Is it OK to be laying turf in November? You may be surprised to find that unlike sowing grass seed, turf can be laid at any time of year. Read on for more information.

Turfgrass likes November Weather

November in the UK is generally quite mild. We may experience a few early morning frosts. Days tend to be damp and woolly hats are deployed but the soil is still quite warm.

I’m writing this in the first week of November. It’s mid-morning and I’m just back from our early morning dog walk. We sploshed through lots of puddles because it rained last night. The trees have lost most of their leaves but grasses and plants in the hedgerow bottom are still looking fresh, green and vibrant.

laying turf in november
Turf can be laid at any time of year provided that the ground is not frozen and the soil can be dug and raked into a nice tilth

In my own garden, I’m still mowing the lawn every 7-10 days so I know for sure that grass is still growing. Slower than in spring, but it’s definitely still active.

What does that mean for turfing?

Warm soil, very little shade from trees, frequent rain – ideal conditions for plants to establish roots before the really hard frosts come along in January and February.

There really is a strong case for laying turf in november.

Soil: The basis for a beautiful lawn

When anybody asks me “what is the best time of year to lay turf?” I always answer, “Any time, provided you can prepare the soil properly”.

Soil preparation is key to creating a beautiful lawn. If you lay turf onto a quagmire, onto compacted soil or onto waterlogged soil, the plants will take a long time before they start to thrive.

Actually, November is a good month to assess the drainage in your garden.  If water sits on the surface for a long time you could have a problem.  Having said that, it’s very likely that the problem is compaction, and you’ll alleviate that by digging the soil.

How to prepare soil for laying turf in November

First of all, dig deep. It’s not enough to scuff up the surface a bit and hope for the best. Turf needs at least 15cm of friable soil to root into.

weather forecast for laying turf in november
The weather forecast is your friend. Keep an eye on the 14 day forecast and plan your turfing work accordingly

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and pick a time when the weather is going to be settled, mild and dry for a week or so.

Dig (or rotovate) the whole area and then leave it to settle for a day or two (if you can). The soil is likely to be wetter than it would be in summer and you need it to dry a bit so that you won’t compact it too much when you are raking.

Rake the soil gently to get rid of any big lumps – but don’t go too mad. Aim for a consistency something like the top of Granny’s apple crumble.

TOP TIP
When preparing soil for turfing in the winter months ALWAYS use turf laying boards. It’s a bit of a faff to keep moving boards about when you’re raking but it’s sooo worth it.

When you’re happy that the soil surface is level, apply some autumn/winter lawn feed to help the roots develop. Rake it in, then you’re ready to start laying turf.

Top Tips for Laying Turf in November

  • Use a wheelbarrow to transport rolls of turf from the pallet to the lawn area. At this time of year, rolls may be wetter and heavier which means that they’re harder to carry.
  • Make little stacks of turf along the edge of the lawn
  • Always use turf laying boards
  • Avoid laying turf on frozen soil. Make yourself a cup of tea and wait an hour for the frost to disappear.
  • Turf can stay rolled up for up to 48 hours in cooler weather. Try not to leave it any longer than 2 days though or you risk losing some of its vigour.
  • Water your turf as soon as you’ve finished laying it. Check daily to make sure the soil hasn’t dried out. You may not need to water it every day but stay vigilant. If it dries out, you won’t get the lawn of your dreams.
  • Don’t walk on your new turf without laying boards for at least 4 weeks.
  • Never walk on frozen grass

 

Useful Links

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