So you’ve carefully laid your lawn turf and it looks as good as your lawn as it has ever been. What now? How do you look after it in the oncoming weeks to make sure it stays looking gorgeous?
At TurfOnline, the UK’s most popular destination for turf maintenance advice, we have the answers. This article will take you week-by-week to ensure you have the best turf in your neighbourhood. We’ll teach you how to spot any potential problems that could arise, and when and what to feed your new lawn to maximise its health and longevity, even if you’ve added long-lasting slow-release lawn fertiliser.
The First Two Weeks
During the first couple of weeks, your lawn turf is vulnerable. Before it was harvested, your turf was growing in a field where its roots had pushed around 90cm deep into the soil, and now the harvester came along and sliced off all but about 2.5cm of the root mass. This is enormous trauma for the plant, but luckily, grass is tough and will soon grow more roots. Until those new roots grow, your turf will only be able to access water in the top few centimetres of the soil, and won’t be able to get down to the water table.
So please 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 that’s what it takes to keep that soil moist.
Don’t be fooled by rainfall either, as a short shower probably isn’t enough to water your lawn. Double-check before you hang up your hosepipe for the day. Overwatering is a concern, 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.
Looking After Your New Turf In Weeks 2-4
In weeks 2-4, your turf will be getting its roots down 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.
Products that can help..
When to Mow Your New Lawn For the First Time
Your new lawn will probably need its first cut about 3 weeks after the turf has been laid. To test if it’s ready, tug on the grass to see if the turf lifts up. If it does lift up, wait and try again in a few day’s time. If you end up with a handful of grass clippings, then it’s the right time to bring out the mower.
Make sure your mower blades are as sharp as can be, and that the mower is set to its highest setting. Blunt blades just tear at the grass and do untold damage, and you need to give it the least possible amount of stress. Cutting off its leaves is like taking away its food supply. Never cut off more than one-third of the leaf, and 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 lawn fertiliser, which slowly releases organic lawn feed over time, your lawn won’t need feeding for a while yet. Leave it 6 weeks after laying before applying a feed, and be sure to use a feed that’s appropriate to the time of year. For example, the months in between March and August is best for a Spring-Summer lawn feed, while the September-February will need an autumn/winter lawn feed such as TurfOnline’s Rejuvenator Autumn/Winter lawn feed.
If you notice a problem with your turf when you’re laying it, get in touch with the supplier immediately, perhaps with some photographs of the lawn to email. They’ll be able to give you advice on what to do next, and reassure you that all is well in your garden. Be aware that turf suppliers will not normally replace turfs unless they’re notified of a problem.
Get yourself a copy of David Hedges-Gower’s book for a comprehensive troubleshooting guide, or browse our other blog posts for information about pests, diseases, toadstools and other common lawn problems.