Why are there gaps in my turf?
There are three possible reasons for a new lawn having gaps between individual turves.
Turves weren’t laid as close together as they ought to have been. Poor contact with the soil below so the roots can’t access water.
But the most common cause is lack of water.
Healthy grass plants are around 80% water. That’s not just the leaves, that’s the roots too. Under normal circumstances, the plants will lose a certain amount of water through their leaves in a process called transpiration. This water will be replaced by the roots reaching deep down underground and pulling up water from the soil.
New turves must be laid tightly against each other so you can’t see any gaps between them
New turf can’t easily balance its water content
So, new turf is slightly different. Yes, the plants still lose water through their leaves. But the roots haven’t yet grown deep into the soil so they can only reach water that is near the surface.
Also, a grass plant normally has roots up to a metre long – in new turf, some of the root was cut off during harvesting so there is considerably less root to support the same amount of leaf.
When a plant loses water and can’t replace it, the whole thing will shrink.
A bit like me on a diet. I lose weight in the first week but it’s only ever water, not what I want to be losing.
Sorry, I’ve digressed.
So, newly laid turf is losing water through the leaves and if it doesn’t replace it through the roots, the whole plant, including the root mass, will shrink.
Most of the “soil” layer of a piece of turf is actually roots. So when the roots shrink the soil layer shrinks too leaving gaps around each turf.
Unless it’s been raining very heavily, the gardener needs to add extra water to make sure the roots can do their job and there is no shrinkage.
Why are there gaps – How to repair gaps in new turf
Water it like crazy! Morning and evening if you can. Those plants are under extreme stress and need to be nurtured if they are to survive.
You should start to see an improvement within a week.
If, after a week, you can still see large gaps, you can brush topdressing soil into them and sprinkle a little bit of grass seed on top. It’ll soon germinate and you won’t be able to tell there was ever a problem.