Laying turf is one of the few gardening jobs that can be done at any time of year. However, you do need to adapt your technique a little for the season. In this blog, we’re looking at laying turf in October.
- Turf can be laid at any time of year, provided the ground is not frozen
- In October, take special care to avoid compacting the soil
- Pre-turfing fertiliser is important at this time of year
- Don’t let turf dry out but be wary of overwatering
Things to Consider When Laying Turf in October
Turf is perishable!
Natural turf is possibly one of the most perishable products there is. In warm weather, you literally have a matter of hours to lay it before the quality starts to deteriorate. The good news is that in October’s mild weather, the shelf life of turf extends to around 24 hours after harvesting.
October turf should preferably be laid on the same day as delivery but definitely within 24 hours of it being dropped off.
Laying turf on to wet soil
For turf to establish well, the soil needs to have a nice fine consistency (like the topping of an apple crumble). It should also be firmed down so that it won’t settle over the wintertime. However, there is a big difference between a firm and solid. A solid pan of soil won’t encourage strong root growth.
The ideal consistency of prepared turfing soil is 50% solids, 25% water and 25% air. When soil is pressed down hard, the air and water are expelled.
If your garden soil is very wet, we recommend mixing it with some good quality topsoil in order to improve the consistency and make it easier to work with.
When you come to lay your turf, use laying boards – they will protect against soil compaction (and help to keep your boots cleaner!)
Roots need feeding in order to grow strong
The roots of newly laid turf need to grow extra quickly and for that, they need minerals from the soil and energy from the sun. In autumn time, the sun’s rays are not so strong and plant nutrients are not as readily available in the soil as they are in spring and summer. (Mainly because they have been used up during the growing season.) Help your grass plants to root into the soil by applying pre-turfing fertiliser to top up those nutrient levels. It’s not expensive and will make a big difference to the way your lawn looks next spring.
Newly laid turf should never be allowed to dry out – not at any time of year.
The first thing to do when you have finished laying your new lawn gives it a good soaking. Make sure that the water runs through the turf and into the soil beneath. Then let it be for at least 24 hours.
Unless we experience an Indian summer, milder temperatures and fewer breezy days mean that water doesn’t evaporate from the surface of the ground quite so quickly. If you keep pouring on the water there is a risk that you could over-saturate the soil and make it unattractive to the plant roots.
Check the soil beneath your turf every morning (or evening) to make sure that it’s nicely damp but not saturated. Rainy October days will help keep your lawn watered but don’t rely on Mother Nature to supply the right amount of water. A light shower may not be enough to hydrate your grass.
It is not unusual for toadstools to appear in autumn-laid turf. This is a perfectly natural phenomenon and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with your lawn.