Planting New Turf

Measuring Up: To measure your garden for turf requirements divide the area into squares, rectangles or triangles. Work out the area of each and then add up for total i.e. 6M x 3M = 18M2. For triangles work out for square and then halve.

Soil: Like most jobs, preparation is the all important thing. If you do not have soil to grow turf in you will always be battling and will never have great turf. If you have clay soils apply Gypsum to the whole yard area, including garden beds. A minimum of 50mm of sandy loam is required, or if you have compacted existing soil, rotary hoe to approx. 100mm. Sandy soils will only need organic material added to them. Check that you do not have ponding. (3-5% slope is ideal).

If you have to bring soil in, generally the best soil is a mixture of dune sand and crusher dust at 1:1, although pure sand is also okay but turf must be laid on it quite quickly otherwise it will blow away. Decomposed granite is another alternative. All these soils have very little nutrient value but are clean of weed seeds. It is very important that organic fertiliser is used regularly.

Planting:  Spread organic fertiliser at recommended rates.
Grassmaster and Eco 88 1kg/10M2
Dynamic Lifter Fines 2kg/10M2
Lay turf across the slope in brick pattern with staggered joints. Generally start on straight edges of house pad and work out.

Watering: Once turf is laid it is important it is watered as quickly as possible. While you are laying turf have a sprinkler coming behind you giving it a good soaking. Thereafter turf requires light watering regularly (in summer 3-4 times/day for approx. 10 to 14 days) or until it gets its roots into the soil. Once you have resistance from roots to lifting turf, watering can be backed off gradually. This nursing in period for turf can take a month. Eventually the aim is to water your lawn once every 10 days to 2 weeks with a good soaking. The watering frequency will depend on your soil type. The only reason turf will die in the initial 10 days is lack of water. If you let turf get a set back this may allow weed penetration. If you are planting turf with a restricted water supply, a thin layer of sand over the laid sod will help hold moisture.

Mowing: This should not be attempted until the turf is at least 10 days old. First mowing should be higher than your required height. Bring mower down to your required height one week later. Do not leave initial mowing for more than 20 days. The first rule of mowing is not to mow off more than 1/3rd green leaf area in one mowing.

Grubs: For the first summer of new turf be very aware of Lawn Army Worms. For more information go to Weeds, Grubs & Diseases.