someone who could mow it for me and would overlap at 3 inches.


I’ve recently had a new turf laid, 2 weeks ago tomorrow. I’ve checked via the lift method and I can’t lift it apart from around the edges. When would you recommend the first mow and is it best to fertilise after? If so which fertiliser would you recommend?

Thanks in advance

Reply: Mow around 10 days after laying and be careful not to take off more than 25% off the growth. Then mow twice a week or at least once a week in multi directions each time.


Layed a strip of turf 7 days ago when can l clip it with shears to tidy the lawn up

Reply: Timing is about correct to do it now!


Hi, we had our lawn laid two weeks ago and we’ve been watering plenty - it seems nice and green and has grown a lot but is still a bit soft in places when we walk on it. I want to mow it but I’m worried the mower will leave big indents in the grass. What would you recommend?

Reply: Mow now and no more than 25% of the growth in one mowing session. Fertilise now too.

John Kibbler

Just had 30x4. Feet of turf laid ,intending to water it daily myself,in my 87th year and unexpectedly become unable to do it ,any suggestions? For example, can a sprinkler system be hired?.

Reply: We have had some useful rain now so should be okay. Repair any brown patches in the turf with new grass seed. Sounds like you need some help in the garden!


Laid turf two weeks ago showing signs of brown on a good bit of it, can you advise have bought miracle grow fast green will this be ok to use.

Reply: It has been so dry. Use a granular lawn fertiliser from now that we have had some rain. Miracle Grow Diluter blue product will be too aggressive with the new turf. Repair patches in turf with grass seed.

Richie Jan

Hi, When I installed a new turf, I lay it over the old turf which I realized later that was a big mistake. Then I clear the old one and install new turf in Brisbane with proper care, including spiking and fertilising. this gives the best results. Thanks for sharing.

Reply - Thanks for visiting us. Good luck. There is a lot of lawn care advice here on this lawn blog to assist you.

Stephen Linkson

Hi I had turf laid in September and per instructions it was not walked on and watered daily but lately it is looking very sorry for itself and looks like it has not established properly , I have been advised to lay grass seed to help it grow back can you advise which seed is best to use . Thanks Stephen

Reply - I would go for the LA3 Grass Seed Mixture in and blanket over seed it once you have given the lawn it's first cut of the spring time.

Lisa Shaw

Hi, we have had a newly laid lawn 10 days ago, when can we walk on it without using boards? Thank you

Reply: So long as the lawn is firm to walk on, should be okay. So don't walk on it right after watering it.


Hi, we had turf layed in October and now its February, the lawn is very moist. Will we wait until summer before considering aeration?


Reply - Hi Ailsa, aerate it as soon as this cold snap has gone. Fertilise it afterwards with a good slow release fertiliser from and again every three months. See Caring for a new lawn.

Andrew Clynch

We have recently had a lawn layed we water it but do we need to put anything else on it (it's only been 4days )

Reply - a good granular lawn fertiliser from will help it establish then feed it again every three months.


What Brand of ferterliser would you recommend for a new Lawn.

Thank you

Reply: Hello. Any of the product in The Lawn Shop



How deep should be top soil for the turf to root/establish properly? The drainage pipes in our garden are 'hidden' under concrete and I'm worried that unless I put loads of soil on top the turf will simply die. The problem is that the concrete bit is quite close to the patio and it is probably only about 10cm lower than the patio level.

Thank you

Reply: Around 100mm if possible with some attention to watering to keep turf over a concrete kerb line moist if dry.

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