Even professional landscapers occasionally hit turfing problems.  But some problems are easily prevented.  Here are some tips.

Common turfing problems include:

  • complications with deliveries
  • sod heating
  • turf rolls falling apart
  • running out of turf
  • dry turf
  • shrinkage
  • uneven lawn surface

Lets look at these in turn…….

Turfing Problems: Delivery Difficulties

You can’t lay your turf until it has been delivered.  Delivery problems are probably one of our biggest headaches. So I asked Turfonline’s drivers to tell me about some of the things that make their day difficult which could so easily be avoided.

This is what they said:

Parking problems:

Turf is normally delivered on an articulated lorry with either a rear-mounted forklift or a tail-lift and pallet truck.   That’s quite a sizeable vehicle and it needs to get quite close to your property before it can offload.   Please make sure there’s plenty of space for the lorry to park and unload.   If you live near a school please let us know and we’ll avoid turning up and drop off and pick up times.

Slopes, kerbs, mud and gravel:

If Turfonline is delivering to your home and the driver has a tail lift vehicle with a pallet truck, he’s going to need good with access.   A full pallet of turf is heavy.  It’s very difficult to pull a heavy load over a kerb or up a slope and it’s even harder to move it if the surface is soft or loose.   Be prepared by having some boards to hand that will make an easy surface for the pallet truck to travel on.

Turfing Problems: Sod Heating

This one is easy to avoid – and I’ve blogged about it before.

  1. Make sure soil is ready to be turfed before the turf arrives
  2. Break the pallet of turf down into smaller piles – the smaller the better
  3. Start laying turf as soon as it arrives
  4. Don’t water turf while its rolled up but absolutely soak it as soon as it is installed

Read more about sod heating here

Turfing Problems: Turf Rolls Falling Apart

Sometimes, but not often, rolled turf is a little tender.   I’ve found it helps if you treat it gently.  Lift the rolls by placing your hands underneath them and then cradling them.   Place them on the ground carefully rather than dropping them.  Use two hands to manoeuvre them into place and then unroll them slowly.   If a roll of turf does tear, don’t panic.  It will establish just as well as if it were in one piece.   Just be patient and install it as best you can.

Turfing Problems: Running Out of Turf

Believe me, if you find yourself short of just a few rolls of turf, you won’t be the first person – or the last to have done it.

Avoid the situation by measuring carefully before you place your order.   Double-check your measurements, make sure they are in metres (not yards) and use our turf calculator to make sure you have worked out your requirements correctly.   Always add an extra 5-10% to allow for trimming and wastage.   That’s not us trying to sell you more turf, that’s the voice of experience wanting to save you any hassle.

If you don’t have quite enough turf and you don’t want to redesign your garden to accommodate a smaller lawn, please phone our customer services team.  We’ll find the most cost-effective way of helping you make up the shortfall.  It may mean you need to take your car to a local garden centre to buy the extra (matching) rolls.

Turfing Problems: Dry Turves

In high summer, turf growers sometimes deliberately stop irrigating.  That’s because drier turf is less prone to sod-heating than lovely lush grass.

If your new turf seems on the dry side, that’s nothing to worry about, provided you water it as soon as it’s laid and keep watering regularly until it’s established.

Turfing Problems: Gaps Between Turves

Oh dear, shrinking turf is not a good thing.  Not at all.  Assuming it’s been properly laid, should not develop any gaps between the pieces.  If it does, that’s a sure sign that it’s not getting enough water.   Irrigate thoroughly from day one and you won’t see any shrinkage.

Dents and Divots – Uneven Surface

An uneven surface on your new lawn can be avoided with a 2-fold approach.

First, when preparing the soil, make sure you firm it down well by doing the “gardener’s shuffle” after digging and raking.  To check that the soil is level, tie a piece of rope to each end of a heavy plank.  Pull the plank along the surface and any lumps and bumps will immediately show themselves.

Secondly, always use laying boards to walk on prepared soil and on new turf.  Don’t leave the boards sitting on top of the new turf because they’ll turn the grass yellow and you’ll have a different problem to overcome.  Rather, lay the boards out each time you cross the lawn or stand on it to do the watering.

Any questions?

If you have any worries about your turf delivery, laying turf or caring for it in the early days, please feel free to contact the Turfonline team.

If DIY turfing doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good value a landscaper can be.  Find a landscaper near you by checking the directory on the BALI website.

Related Articles

Sod Heating 

Caring for newly laid turf 

How to lay turf