One of the most frequently asked questions we encounter is “can I leave turf overnight and lay it the next day?” This article will help to answer this issue and dispel the mystery of the shelf life of natural turf.
The short answer to the question is “no”. While it may make sense in theory to order your turf to arrive the day before it is really not wise to leave turf overnight . Don’t wait – lay it the day you receive it.
How Long Will Turf Last?
Ordering turf to arrive the day before you want to lay it is like ordering takeaway food to be delivered the day before you want to eat it. You definitely won’t get the results you want.
So, just as takeaway food starts to deteriorate within a very short time of leaving the kitchen, turf quality declines once it’s harvested.
What Is Turf?
Turf is a purpose-grown crop. It’s essentially an established lawn that has been grown from seed. When it’s mature, it can be lifted from one place and rolled up to be delivered to its new home.
Each roll of turf is a dense carpet of living grass plants. While they are growing, the plants push their roots deep into the soil to find the water and the nutrients they need. As well as water and food, grass plants need good ventilation and plenty of sunshine. Harvesting and rolling turf means that some of the root mass is lost. So the plant has no access to water, food or sunshine. It will grow back, however, if given enough of the right stuff!
How Is Turf Harvested?
When you place an order for turf, the TurfOnline team sets the wheels in motion for harvesting and transporting your new lawn. Ordering directly from the grower cuts out the middleman and means that there is the least possible time between harvesting and delivery.
Turf is harvested using a very sophisticated machine. Sharp blades move from side to side about 20mm beneath the surface of the ground to separate the grass from the soil. This removes a lot of roots but leaves enough so that the plant can regrow them. The blanket of grass travels up a conveyor and is automatically rolled into an easily manageable size and shape. The machine stacks turf rolls onto a pallet so that they can be loaded onto a lorry using a forklift.
From the minute those roots are cut and the sunshine hidden from the grass blades, the plants are stressed. So, by re-laying the turf as soon as possible, the stress is minimised and the recovery time is improved.
Avoid Sod Heating
The most important reason for laying your turf as soon as it arrives is sod heating. While your turf is rolled up, it’s not unlike a mini-compost heap. Left in the roll, it has the potential to generate enough heat to kill and rot the grass plants. Sod heating is far worse in warm weather but can happen at any time of year.
In the wintertime, you might get away with leaving your turf overnight and laying it the next day, but in spring, summer and autumn, you risk the quality of your future lawn.
Consumer law for perishable goods is different to the law around clothes, white goods, books etc. Unless the product is faulty when you receive it, you may find it difficult to receive a refund for turf that has deteriorated after spending too long on the pallet – so please don’t take any risks. Read the T’s and C’s before confirming your order. And arrange for your turf to arrive on the day you plan to lay it.
More information on laying turfs can be found here: