How to lay Turf
Lawn turf is a thatch of living grass. It needs time, effort and care to maintain its quality, colour and health. To make sure your new lawn establishes itself properly and stays healthy in the years to come we recommend the following:
Proper ground preparation for turf is essential. Poorly prepared ground will never produce the best results
The fertilizer formulations that lawns need vary at different times of the year. In the spring more nitrogen is needed to replace what has been leached from the soil in winter and to green up the lawn. You could consider using a nitrogen based fertiliser with a selective weed killer which will also control most annual weeds.
A fertilizer with more potassium should be given in late summer which replaces the nutrients removed during mowing and toughens the grass ready for winter.
To keep moss at bay use a fertiliser that includes iron sulphate.
Lawn fertilizers are usually applied as granules or powder and these release nutrients over a period of several weeks or more. They should be applied when grass is in growth, when the soil is moist and before rain is forecast so that the fertilizer will be washed into the soil.
It is well worth buying a good fertiliser spreader - one that spins the fertiliser on, rather than one that drops it out through the bottom. This ensures that the fertiliser is applied evenly. To avoid scorching on the overlaps, especially if a feed and weed killer mixture is used, apply half working up and down and half the feed working from side to side to get an even coverage.
Some species of grass produce more horizontal growth than others and this can build up to a point where it needs to be removed to allow healthy growth. Scarifying is really a pruning process and is done using vertical blades that cut into the top of the turf mat.
The frequency of scarifying necessary depends upon the type of turf, and the maintenance regime. For example, a turf containing ryegrass needs very little, if any, scarifying because of the tufted growth characteristic of the ryegrass. A turf containing no ryegrass is likely to need scarifying at least every two years because of the lateral growth of bents, fescues, and smooth stalked meadow grass. In addition, if the turf is regularly fertilised and watered the growth rate will increase, resulting in a faster build-up of the turf mat. In this situation lawns will benefit from scarifying every year, preferably during the early autumn.
Scarifying involves raking vigorously with a spring-tined or sharp-toothed rake, pushing it well down to pull out the dead grass or moss and break stem of creeping grasses. Scarify two weeks after using a moss-killer to remove the dead moss.
Grass roots need air in order to support healthy growth. In a well-structured soil there are lots of natural air pockets. During wet weather the soil becomes soft and if the lawn is used heavily the soil structure is damaged, the air pockets are destroyed, and grass growth suffers. Aeration is a means of getting air back into the soil by punching holes into the lawn to a depth of about 100mm. All lawns benefit from aeration at some stage with heavily used lawns needing treatment more often. It is possible to aerate small areas with a garden fork or hollow tine, but it is very hard work! For larger areas it is better to hire a mechanical aerator or slitting machine.
Top dressing after aeration:
Top-dressing can be used to fill holes left by aeration, to keep the passage open and to feed the grass and stimulate growth, or to fill in and level small hollows in the lawn surface. Top-dressing usually consist of a mixture of sand, peat substitute and loam. Either use a spreader which can be hired or apply evenly with a shovel and use a stiff brush to even out any excess and to work into the grass.
Instant Lawns turf arrives completely free of weeds. A dense, healthy lawn will make it difficult for weeds to encroach so regular maintenance will go a long way to keeping it weed free. Hand weeding will deal with small numbers of weeds and ensure that the numbers do not build up. If a herbicide becomes necessary use a proprietary weed killer at the recommended rate.
The best defence against moss is to keep your lawn strong and healthy. Weak grass growth can be caused by a number of factors: water logging, shade, mowing too short, too little fertiliser, and drought. Try to correct the cause of the problem. However, moss will tend to creep into even the best lawns and so to keep it at bay make sure that your spring fertiliser contains iron sulphate.
Lawn pests and diseases:
Most lawns suffer from few pests and diseases and these can often be tolerated on general-purpose lawns. Fine-leaved grasses can be prone to a few common diseases if they are not growing strongly but early treatment can prevent long-term damage. Other lawn problems may be caused by the nature of the site or by algae, moss or lichen. Always consider treating the cause of such problems, such as drainage, removing fallen leaves, fertilising correctly before using chemicals. Although lawn pests are not easy to control with chemicals there are useful sprays that can be used against the most common lawn diseases. Unless the problem has been experienced in previous years it should not be necessary to apply preventative sprays. Remember not to mow immediately before or after spraying chemicals on to the lawn, and heed manufacturers’ instructions about restricting pet’s access after spraying.
Cats and dogs:
Urine often burns lawns; more so in dry weather. Pour water over the soiled areas. Use repellents. Re-turf patches that have been badly affected.