A question we are often asked is what is the best time of year to lay turf. Well, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, probably the ideal time is mid-autumn. But turf can be laid any time of year especially between early autumn and early spring. However, you can’t lay turf when the ground is frosty or very wet, (which is why winter is often a challenge) and it is best to avoid periods of high temperatures or drought (as the turf will require alot of water and additional care and may be dry when delivered), this can make turf laying in July and August more challenging.
In an ideal world turf should be laid when the ground is neither water logged or dry, which makes spring and autumn the best times of year.
The real reason why you have to wait for the ground to be dry, and not frosty is that good preparation of the ground is crucial to getting a good lawn. This is not an overnight job, as you will need several weeks to ensure that all the weeds are gone, and that the ground has settled. To start with, clear all the weeds from the site, especially perennial weeds such as bindweed and couch grass. You may find it helpful to use a good systemic weedkiller at this stage to ensure that you have got rid of all the roots. Dig over the site to about a spade’s depth or a little bit more, and dig in some well-rotted organic matter. Allow the ground to settle for a few days or weeks after digging, to ensure that your lawn surface will be level. Once you’ve done all this, tread the ground over several times to flatten it fully, and rake it to ensure that the soil is fine to encourage root growth.
Once your site is absolutely ready, and not before, you can buy your turf (see our online shop for prices). Most turf suppliers can supply good quality turf quite quickly, so you can have it delivered within a few days at most. Be ready to lay the turf as soon as possible after delivery, as turf is not good kept hanging about. For tips on laying your lawn well, take a look at our handy guide to laying turf.
Once you’ve laid your lawn, avoid walking on it for a few days, and longer if possible. If you’re laying lawn turf in spring, you also need to be aware that new turf often needs watering over summer, and that you should avoid mowing it for as long as possible. Mowing before the grass has properly rooted, and allowing the grass to dry out, both stress the plants, and make it harder for the lawn to root properly. This is likely to lead to problems later, so is well worth avoiding.