Are you considering revitalising your garden with new turf? If so, one of the first and most important questions is when is the best time to re-turf your garden?
You may think that turf has to be laid down in certain conditions, but the truth is that in the UK, turf can be laid throughout the year. New lawn turf can even be laid during the winter, and in fact, laying turf in winter has its own advantages.
When is the Best Time to Lay Turf?
In the UK, laying turf in winter will still give it enough time to root and settle before spring. One of the benefits is that normally, you won’t need to water newly-laid turf in winter because of increased chance of rainfall, so it’s easier to maintain. The turf rolls will keep longer in damp, cold conditions but they still need to be laid on the day they arrive.
Please note: Turf growers cannot always harvest their product in winter. If the ground is frozen or sodden, the turf could be difficult to handle. Always check with your turf supplier before you start work just to make sure that the conditions are right.
It’s simply not possible to harvest a field of turf when it’s frozen like this. However on mild winter days we can get a lot done. Talk to your turf supplier if you are thinking of laying turf in midwinter and let the weather forecast guide the timing for your project.
Is Turf Damaged by Frost?
Surprisingly, even frost does no damage to the turf. Although it’s not possible to lay turf if the ground’s frozen, once it has been laid, a sudden frost won’t have a detrimental effect.
When laying turf in Scotland turf suppliers will likely postpone your order, as long as it hasn’t been harvested or dispatched, until the weather’s more suitable. Scotland can be prone to cold spells and frost. This ensures that you have the best time to lay grass turf in UK winter conditions.
How to Lay Turf in the Winter
While the best time to lay grass turf is around mid-autumn, the right conditions in winter can allow you to lay your turf. Once the right conditions are there consider if there are any changes to the process of laying turf in the wintertime. In reality, the process is the same. Let’s take you through the steps to laying your new turf. First, you must measure your lawn area.
How to Measure the Lawn Area
First, work out the lawn area in square metres. It’s easier to draw a sketch first to calculate accurate measurements, showing the length and width of the area to be turfed and any unusual features. It’s preferable to add at least 5% extra turf, as it’s better to have too much than too little. Here at TurfOnline, all of our turf is harvested in square metre rolls, which are measured electronically and cut by a harvester.
Preparing the Ground for Turf
Making sure the ground isn’t saturated, dig the area over using a fork. Alternatively, mechanically rotovate it, remove any large stones, bricks or tree roots. Ideally, leave the ground for a week to settle before laying the turf.
Before starting to turf, hoe out any weeds and then rake the soil until it’s level. If you’re using turf compost or screened topsoil, rake this out until it’s level.
Walk up and down the area before turfing, known as ‘treading in’, to firm the surface. If the soil is wet, keep off it until it dries out a little. Rake it in different directions to achieve a flat finish.
If required, apply an organic or pre-turfing fertiliser like our Rapid Roots pre-turfing fertiliser at this stage by raking it lightly into the surface.
How to Lay Turf
Lay the rolls a little beyond the final shape, as the turf can be trimmed back after completion. After the first row is laid, use boards or planks to work from as footprints in the soil underneath can cause an uneven finish.
It’s important to lay each turf roll as straight as possible, ensuring the inner end is rolled out flat and does not curl up. Then, check that all the turf ends are butted together firmly. The joins must be staggered brickwork-style, ensuring no gaps appear between the turf.
Never walk on newly-laid turf. Ideally, give it a few weeks to bed in.