Have you ever woken up on your turf install day to miserable, wet weather? You may have wondered if it’s a good idea to go ahead with laying your turf when the rain is showing no signs of stopping, but if it’s done right, installing your turf in the rain can actually work to your advantage.
While laying turf in the mud can be a messy affair, we all know there’s one thing that new lawns need in abundance – water! On rainy days, the risk of the grass blades wilting is minimal, which means the turf is going to have a much easier time establishing.
We’ve put together a few handy tips to help you succeed in the wet.
What kind of prep should I do?
- At least a week before install day, spray a non-selective herbicide over the area. It’s best to use this product while it’s not raining, so the water doesn’t wash it away before it has a chance to take effect.
- A few days before installation, give the area a low mow to pick up any extra dead plant material.
- If it's raining heavily on install day, or if you’re expecting heavy rain, lay a tarpaulin on the prepared soil to protect it.
- Make a small trench around the area where you’ll install the turf to help with drainage.
What kind of soil should I use?
For laying turf in the wet, we aim for around 100mm of sandy loam. However, if you’re installing Sir Grange Zoysia, we recommend an underlay of between 100 – 200ml of washed river sand. Working with wet soil can lead to compaction, so it’s best to use sandy soils. This is the least likely soil type to compact because it’s made of bigger particles with more air between.
It’s also a good idea to get your soil in at least a few days before installing your turf. Setting soil down during heavy rainfall can lead to your soil washing away. Wait for a gap in the rainfall and spread the soil out evenly using a rake or lawn leveller. Once it’s level and ready to go, just make sure not to step on the soil until installing your lawn.
Turf Tip – while it’s 100% fine to lay turf on moist soil, you don’t want it to be waterlogged. If your soil is looking more like pudding, it may be a good idea to let it dry out just a little.
How should I lay my turf?
Once your turf arrives, it’s important to install it as quickly as possible. First, check to make sure the soil levels haven’t been disturbed. You may need to use the rake or leveller again to get it nice and even. Starting at the furthest point from the exit, lay down your turf in a brickwork pattern.
After laying down your turf in wet weather, make sure you avoid walking on it until it’s had time to establish. Staying off your new lawn will ensure the grass can establish roots into the soil base nice and quick, and it’ll keep your lawn level during this process. If you find that there are areas where the soil isn’t level, it’s not the end of the world, you can just top dress the lawn later to help improve this.
Turf Tip – Top dressing should only be done in spring/summer while the lawn is actively growing.
How do I take care of my new lawn?
Like we said before, a new lawn needs a whole lot of water. Newly installed turf needs to be watered thoroughly for around two to three weeks after you’ve laid it. Now, if you live in an area that is getting plenty of rain regularly, you don’t need to water it further. Just check underneath the turf that the water is reaching the topsoil. If there is a break in rainfall however, you may have to irrigate the area.
If you are getting an excessive amount of rain, keep an eye out for soil leaching. This is when all those good nutrients in your soil base are washed or drained away. The way to combat this is to add more nutrients with a well-balanced fertiliser – we recommend the Lawn Solutions Premium Fertiliser.
Unfortunately, wet conditions do mean that weeds have a good chance of infiltrating your lawn. In the early stages of establishing your lawn, if you do notice weeds popping up, just remove them by hand. You don’t want to use any extra herbicides on the turf until it has had time to establish.
It goes without saying that we don’t want to mow the lawn until the roots are well and truly established and they’ve grown down into the soil profile. To check whether your lawn is ready for its first mow, try to lift the corner of a turf section up from the ground. When it can’t be easily lifted up, that’s when you know it’s good to go.
Ultimately, we know that laying down turf in the wet is not the most ideal situation, but we hope our tips mean that you don’t have to entirely abandon your turf plans when the weather turns. If you’ve got more questions about laying turf in wet weather that maybe we haven’t covered here, pick up the phone and give us a ring! Our qualified team will be able to answer any of your queries about your specific lawn.