Winter turfing is usually quite successful. But it helps if you have the right turf to work with.
What is different about winter turf?
Winter turfing is challenged not just by the working conditions, the turf itself also behaves slightly differently in cold weather.
Top tip for winter turf laying – ALWAYS use laying boards to prevent soil compaction
A roll of turf is just a blanket of grass plants. It’s literally held together by its roots. Grass plants behave differently in winter to how they do in spring, summer or indeed autumn. During the warmer seasons, roots are actively growing and seeking out the water and nutrients the plant needs to flourish. In winter, the growth rate slows right down and the roots are slightly less vigorous. Meaning that they are not quite as strong as spring/summer roots.
Winter weather makes turf heavier
The other aspect of winter turf is, of course, the weather. Turf is grown out of doors. In fields. It’s exposed to the elements. All of them. Including rain. Rain is good. But when it falls on to turf fields, it tends to linger there. That’s a good thing in the summer. When the air is warm, a lot of valuable water evaporates into the air. Provided the plants get enough water to drink that’s OK. In winter there’s very little evaporation. Farm drainage takes some of the water away; The rest stays in the soil. And it’s heavy.
Heavy wet soil = heavy wet turf = slightly weaker turf. Laying turf in winter sometimes means that the rolls are harder to handle so it’s important to buy really strong turf in the first place.
Winter turfing and frosty weather
The wonderful thing about cooler weather is that turf lasts much longer in the roll. Sod heating is almost unheard of in January!
However, we don’t recommend trying to unroll frozen turf. Neither would we suggest you lay turf in frozen ground.
Instead, wait for a mild afternoon to lay your turf. It’s not always easy to time your turf deliveries by the weather forecast but our next day delivery service goes some way towards helping.
Remember too – that we cannot harvest turf in frosty weather.
For a grass lawn
For winter turfing, Turfonline recommends Jubilee grade turf. It’s been matured for longer and tends to be stronger. It costs a few extra pence per roll – because we’ve looked after it for longer- but in winter, it’s well worth the extra investment. It’ll save you time and you’ll get much better results.
For a wild flower lawn
As an alternative, you could try wild flower turf. Meadowmat wild flower turf is incredibly strong and it’s easy to maintain too. It’ll grow to hip-height and flower beautifully in the summer. Then you can cut it back in late summer and keep it trim through the winter. Unconventional maybe – but certainly worth thinking about.