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Turfing Your Lawn
The following turf laying tips have been provided by John Ransley of RANSLEY TURF.
Turf is a living product. Unlike factory produced products it has it's own characteristics. There are no absolutes, circumstances such as weather, soil types and general TLC can change the outcomes.
There is no substitutes for common sense. Experts don't exist. These comments are based on 33 years of observation and experience dealing with turf from the farms where it is grown to the garden where it is installed.
You need 150mm depth of loose, fine and clean topsoil. This can be achieved by digging (if your feeling fit!), rotovating, adding fresh soil or a mixture of the two elements. Remove any debris and vegetation so that the turf can have intimate contact with the soil. It may not be necessary but adding a pre-turf fertiliser gives added results. Rake and level the soil to a fine tilth as if you are preparing a seed bed.
In especially hot and dry weather, it is a good idea to dampen the ground prior to installation.
Start from one side of the garden and lay one full row of turf. Use boards (scaffold or ply) to lay on the turf. You can then add your next row whilst compacting what you have already laid . Stagger the joints like brickwork. Move the boards as you continue working across the garden. If you only require small borders than its easier to cut these to shape once the lawn has established. For larger borders use string lines or marker paint and cut the turf to shape. The best tool to cut the turf with is a knife with a serrated edge. This is quickest and gives a smart edge.
Most people underestimate the amount of water needed and overestimate the amount of water applied. 15 litres of water per square metre is required to equal 12mm of rainfall. An oscillating sprinkler will cope with an average garden. Stand a small container such as a jar near the sprinkler will cope with most average size gardens. This will enable you to monitor the amount of water applied.
Shortcuts and omissions in this step are probably the biggest and most common mistakes made. If the weather is hot and dry, water the turf directly after installation. Do not water the turf before laying.