Storing turf when you're not quite ready to lay it
Turf that has been harvested and rolled is extremely perishable and should be laid as soon as possible. But what if there’s a delay between the turf being delivered and it being installed? How can you keep it in good condition for as long as possible?
1: Re-stack the turf into smaller piles
As soon as turf has been harvested and stacked on the pallet it starts to degenerate.
A good analogy to turf left on the pallet for too long would be a compost heap. It’s a large mass of plant material in a big pile. As it sits there heat begins to build up in the centre of the pile and the plants begin to rot. The bigger the heap, the hotter it gets and the faster the leaves and roots decompose. Conversely, the smaller the heap, the longer it takes to break down into compost.
Your turf will be delivered neatly stacked on a pallet. To extend its shelf life by a couple of hours - restack the turf into smaller piles with 10 rolls or less in each one
You don’t want your pallet of turf to turn into a compost heap, so you need to do something to stop the rot.
Ideally, you’ll lay it within 24 hours of it being harvested but if that’s not possible, the smaller the turf stack is, the longer it will take to go off. So, find some space – preferably in a shady spot – and re-stack your pallet of turf into small heaps of 10 rolls or less. Leave as much room as you can for air to circulate between stacks and be sure to lay the turf properly within a day of it being delivered.
2: Keep rolled turf out of the sun
Going back to the compost analogy, if you leave your pallet of turf in the sun to cook – it will cook – and quicker than you think.
Store rolled turf in a shady, but airy place. Don’t put it in the shed or garage – there’s not enough air circulating in there to keep the rolls fresh. Pop it in the lea of a building or on the shady side of the hedge but whatever you do DO NOT cover rolled turf.
Placing a sheet or a tarpaulin over your turf is like putting on an overcoat on a summers’ day and then going for a run- unhealthy and unwise.
3: DO NOT water rolled up turf
The first thing you do when you bring plants home from the garden centre is give them a good watering before you plant them out. When the plant has its roots in the soil and its’ head in the air that’s the right thing to do.
Turf is made up of lots of grass plants BUT while it’s rolled up, and until you lay it, those plants have their head in the soil and their roots in the air. Plus, they’re stacked in a pile that is already getting warm in the middle (like a compost heap). Adding water won’t cool the plants down, it will create a sauna in the centre of the pallet and that will kill the grass quicker than anything.
4: Unroll if possible
All of those grassy leaves need sunlight and good ventilation to survive. If you have room to unroll your turves – say on the drive – you will be doing the plants a big favour. You can roll them up again when you’re ready to carry them to where they need to be installed. This is by far the best way to increase the shelf-life of your turf….If you water them while they’re unrolled, they’ll last for a couple of days this way.
5: The best way to keep turf fresh
- Don’t order your turf until the ground has been prepared and you’re ready to lay it.
- Only buy from a supplier that you trust – if you’re not sure how long the turf has been sitting in their depot, don’t buy it.....
- Better still, have your turf delivered direct from the grower.
- Only order as much turf as you can lay in a day. Have it delivered in more than one go if you need to.
- Watch the weather forecast and arrange to have your turf delivered when you’ll feel happy to be working hard out of doors.
Stewarts Turf offers a next working day delivery service so that you can be as sure as possible that you are ready and able to lay your turf as soon as it arrives.