Thursday, 25 January 2018 10:34:45 Europe/London

What to do with frozen turf

Winter 2017/18 has sent the Stewarts Turf team some challenges. Wind, rain, snow, frost, everything that winter could possibly throw at Scotland’s gardeners has been thrown at them. Some of our customers have prepared soil their soil for turfing only to find that the weather has changed suddenly and they are faced with rolled turf that has frozen to the pallet. Frozen turf needn’t be a problem. In this article, we’re looking at how you can care for frozen turf, on the ground or in the roll.

Lawn turf is frost hardy

The one thing you don’t need to do is worry. Lawn turf is rarely harmed by frost. Not even in the sub-zero temperatures that are sent to challenge Scottish gardeners every year.

lawn grass covered with winter frost

But – and there’s always a “but” – if you walk on any turf when it’s white with frost you WILL damage it. Walk on a frosty established lawn and you’ll see discoloured footprints well into the next spring. Walk on newly laid turf that’s frozen and you may do more permanent damage.

Storing frozen turf

So you prepared your soil, ordered your turf, received your delivery and then Jack Frost bit. Here you are with a pallet or more full of frozen rolls of turf. All looking like green and brown artic rolls. What can you do?

The answer is, to do nothing until it thaws. If you try to unroll and lay the turf when it’s in that state you’ll end up in a real muddle. If you try to thaw it out to lay it, that could shock the roots.

During the summer months it’s vital that you lay your new turf as soon as it’s delivered. That’s because of a phenomenon known as “sod heating”. Sod heating happens quickest in hot weather and it kills turf. In winter, turf quality does deteriorate while it’s rolled up. But only very slowly. You can safely leave turf rolled up for as much as 3-4 days.

If you are at all worried, Eleanor and Dave at Stewarts Turf are always happy to chat on the phone and give you advice on storing frozen turf.

Caring for newly laid turf in the frost and snow

Newly laid turf needs careful consideration in winter weather.

Be careful not to over-water it. Newly laid turf must be watered in, but probably won’t need daily irrigation. Make sure the soil is kept moist but not soggy.

DO NOT walk on newly laid turf without using laying boards to spread your weight. Until the plants have rooted deep into your soil you risk soil compaction and permanent damage by crushing the leaves with your size 9’s.

If it snows – leave well alone. Sorry, there’ll be no making snowmen until your lawn gets stronger.

More articles about lawns in winter

How to lay turf in winter 

The difference between seeding and turfing a lawn

Winter gardening jobs 


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