Although we always see an influx of home owners looking to lay turf in spring, it can actually be laid all year round. Here’s a few hints and tips in getting your yard ready for turf with some soil preparation.
Easily the biggest mistake made when laying turf is the lack of soil preparation before your turf goes down (which is an investment). Whether you’re a painter, chef or even a teacher preparation is the key to getting results, the more effort and time you put in the less stress and dramas you have down the track.
Your first thing to do is survey the area, any trees and or shrubs that need trimming do it now rather than later. By doing this you will allow more direct light to the area, this will increase pure daylight hours allowing soil temps to be increased.
Now you can look at cleaning the area up and removing any weeds, existing turf, unwanted garden beds and edging. To remove the unwanted weeds a product like Tuffweed Liquid Glyphosate can be used. Spray the area out as per the labels instructions to ensure even coverage, remembering your correct PPE. Glyphosate is non-residual but would recommend doing this a few weeks out as you want everything well and truly gone. The visual effect can take several days, the use of a surfactant like Wetter 600 will enhance glyphosate’s effectiveness as it bonds the herbicide to the leaf of the plant.
Once you are assured all weeds and existing turf is no longer living usually around 7 to 10 days it comes down to manual labour, a turf cutter and a shovel may be your best friend ,simply remove them and move towards getting to your local hire shop and hire a rotary hoe, a small expense but it will give you a look at your profile and what you have to work with, don’t be scared get stuck in and turn over that existing soil. A Soil Test around this time is invaluable, as this is the best time to add any amendments you require like gypsum to help with any clay content.
Dynamic lifter and or manure-based products are also handy currently to add some organic material to the base to improve your existing profile.
Soils such as a rich sandy loam are the best for water retention where sandy soils are on the opposite scale with little moisture retention.
You may have the required amount of soil already and you're ready to start levelling, some may want to bring levels up, fix undulations and or raise the finish height of your desired turf. If you are importing soil don’t buy the cheapest fill you can get it will only hurt you long term after the efforts you have gone to already. Be sure to do your research and look for a reputable supplier inspect what you're thinking of choosing yet weed seeds are hard to detect. A good quality sandy loam is ideal and will provide a good base for your turf for years to come.
Levelling is the final part of your preparation of your masterpiece, many tools can be used at this stage. Laser levels, string lines, rakes, soil spreaders, screeds, water or concrete filled rollers and even a humble plastic pallet. An easy way to get an even, level lawn is to hammer in some stakes across your yard in various positions these will act as markers and give you something to work between as you work across the area. Get a height that you want to work to mark the stakes then you have an easy guide of where you do and don’t need soil to achieve the desired height. Take your time during this part as it will showcase your efforts later, work in many directions across the area to make sure your happy with your levelling efforts. Once complete you can give it a nice roll nothing over the top, as you do not want to undo your hard work by compacting it. You may find over the coming days you need to touch up small areas here and there. Finally, don’t forget to remove the stakes if you have used them, sounds funny, but yes, they have been left behind before.
A few little points there to help you provide for your investment, the best start and finally the look of your lawn when preparing an area ready for turf.