How to lay turf in hot weather. Whilst laying turf in the summer months isn’t impossible, it does require planning and speed. From the immediate unrolling of the turf to frequent watering and feeding, laying turf in the months of June, July and August means that you have to be on the ball.
At Turfonline, we have laid so much turf that we know all of its capabilities and intricacies. We are often asked when the best time to lay turf is, and the answer is that new garden turf can be laid at any time of year. However, in hot weather, take extra care.
When it’s hot outside, all living things need to take care of themselves, and that goes for humans, pets and plants too. Whilst most well-established plants like trees or older lawns have developed coping mechanisms for heat, newly-planted bedding plants, turf or wildflower mats need extra nurturing. Here’s how to get the best results when laying turf in hot weather.
How to Lay Turf on a Hot Day
If the weather is going to be warm, there are a few extra precautions you need to take if you want your lawn to be successful. Prepare wisely, getting help and working quickly will be key to successfully getting your turf down even on a hot day in summer.
Prepare in Advance
Even though the British climate is unpredictable, we usually know that June, July, August and sometimes September bring spells of hot weather. Before you even order your turf, make sure that the soil is all prepared and that you have all the tools and watering equipment you need.
Only order as much turf as you can lay in 8 hours. It’s better to have 2 or 3 deliveries of fresh turf over several days than it is to have lots of turf deteriorating on pallets.
Recruit Plenty of Helpers
When your turf arrives you will need to work fast to lay it immediately. This is one of those instances when many hands make light work. Aim to have at least 3 people on site ready to receive the delivery. The bigger the lawn you’re laying, the more people you should have to help.
Look After Yourself
You won’t be able to lay any turf if you are suffering heat stroke. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. Wear a hat. Have enough to eat and most importantly, keep yourself and your helpers well-hydrated.
Lay Your Turf Straight Away
Delays in unrolling and installing your turf could result in sod heating. Its quite common when laying turf in the summer months. At best, sod heating can create a temporarily ugly lawn and at worst, it will kill your new grass.
Don’t risk it. As soon as the lorry arrives, start unstacking the pallet and make small piles of turf on the prepared soil.
The turfs that have been in the middle of the pallet will be the quickest to deteriorate, so you should lay them first.
Don’t Hold Back with Watering
Finally, water each section of new turf as soon as it has been laid. If you need watering equipment like a water hose fitting or sprinkler, the Turfonline store offers a range of garden watering tools.
Do’s and Don’ts for Laying Turf in Hot Weather
First and foremost, never water rolled-up turf, as the inside of the roll will get hot and steamy like a sauna and the plants will die.
Likewise, never cover rolled turf with a sheet or a tarpaulin. Good ventilation is essential if you want to avoid sod heating.
Finally, when watering your turf for the first time, make sure the water soaks right through the turf and into the top 15cm of soil. Water again before you go to bed. If the turf and the soil beneath it are dry when you wake up in the morning – get the hose out and soak them again. The turf cannot be allowed to dry out.
How to Deal with Sod Heating on Turf
Spotting when sod heating is occurring shouldn’t be an issue. Once turf starts to warm up, it will get very hot very quickly. Whatever you do, don’t leave the turf on the pallet hoping it will cool down.
If it feels hot to the touch, put a pair of gloves on, break the pallet down into smaller stacks. Call your lawn turf supplier immediately. If it’s out of office hours, you may end up leaving a message but at least your concerns will be recorded.
Please bear in mind that should your turf not establish well, it is up to you to prove to your supplier that you did lay it as soon as it has arrived. Take pictures with the date and time on them and email them immediately. You should find the email address to send it to on your delivery paperwork.
If, after laying your turf, it looks yellow, it is more than likely OK. It’s still a good idea to take pictures and email them to your turf supplier. Keep watering it at least once a day, never let it dry out and it should recover.
When laying your turf, if it feels warm, smells horrible (it should smell fresh – like damp soil), is very discoloured or just seems “wrong”, contact your supplier immediately. Ask for their advice. At the very least, unroll each piece and expose the plant layer to light. Then, water it and see what happens. You can always lay it properly, but just don’t leave it rolled up or the situation will worsen quickly.