Is Autumn The Best Time To Lay Turf?
Creating a new lawn from turf is an investment for the future and like all investments, you’ll be wanting it to perform the very best it can. Get the best from your investment by giving your new turf exactly the right conditions it needs to settle in and mature.
What does new turf need?
What will slow down turf establishment?
- Very cold weather
- Very hot weather
- Pests and diseases
- Heavy wear and tear before the roots have matured
As you can see from the lists above, autumn offers the very best conditions for establishing turf. The weather is neither too hot nor too cold. Plus, Mother Nature will help you to keep your turf well-watered by raining on it. Little wonder that the old-time gardeners always did their turfing in September and October.
In late autumn and winter, we naturally keep off the lawn. That gives the grass plants 6 stress-free months in which to get settled and grow really strong roots. You won’t see a lot of top growth but you will reap the benefits with a really robust lawn next year.
How to lay turf in autumn
The rules for laying turf are the same all year round. The secret to successful turfing is in the soil preparation. By removing ALL plant material and working the soil into a nice tilth you’ll help your turf to establish faster. In autumn time, the soil is at its most friable – that’s why the farmers do most of their ploughing before the bad weather sets in.
It’s still important that you lay your turf as soon as it is delivered but in autumn there’s less risk of it overheating than in summer so you can relax a little. Turf laying is also a lot more comfortable in mild autumn weather than in the scorching heat of high summer.
Watering your new turf is always important. Don’t rely on the weather to keep your turf irrigated but if you do get a good old Scottish downpour it’ll save you irrigating for a day at least.
Don’t forget to use pre-turfing fertiliser. It delivers all the right nutrients in all the right places. In autumn and winter, grass plants use lots of Phosphorus for root growth and plenty of Potassium for hardiness – these two are the key ingredients of pre-turfing fertiliser. It only costs about 10p per square metre so worth every penny I’d say.
Troubleshooting for autumn-laid turf
Toadstools – these are commonly found in newly laid lawns at this time of year. Don’t panic. They’ll disappear after you’ve mown your lawn a couple of times
Lawn diseases. In rare cases you may spot the signs of fusarium patch disease. The fungi that cause fusarium love mild, wet conditions and thrive in well-watered new turf. Fusarium is usually killed off by the first frost but if you’re at all worried ask your turf supplier for advice.
To learn more about laying turf – check out our other blogposts