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« Choosing Lawn Grass Seed | Main | Concreting over the Green Fields »

To Seed or Turf a New Lawn?

Inspect a LawnThe decision to renovate your lawn may have arrived because it is too far gone to renovate by trying to introduce some more grasses into the sward or it maybe because the complete garden has had a make over and the lawn is like the carpet of the room outside.

The process of renovating your lawn from a brown field site is the same up to the finished prepared soil surface whether you are seeding or turfing as careful seed bed or turf bed preparation is key should you wish to make life easy for yourself in the short and long term. 

So what are the advantages of using turf to create a lawn?

It is a quicker method of lawn installation, which saves you waiting for seed to grow 

Results are instant and visually pleasing to the eye

A larger weather window in which to create a lawn as the weather can be cooler

Immune to seeding troubles like Damping Off Disease

Little or no trouble with small stones

Can lay turf all year long so long as turf farms can cut the turf and soil is firm enough to lay on


What are the disadvantages of using turf to create a lawn?

Costs several times the cost of seeding

Less control over seed specification, may contain weed grasses like Annual Meadow Grass

Turf must be laid as soon as it arrives - it times expires as the rolls will 'rot' when left rolled up

Recommended time of year for turfing may be the wettest time of the year

More labour intensive to lay than seed and more time consuming

Can contain weeds, disease spores and lawn pests

Requires a higher level of professionalism and tools to lay

Can vary in thickness

Turf if allowed to dry out is difficult to get wet again

So what are the advantages of choosing to seed a lawn?

Cheaper option of lawn installation

Does not deteriorate - quality grass seed if kept dry and away from pests (Mice) will last for over a year

You can choose your day to prepare the lawn and seed it

You get a greater control and choice of grass seed content

Seed should be certified and free of turf inherent problems like weeds, disease spores and lawn pests

It is easy to repair a damaged area with the same seed or over seed struggling areas in shady areas

What are the disadvantages of deciding to seed a lawn?

Seed soil preparation must be thorough with minimal stone content

Weed plants removal is important prior to seeding via pulling or weed control

Seeding can only be performed during the normal growing season when soil is warmer

Young grass seedlings are at risk from all sorts of problems which may include birds, disease and bad weather where the seed will take longer to germinate or rot in wet areas

A period of two months to nine months may elapse before the seed is at six to eight leaf stages and therefore considered to be developed.  Most seeded lawns sown in the better & warmer months of the year will be ready to be mown in about four weeks and well established after 6 months or less

Small stones may be washed to the surface making mowing problematic for a while

Sowing seed accurately is a skilled operation and the best method is to cut the required quantity of seed in half and make two passes over the soil area at right angles

Having listed some of the considerations you should devote some grey matter to, I would personally always choose to seed a lawn if I had time for it's development.  It is important that the seed is 'certified' and a lot of the smaller retail packs of grass seed in DIY Warehouses and Garden Centres do not have to comply with the same labelling legislation that professional grade grass seeds must comply with where you will always find clear and concise information relating to the percentages of each individual species and cultivars of the grass seeds contained within the pack. 

If time was not on my side then I would purchase turf from a reputable Turf Supplier and ensure that I fertilised it after it's first mowing session and again very three months thereafter.

With new lawns, turf or seed, keep an eye out for Fusarium Turf which may develop really quickly, like overnight!


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