1. Preparing your yard for new turf
Before your lawn is delivered, you need to make sure your yard is absolutely ready. The turf will need to be installed on the same day as delivery to avoid pallet burn and rot, the sooner the better. Below is a simple checklist to follow to make sure you are ready to go on delivery day!
If you haven’t done this already, you’ll need to make sure you have completed any other gardening, such as retaining walls, edges or paths.
Remove any existing turf and spray with weed killer at least 14 days before your new turf arrives. Also be sure to remove any dead grass, and weeds, along with any rocks, stick or solid materials in the soil.
Analyse your soil and conduct a pH level test to ensure the solubility of the minerals and nutrient that are essential for the growth, health and longevity of your lawn. Your lawns pH level is easy to do. All you need is a pH testing kit, which you can find at any hardware store or plant nursery. The ideal pH range for your lawn is somewhere between 6 – 7.5. So, once you have purchased a pH test, use the following steps to check your lawns pH levels.
- Get a few samples from around the yard and mix together for an accurate reading.
- Add some pH dye from the soil testing kit (the kit will give you the exact quantity required).
- Mix the soil and dye into a paste, then dust with the white testing powder provided.
- Wait for your results. Your sample will turn a colour, which you can then match with the colour chart received with the testing kit to give you the pH level of your lawn.
If your soil needs any added nutrients, now is the time to address this and rectify any problems. There are several materials and products that can help to improve, and keep, your soil (and your lawn) in prime condition. By understanding what your soil needs and addressing any concerns or improvement works during your pre-installation preparation, your turf will have the best growth environment possible. Certain products which can help, depending on the condition of your soil, are:
- Fertiliser – A soil-conditioning fertiliser provides essential nutrients and promote healthy and strong root system growth for your lawn. The GoTurf Pro Liquid Fertiliser has unique microbial nutrients that will give your lawn the best possible start. You can find it here.
- Lime – Helps raise the pH level and neutralise any acidity in the soil.
- Wetting agents – These attract water to soil and lawn to help it to be absorbed, rather than run off and/or evaporate before effectively soaking the soil.
- Water storage crystals – Absorb and store water, keeping it available to the root system.
- Gypsum – Also known as Calcium sulphate, Gypsum helps to break down clay type soils.
Make sure your soil has adequate draining and levelling.
2. Laying your new turf
Now you’re ready for the fun* part, laying your new lawn! For best results your new turf should be installed as soon as it is delivered. If you have any questions or issues at all throughout this whole process, just give the team at Go Turf a call and we will be happy to help. *may not actually be fun.
If you are laying your turf on a slope, start at the bottom. Also start laying the turf away from your stack of turf if possible to avoid walking constantly over the newly laid turf. Lay your lawn in a brick pattern, starting either at the yard edge, the driveway or using a string line to ensure its straight. You want to stagger the slabs so that the ends don’t line up. This prevents the soil and turf from dying out as well as soil erosion caused by heavy rain. Be sure not to leave any gaps between the turf slabs, make sure they are nice and close together; any gaps can become a problem when you start mowing your lawn. If you need to cut turf to a shape or for the edges, just use a sharp shovel or a serrated knife.
TIP: Keep any scrap edges and squares to fill in any unexpected gaps once you’re finished laying the turf, any exposed turf can be susceptible to drying out.
Once you have the turf down, roll it out with a lawn roller to ensure the roots are against the soil and to make sure you have a nice flat and even surface once your lawn has grown in. If you don’t have a lawn roller, you can stamp the turf down with the flat of a rake instead.
Once you lay your new turf, follow this watering schedule: First 2 days: Once you lay your turf, flood it with enough water that you can’t walk on it at all and keep it that wet for the first 2 days. First week: You need to water your new lawn until it is drenched every day for the first week. Second week: Water every second day until drenched. Third week: Water every third day until drenched. Fourth week: By the fourth week, your grass should have grown in or ‘taken’. You can check this by trying to lift the grass gently on a corner of one of the slabs. Once the lawn has started establishing itself (dependent on the weather), you can stop watering as regularly. Just an occasional deep soak will suffice and will encourage a move drought-resistant lawn. TIP: If you are laying turf in hot/ windy weather, be sure to give it some extra water and it can dry out rapidly in harsh conditions. You want to keep your lawn new lawn moist at all times.
3. After Care: Mowing, Fertilising and up-keeping your lawn
Turf generally takes about 6 months to settle in. During the first 3 weeks, avoid heavy use of your lawn – this will give the turf roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil. Your turf is a living material and it will respond to the care you give it. There are few other things you should do to ensure the flourishing and the survival of our new lawn:
Usually at around the 4-week mark, your new Go Turf lawn should be ready to mow. Keep your mower blades sharp and never take off more than a third of the leaf. This ensures your lawn will remain dense and encourages healthy growth. Mowing too short can put stress on the lawn and can lead to weed invasion. It’s important to keep your lawn a little longer during the warmer months as it supports water retention, keeping your soil and lawn healthy and saving you some money on your water bill.
Giving your lawn and soil some extra TLC in the spring will go a long way leading up to the busy summer period. Typically, applying a soil-conditioning fertiliser, such as the Go Turf Spring Blend, at the start of spring, and then again after 4-6 weeks, will give your lawn the boost it needs to stay in its prime all summer long.
The golden rule of watering is to give your lawn less frequent, yet deeper, soakings. Just spraying your hose across your lawn for a couple minutes every second day will not benefit your lawn nearly as much as a deep soak whenever needed. Watering your lawn for a longer period of time allows the water to drain through the soil profile to the deepest level. Once the water reaches the deeper level, the roots seek it out, which develops a strong root system. Best time to water is the early morning. This is because less water is lost through evaporation. Not sure whether your lawn is getting enough water? There’s a simple test. Just grab a screwdriver and push it into your lawn. Be careful not to hit any pipes (obviously). However, the easier the screwdriver goes in/how far it can go in will indicate the soil hydration. The further/easier it goes in the more hydrated your lawn is. If it is really hydrated, don’t bother watering for a while as over-watering is bad for your lawn and your pocket. Don’t overwater! Overwatering is very common and can damage your lawn and cause rot. To know when your lawn actually needs water, there are a few signs you can look out for:
- Your lawn is wilting or losing its green colour,
- The grass stays flat and doesn’t than spring back up after you walk on it.
- During hot weather, if your lawn seems a bit dry and crunchy, and/or it starts turning a light brown colour, treat it to a good soak.