Lawn Turf Laying Guide
6 Steps to successful Lawn
Step 1: Measuring and Ordering
Measure accurately the planned lawn area. Length x Width = m2 (square metres). If the lawn is an irregular shape contact us for free advice.
Order and take delivery of the turf only when you have prepared your ground and have your irrigation ready to go.
The turf is perishable and should be laid on the day of delivery where possible during hot periods.
Delivery Days can vary between varieties but generally placing your order two days prior will give you a next day delivery.
Check out our range of lawn varieties.
Step 2: Ground and Soil Preparation
Grass obtains three of the four essential factors (air, water and nutrients) from the soil; many soils are less than suitable for growing grass. Some soils contain too much clay, which result in compaction, because air and water cannot penetrate down to the roots and they smother and die.
While some people don’t fully understand the importance of good soils for their lawn, many believe, they can save time and money by ignoring the need to improve their lawn’s soil. Failing to improve the soil structure before planting is only creating a greater continual investment of money and time, that will never return its value as fully as preparing the soil properly before planting any turf.
Many soils have inadequate pH levels (degree of acidity or alkalinity), resulting in it being too high or too low for optimum grass growth. A sandy loam, with a pH of between 5.0 to 7.0 is the best soil for producing beautiful, healthy lawns. Unfortunately, this soil mixture is seldom found on any property after building has gone on. Acidic pH 5.0 and below can be improved with the addition of lime. Alkaline soils pH 7.5 and higher can be improved with the addition of gypsum or sulphur.
If you are starting on an area with no existing lawn be sure to remove rubble, weeds and any other offensive objects. If you have an existing lawn or weeds, it may need to be poisoned prior to preparation. This process can take sometime but is imperative when a more dominant lawn than the one you are introducing has existed. To thoroughly eradicate strong species, two applications of Roundup/Glyphosate non-residual spray, spaced 10 days apart may be necessary. See your local nurseryman for advice and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After the suggested waiting time remove the dead surface.
Clay type soils should have Gypsum added at the rate of 1kg to 1m2 plus medium grade sand to a depth of 50mm. Spread evenly over the area and thoroughly rotary hoe or dig into the top 100mm of clay base. In a poor soil situation it is essential to replace or rejuvenate the base to a depth of 100-110mm.
Rake and lightly roll the area. High spots should be evened off and low ones filled in until the area is firm and level. A simple gauge of firmness is that footprints should not be seen more than 10mm deep. Final levels should be approximately 25mm below pathways/boundaries if you want to match up to existing levels.
We strongly advise a pre-planting fertiliser be applied. Our Starter Fertilisers has been designed to go on top of the prepared ground and under the turf at the time of laying. It will not burn you new turf. All fertilisers and any additional products can be delivered free of charge with your turf order.
Step 3: Installing Your Lawn
On a hot day, dampen the ground, area by area, just before laying. This will ensure the soil base is not hot, thus protecting the roots. Begin laying the turf along the longest straightest boundary line.
Butt and push edges against each other tightly without stretching. Avoid gaps and overlapping. Stagger the joints in a brick-like fashion – corners and overhang can be cut with a sharp knife to achieve your desired plan. Where possible try not to use smaller cuts or narrow strips at outer edges, as they will not retain their moisture as well. On slopes, place sod across the slope and if you are laying sod on a steep slope, the sod may need to be pegged or staked. To avoid causing indentations or pockets avoid repeated walking or kneeling on sod while it is being installed or just after watering. After installing the turf, smooth the area with a roller to improve turf-to-soil contact, thereby avoiding air pockets. Sod is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive.
Use your newly laid lawn sparingly until good root establishment has taken place – two to three weeks. Avoid concentrated play activities, dog traffic or similar rough usage until established.
Sir Walter – Additional Laying Instructions
Upon laying your turf top-dressing of sand/topsoil is strongly recommended. The top dressing should cover the root zone only and not the leaf. After the lawn has been laid and watered it should be rolled to ensure good contact between the turf and the soil. This aids in moisture retention until the roots are established.
Step 4: Watering Your Lawn
We highly recommend you to install a quality watering system, especially in larger lawn areas. It is given that most homeowners are using up to 50% more water than their landscaping requires. That’s neither frugal for the piggy bank, nor beneficial for the lawn. Generally your watering is cut in half by the installation of an efficient irrigation system. The solution isn’t just watering less but watering more scientifically: The right amount of water, evenly distributed in the right places at the right time. Any automatic system makes this possible. If you choose to use or have in place a manual system, simply increase its efficiency by attaching a timer to the tap.
Watering at installation
Water your lawn within half an hour of installation. Ideally, watering should begin as soon as an area large enough to put down a sprinkler is ready. It is vital that enough water is put down the first time to thoroughly soak the sod and the soil under the sod. You can check the moisture content by lifting a flap of the sod and sticking your finger into the soil. It should be moist 30-50mm deep. By giving the sod a heavy first watering you will rid the area of any air pockets, which dry out. It is vital your lawn is kept moist enough to survive hot, dry and windy conditions. In cool weather this may mean watering only every 3 or 4 days. In very hot weather you may have to water 3 times a day. Do not allow the sod or soil underneath to dry out between waterings. Pay special attention to the corners and edges of newly sodded areas, they tend to dry our sooner and they are hard to water properly. Hand watering of these areas is best during establishment. The lawn must then stay extremely damp for the next 14 days.
After 14 days
After this time the turf will have started to root and you should begin a more regular watering routine. Less frequent but deeper watering is recommended. This encourages deep rooting, which is vital in achieving drought tolerancy. Shallow watering causes the root system to grow near the surface. Over time the roots will follow the water down into the soil and you will have lush healthy turf. Water near buildings, pavements and reflective areas more often as the turf will be drier. Water anytime the sod has a dry pale blue/gray colour or if the grass does not spring back after walking on it. Ideally, water in the early morning as evaporation from the leaf is quite rapid.
Please note: A newly laid lawn will take up to 12 months before it has established a deep enough root system to achieve its maximum drought tolerance. Therefore, your new lawn will require more water during its first summer, to enable it to develop to its full potential.
Step 5: Mowing Your Lawn
After approximately 14 days, when watering cycles are normal, the ground will have firmed a little and you can mow (just remove the tips of growth) and lightly fertilise. Mowing is important in that it strengthens the root system, making the lawn robust and vigorous. For best appearance be sure to keep your mowing blades sharp.
Santa Anna Couch
Mowing can take place every 7-14 days during late spring and summer. During autumn and winter every 2-5 weeks, only if necessary. The mowing height is best kept between 20-25mm throughout the year.
Raising the height fractionally over late autumn and winter will give better colour. DO NOT mow couch close in winter. Mowing at even lower levels can achieve putting green appearances.
Mowing can take place every 7-14 days during late spring and summer. During autumn and winter every 2-5 weeks, only if necessary. The mowing height is best kept between 40mm throughout the year. Mowing at a higher level will improve drought tolerance and leaf softness.
Mowing can take place every 7-10 days during late spring and summer. During autumn and winter every 2-5 weeks, only if necessary. The mowing height is best kept between 30-40mm throughout the year.
Step 6: Fertilising and Maintenance follow Up
Once your lawn is established a general rule is to fertilise 4-5 times each year Note: All fertilisers must be applied evenly to dry lawn and then irrigated thoroughly.
For leaf greenness a nitrogen-based fertiliser is used. It is common practice to mow you lawn lower prior to springtime fertilising. If the ground is uneven it is advisable to top dress (with a loam to match what has been used previously) and mow your lawn in the opposite direction. This will alleviate any irregular bumps. Your lawn will smother if loam is applied too heavily (one tonne per 100m2 is ample), brush to expose the leaf blade.
We strongly suggest fertilising on a regular basis.
All fertilisers can be purchased from Hicks Turf
All warm-season or running grasses develop over a period of time what is known as thatch – this is a mixture of dead and decaying root and shoot tissue. A small to medium amount of thatch in a lawn is beneficial to it’s wellbeing (less evaporation, better water retention, increased tolerance to wear and tear). However, where the accumulation of thatch reaches a point to impede water, air and fertiliser, then corrective measures must be adopted.
Scarifying every two or three years will rid the lawn of excess thatch and make for a healthier, less spongy, better looking turf. This can be accomplished by vigorous slicing through the turf with a scarifying rake, or contractors can carry out the necessary work by machine. After scarifying, the debris should be collected and then the lawn can be fertilised and well watered. Scarifying is best carried out between September – early November
* This information should be used as a guide only. Varying weather and soil conditions should be individually assessed.
For optimum growth, turf needs sunlight, air, water and nutrients to flourish. Reducing any of these, or providing too much of any one, will result in the grass dying or suffering.
If you require any further information, please contact Hicks Instant Turf.