What does pre-turfing fertiliser do?
When you are investing in a new lawn you need to be sure you’re getting good value for money. So is pre-turfing fertiliser really needed? or is it an unnecessary expense?
What is pre-turfing fertiliser?
Pre-turfing fertiliser is a blend of concentrated plant nutrients. It’s the plant equivalent of those complete meal thingies that you mix with water and give to poorly people to make sure their bodies get the food they need to heal.
In a good pre-turfing fertiliser, you should find Nitrogen for energy and cell growth, Phosphorus for strong roots, Potassium for disease resistance and a whole host of other minerals that are vital for robust growth and plant health.
The most important of these nutrients for new turf are Phosphorus and Potassium.
Why is it needed?
Turf is grown in fields where each individual grass plant is encouraged to grow a really strong root system. It takes over a year to produce turf and in that time the roots push down into the ground for as much as 1 metre.
A pallet of freshly harvested turf. Each roll of turf has only a thin layer of root - it's just a tiny proportion of the roots that the plants had when growing in the field. The grass needs replace lost roots ASAP if it is to establish in its new location.
When an order is received at Stewarts Turf, the harvesters go out into the field and slice off the grass with just the first 2-3cm of root. The rest of the root system stays behind on the farm.
That means that your turf has lost quite a lot of its life support system and needs to grow a new one – quickly!
The better the plants are nourished, the quicker they’ll recover from the stress of having their roots chopped off.
Pre-turfing fertiliser helps the grass to grow new roots quickly. It also helps the plants to avoid being affected by the sort of common lawn diseases that occur when grass is stressed. Because it is raked into the first few centimetres of the soil, it’s easily accessed by the short roots.
What does pre-turfing fertiliser cost?
Expect to pay in the region of £0.10 per square metre for a good pre-turfing fertiliser. Compared to the cost of the turf you’re buying, and when you consider the benefits it’s really not that much moneyl.
Do I really need it?
If you have sandy, well-drained soil then it’s quite likely that all the watering you’re about to do will wash existing nutrients away so yes, I would strongly advise using a pre-turfing fertiliser.
If you are replacing an existing lawn, the chances were it wasn’t particularly well fed or cared for (otherwise you wouldn’t need to replace it!). In that case, the soil nutrients are probably pretty depleted. An application of pre-turfing fertiliser is essential.
If you are turfing a new-build property. The soil quality might not be ideal for gardening. My parents have just moved into a bungalow where the garden was a blank canvas, but the soil was so sandy and stony it might as well have been a beach. We did two things to improve it before turfing.
- We took away some of the topsoil and replaced it with good stuff
- We raked in some pre-turfing fertiliser before laying the turf.
The lawn looks lovely!
Where can I get pre-turfing fertiliser?
You should be able to find pre-turfing fertiliser in your local garden centre or DIY store. Be sure to pick a brand that you trust. Unless you have a laboratory, you won’t be able to tell whether or not it contains all the nutrients claimed on the packet. So buy from a Company you’re sure of.
Personally I prefer granular fertilisers. They’re easier to get an even application. Powders blow about in the slightest of breezes and with soluble ones you need to be very careful to get the right amount of water in the right place.
You can also order online and have the pre-turf fertiliser delivered with your turf.
At Stewarts Turf, we thoroughly recommend Root Booster. It was developed for use on golf courses (where they’re VERY fussy about their lawns). Our staff use it, our customers like it and in the 10 years we’ve been offering it to customers we’ve never had a complaint.
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