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Laying turf in summer

Turf Supplier Laying New Lawn

Summer is the season when Australians like to spend more time outdoors, whether it’s a barbecue with mates, a children’s birthday party or just chilling in the backyard.

That’s when you’re also most likely to notice if your lawn isn’t up to scratch.

The best time to lay new turf is in spring, so your lawn is ready for enjoyment in summer, but summer is not too late to lay the turf.

There are actually some major advantages to laying turf in summer.

The biggest is the heat will encourage the grass to grow and establish quickly, in as little as half the usual time of four to six weeks.

Taking your holidays over summer also frees up time that you can spend tending to the grass to make sure you get the best result.

What to consider when laying turf in summer

Regardless of what time of year you lay a new lawn, water is crucial for encouraging the grass to develop a strong root system and become fully established in its new location.

If you’re in an area where water restrictions are common over summer, it might be best to check with the local council first to see what the rules are and if there are any exemptions for new turf.

In its first few weeks, the turf will need an intensive watering schedule – as often as five times a day during particularly hot periods. 

In most of Australia, except far north Queensland during the monsoon season, sunshine is plentiful during summer, and this will also encourage growth.

But don’t be in a hurry to mow your new lawn, even if it starts to look a bit shaggy. It’s important to wait until the roots are firmly established, which can take up to four weeks.

If you’re not sure, carefully try to lift up a corner. If it holds fast, your lawn is ready for light mowing. If it comes up easily, it’s not ready so give it another few weeks and try again.

What’s the best turf to lay in summer?

Deciding which turf to lay in summer is no different from choosing a variety to lay at any other time of the year.

It all boils down to lawn size, shade and sun tolerance, resistance to wear and weeds, drought and salt tolerance, maintenance, colour and budget.

The Ultimate Turf Buyers Guide has tips for choosing turf varieties. 

Turf varieties

Watering turf laid in summer

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: water is crucial for your new turf to flourish, but even more so in summer.

Here are some watering tips:

  • Make sure the site is properly prepared before the turf is delivered. Moisture begins evaporating from slabs and rolls of turf as soon as they’re cut, so avoid any extra delays.
  • Install turf on the day it is delivered.
  • Don’t wait until the whole lawn is laid before you start watering in. If you’re covering a large area, wet the tops of each pallet. Lay one pallet and start watering it while the next pallet is being installed.
  • Water at least three times a day for the first two weeks, taking care not to let your lawn dry out.
  • Water from above, using sprinklers, pop-ups, or a soaker hose. Don’t rely on existing soil moisture or underground drip irrigation during the establishment phase because the cut roots won’t be able to reach the moist soil straight away.
  • If you’re not sure when to water again, try tossing a small wet towel onto the grass. When it’s dry, turn the water on again for 10-15 minutes.
  • Wind increases evaporation, so water more often on windy days to compensate.
  • The best time to water is early morning. Apply enough water to penetrate the turf and reach the soil underneath to encourage root development.
  • After two or three weeks, gradually start to cut back the frequency of watering. Eventually, you will be deep watering to 25mm once or twice a week – depending on heat and wind.
  • The rule of thumb is to water established lawns infrequently but deeply!

The importance of summer lawn care

A well-fed and well-watered lawn will grow like Topsy in summer.

Your lawn will thank you for making sure the mower blades are sharp, regularly cutting no more than one-third of its height, and keeping weeds, pests and lawn disease under control. Also, avoid applying fertiliser when temperatures are above 30 degrees Celsius, which can burn the leaf blades.

And don’t forget to slip on your sunglasses, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, wrap yourself in an SPF50 shirt to guard against sunburn, and drink water often to avoid becoming dehydrated whenever you’re working in the garden.

For more information, check out The Ultimate Turf Maintenance and Lawn Care Guide

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