Planting

Planting methods depend on whether you are laying vegetative turf (sod) or using seed. Most lawns or recreational areas are laid as vegetative turf, which normally comes in rolled strips or turf slabs that are 45-50 cm wide. If you are purchasing turf from a retailer and not direct from the turf supplier, check to see what size or area of the turf they are selling i.e. normally a turf slab or roll does not equate to 1m². So don't fall short. 

 

Vegetative Turf

  • Be sure you have ordered enough turfgrass for your lawn area. Read more...
  • Prepare and level your soil for planting. Ideally you would like to have 100 mm to 150 mm of good quality topsoil present. Skimping on the quality and quantity of soil should be avoided as you will encounter long term management issues. Read more...
  • Lay the turf as soon as possible or on the day you receive it for best results. Should you have to hold the turf for longer than this, unstack it and unroll the strips in the shade where they are protected from sun and drying wind. Water as needed to keep the turf moist, and do not allow it to dry out.
  • Starting at a straight edge such as a path or driveway, lay the rolled out strips side by side in rows and end to end within each row.
  • Stagger the joints in adjoining rows like bricks so not to have the turf joins of adjacent rolls aligned.
  • Make sure all joints (sides and ends) are butted together tightly without overlapping. This is to stop the turf edges drying out and causing ongoing management issues or a trip hazard.
  • Use a large knife or spade for cutting turf around trees, beds and edging.
  • If you can, roll the turf prior to watering to provide a good turf and soil contact. A Water Filled Garden Roller or pedestrian walk behind roller is suitable.
  • Water the laid turf as you go, starting 15-30 minutes after you lay the first roll.
  • After you have installed all of your turf, once again use the roller to smooth out any footprints etc. This will also remove any air pockets and ensure the turf makes good contact with the soil.
  • Give the whole area a good soaking with about 25 mm for the first watering. Watering should be undertaken within an hour of installation or as sooner if the turf is suffering from signs of heat stress.
  • Subsequent rolling can be undertaken post watering to remove any further undulations. Be sure not to use a roller if the soil is too wet e.g. footprints can be seen in the turfgrass.
  • Although the grass will accept light traffic at this stage, it should not be brought into full service until firmly rooted and the mats have grown together. This usually takes around 10 to 14 days depending on the species of turfgrass and time of year. Rooting can be easily checked by lifting a corner of one of the turf slabs or rolls.

Turf harvester

Turf slabs

Turf rolls

Washed turfgrass

Seeding

  • If time permits, prepare and water the seed bed prior to sowing. This will encourage the germination of the most undesirable seeds i.e. weeds. Eradicate the emerging seedlings with glyphosate, as per label recommendations, before sowing your desired turf seed.
  • Take care to spread the seed evenly over the area during planting. Except for kikuyu and buffalograss, seed of most warm-season turfgrasses (green and blue couch, centipede grass, zoysia) is quite small.
  • Seeding rates for these warm-season turfgrasses are usually between 0.5 and 1 kilogram per 100 square metres. Refer to instructions on the packet for specific information.
  • Mix the seed with moistened ‘brickies’ sand before planting to help in spreading it evenly. For best results, use five parts of moist sand to one part of seed.
  • Spread the seed in at least two applications across the area, the second crisscrossing the first at right angles to it.
  • After seeding, rake the area lightly, covering the seed with no more than about 2-3 mm of soil.
  • Seed germination is more rapid if you water the planting area immediately after planting and keep it moist, but not wet, by shallow watering during germination. Do not overwater, as this could wash the seed away.