Tips for laying turf include preparing the soil and caring for the sod

Tips for laying turf include preparing the soil and caring for the sod

If you just moved into a home and there isn?t any grass in your yard, you probably need to lay turf or get someone else to do it for you. Or, it may be that your yard is splotchy and bare in places and it needs an overhaul.

The outcome of your turf laying project depends on how well and thoroughly you prepared the soil. However, you will love it when you have a uniform lawn that lowers the time you have to spend on it, is denser than other grass and recovers quickly from wear and tear. Of course, nature helps out. You need air, water, sunlight and nutrient for the turf to grow successfully.

Here are some tips for laying turf so that you do it right the first time.

The ideal soil for turf is loamy, with a pH level of 6.0 to 6.5. The soil depth has to be at least four inches deep, although six inches is better because you get more root penetration. If your soil is lousy you are not going to have a great outcome.

If you amend your soil before laying turf make sure that you till it completely before laying the turf. Use a power tiller for the best results. Till down two inches, which allows the topsoil and the subsoil to bond. This improves the movement of water and root penetration. Put four to six inches of top soil onto the area and make sure that it is clay loam, silt loan, sandy loan, sandy clay loam or whatever is recommended for use in the part of the country where you live. It?s a good idea to put fully decomposed organic matter into this topsoil.

Roll the area using a lawn roller that is one-third full of water. This settles and firms the surface. Lawn experts recommend that you fertilize and water the soil after tilling. Do this again two weeks later. This removes weeds that will germinate when the turf is laid.


Test the soil to see if any corrective materials need to be added. If the soil is too alkaline adds gypsum or sulfur. If it?s too acidic, which means the pH level is 6 or less, add lime.

You really should rough grade the area before laying turf, which lessens drainage problems. Rough grading includes sloping a grade away from buildings and reducing steep slopes. Using a tractor mounted blade is the easiest way — or you can do it by hand.

Turf comes in neat rolls that are ready to be placed on your lawn. When you get the turf, do not mess around and wait for days to unroll it. Unroll the turf and lay it out within a day of receiving it if this is a fall or winter project. Lay turf within 12 hours at tops if this is a spring/summer project.

You will need a wheelbarrow to carry the turf as well as a spade, garden hose for watering and a rake.

When you unroll the turf it is best to unroll across a slope rather than down it. Proceed to lay the turf along a straight side with the ends of each subsequent piece joining together securely. Push the turf, rather than stretch it, so that the ends join. Do not leave any gaps. Lightly tap down the turf to make sure that the underside of the turf is making total contact with the soil underneath. Do not use a lawn roller on a freshly laid trim.

Use your spade to trim the edges of the turf that you are fitting alongside of paths and around trees.

It is critical that you water your new turf abundantly especially during the first month. Water the turf immediately after it has been laid. Look under the edges of the turf to see if that water has gone all the way through to the soil underneath. Water the turf every day for the next 14 days. Once the turf is established, you can back off and water weekly.

If the turf doesn?t seem to be lying completely flat, walk on it and press down the edges. When the turf gets long enough, mow it.