So you’ve carefully laid your turf and your new lawn looks awesome. What now?
The first two weeks
Your turf is very vulnerable to drying out right now. Before it was harvested, your turf was growing in a field where its roots had pushed around 90cm deep into the soil. The harvester came along and sliced off all but about 2.5cm of the root mass. Enormous trauma for the plant, but luckily, grass is tough and will soon grow more roots.
Until it those new roots grow, your turf will only be able to access water in the top few centimetres of the soil – it won’t be able to get down to the water table.
You MUST water your turf daily for at least a fortnight and make sure that the water has soaked through to the soil below. In really hot weather, water twice daily if you need to but keep that soil moist.
Don’t be fooled by rainfall either. A short shower probably isn’t enough to water your lawn. Double-check before you hang up your hosepipe for the day.
Just to confuse you – overwatering is bad too. We’re not looking to create a bog garden here! If, after watering, you can lift up a corner of the turf and see that the soil is wet but not sodden – you’ve done it right.
After about 7-10 days you’ll notice that the turf is beginning to root firmly into the soil. You can reduce the amount of water you put on now, but remain vigilant.
Your turf will be getting its roots down now and you can begin to wean it off its daily watering. Perhaps water every other day in week 3 and then just once or twice in week 4. Use your instincts, you’ll know what’s right.
When to mow your new lawn for the first time
Your new lawn will probably need its first cut about 3 weeks after you laid your turf. To test if it’s ready, tug on the grass. If the turf lifts up – wait and try again in a few days-time. If you end up with a handful of grass clippings, then it’s OK to bring out the mower.
Make sure your mower blades are as sharp as sharp can be. I can’t emphasise this enough. Blunt blades just tear at the grass and do untold damage.
Set the mower to its highest setting. Remember, your grass isn’t properly established yet and you need to give it the least possible amount of stress. Cutting off its leaves is like taking away its food supply. Not a good idea at this stage.
Never ever cut off more than one third of the leaf. Use the grass box to collect all of the clippings.
The next cut should be in about one week’s time. Again, be gentle and collect the clippings. After that you can gradually reduce the length of the grass and you can mow more frequently if you feel you need to.
When can I walk on my new lawn?
Your newly turfed lawn should be able to cope with light traffic after 3-4 weeks but it won’t want to host a wedding party or a football game until it’s been established for 6-8 weeks…..the longer you leave it, the stronger it will be.
When should I feed my new lawn?
If you used a pre-turfing fertiliser, your lawn won’t need feeding for a while yet…..leave it 6 weeks after laying before applying a feed and use a feed that’s appropriate to the time of year. March-August – use a Spring-Summer lawn feed. September – February – use an autumn-winter lawn feed.
If you notice a problem with your turf when you’re laying it – get in touch with the supplier immediately. Email them some photographs if you can. They’ll be able to reassure you that all is OK and advice you on what to do next.
Turf suppliers will not normally replace turves unless they’re notified of a problem within 24 hours of delivery.
If you notice anything odd about your lawn in the first few weeks, it’s probably just part of the settling down process. Unless your lawn is actually dying – don’t panic.
Get yourself a copy of David Hedges-Gower’s book for a comprehensive troubleshooting guide, or browse our blog posts for information about pests, diseases, toadstools and other common lawn problems.