Is September a Good Month for Turf Laying?
At Stewarts Turf, we’re often asked “When is the best time to lay turf?”
The answer is that turf can be laid all year round provided that the weather allows.
For example, if the ground is frozen, we can’t harvest the turf so of course, you can’t lay it. In midsummer, if you want to lay turf you must be 110% sure you can keep it well watered. (Which to be fair, is rarely a problem in Scotland)
The very best time of year to laying new turf though is autumn. Here are 10 reasons why you should be laying turf in September.
10 Good Reasons to Lay Turf in September
- The soil is still warm from summer so roots are encouraged to grow
- The temperature is mild. Not so hot that all of the water evaporates. Not so cold that plants start to become dormant.
- You are less likely to want to use your lawn for sunbathing, parties and play so the turf won’t have to cope with wear and tear before it gets properly established.
- Mother Nature will most likely help you with the watering.
- The soil is nice and moist without being waterlogged. So easy to prepare your garden for turfing and to get the right growing conditions for the grass plants.
- Autumn weather is comfortable for you to work in. You should still apply sunscreen and keep well hydrated but you won’t be working in ridiculously hot weather.
- Now that the temperature has dropped slightly, turf shelf life is a little bit longer. You still need to lay your turf on the same day as it is delivered. But you don’t have to rush to get it all down before it starts to cook on the pallet.
- Grass naturally concentrates its efforts on growing roots during the cooler months of the year. Which is exactly what you want your turf to do. By laying turf in autumn, you’ll be working with nature, not against her.
- Grass blades are growing slower. You may not need to mow your new lawn for several weeks. Saves you time and reduces stress on the newly planted grass.
- When everyone else’s lawn is looking tired at the end of the season, yours will look amazing. A good way to make the neighbours jealous.
What to Remember When Laying Turf in September
Turf is still vulnerable to drying out, especially on windy days. Make sure new turf is watered well and kept moist at all times. Even if it’s not nice to be outdoors yourself.
Try not to walk directly on the grass for the first few weeks. Use laying boards to spread your weight and avoid bruising the grass.
Be vigilant about autumn leaves. Grass needs to harvest energy from sunlight in order to grow strong roots. If the sunlight is blocked by a layer of fallen leaves, it will be a real challenge for your new turf to establish itself. Rake them off as frequently as you can.
It’s not unusual to see toadstools appearing in autumn laid lawns. Don’t panic if they do grow. Read our blog to find out what to do.
Don’t allow the sward to get too long – but don’t scalp it either. Make your first cut when the grass is around 7.5cm long (3 inches). Using really sharp mower blades, reduce the length to 5cm – no lower. It’s vital that the mower blades are really sharp and spotlessly clean. You don’t want to be introducing any disease spores at this stage of your lawn’s development.
After 6 weeks apply a really good autumn-winter feed to keep the grass healthy through the winter months.
Never walk on frozen grass. Never mind whether it’s a new lawn or one that’s been there for decades. If you walk across the lawn on a frosty morning you will see little black footprints on it well into the spring and summer months.
How to lay turf
This video from our Sister-Company shows you the way to prepare the soil for turfing and how to lay turf.
Any questions? Our team are more than happy to answer them for you. Just ring Eleanor or Dave in our Edinburgh office between 7am and 4pm on weekdays.