1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

pre-Turfing advice ...?

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by danjr, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. danjr

    danjr Apprentice Gardener

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    high wycombe
    Ratings:
    +5
    Hi everyone -

    I’m new to this forum and in need of some advice on soil enhancements ahead of turfing. I’ll try to be brief :-) We have a fairly good sized back garden (around 280 sq.meters), which we've just had levelled and some drainage installed. Turf was due to be laid at the weekend by the contractor, but due to the current hot spell i've delays ordering and laying the turf (we only have a single domestic tap out there which wouldn't provide sufficient water for the area in 30 degree heat!). Anyway, the delay has given me a chance to get out there and survey the soil. I’ve done some DIY soil tests and although it varies in different areas, overall it’s mostly sandy (50-60%) and then something like 30% silt and 10-20% clay (all approximate/DIY tests using a jam-jar). I live in the Chiltern Hills. There are some spots of heavy clay and for these i've removed the top several inches of clay and replaced with top soil (phew - hard work in this sun!). Ph-wise it would seem it’s slightly alkaline (not much i can do about that before laying the turf!). So, overall, not too bad in terms of composition.

    The part i’m unsure about is the fertility of the soil (especially since it's quite sandy/free draining). We’ve only been in the house a year but i strongly suspect there wasn’t much in the way of gardening done in the 3-4years previous and most certain there would have been no feeding of the previous lawn. The grass that was in-place previously looked pretty tired and the soil strikes me as lacking nutrients (just a hunch). I’ve read in these forums about Mushroom compost and have seen on-line information about pre-turf fertiliser (e.g. Rowlan, Verve) - has anyone used these before turfing? I also read about Bonemeal to help root development - is this mostly for flower beds or would it work for new turf as well? Another option would be enriched compost to add nutrients but also to improve the soil structure a little? Also, came across Vitax 6x Natural Fibrous Fertilizer (chicken pellets) at the local garden centre which mentions use for lawns and also that it's good to break down heavy soils as well as help retain moisture on light sandy soils (both of which i have in different patches). However, i’m unsure if it’s suitable for new turf or if it might be too strong? Has anyone used this on new turf? Any advice on any of the above or any other magical potions to improve soil fertility before turfing would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks for taking the time to read …
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Gail_68

      Gail_68 Guest

      Ratings:
      +0
      Hello @danjr :sign0016: to GC, we're a friendly bunch and there's members who will give you sound advice regarding your turf and soil when they come on line and maybe in the meantime there may be points for the lawn discussions added below which can help you :)

      Lawns
       
    • danjr

      danjr Apprentice Gardener

      Joined:
      Jul 17, 2018
      Messages:
      6
      Gender:
      Male
      Location:
      high wycombe
      Ratings:
      +5
      Thank you @Gail_68 ... i did look under the 'lawns' threads and found some useful bits but nothing about Vitax 6x ...
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Gail_68

        Gail_68 Guest

        Ratings:
        +0
      • danjr

        danjr Apprentice Gardener

        Joined:
        Jul 17, 2018
        Messages:
        6
        Gender:
        Male
        Location:
        high wycombe
        Ratings:
        +5
        Thanks so much @Gail_68 ... still not sure it's right for new turf ... or alternatives ... :rolleyespink:
         
        • Like Like x 1
        • Gail_68

          Gail_68 Guest

          Ratings:
          +0
          danjr i'd like to suggest something to you...could you introduce yourself please in this section and copy and paste this info there plus added pic's are a bonus to help members further with helping you.:)

          New Members Introduction
           
        • GardenBadger

          GardenBadger Gardener

          Joined:
          Sep 22, 2015
          Messages:
          31
          Gender:
          Male
          Ratings:
          +65
          Hi @danjr.

          The research you have done already shows that you've taken a good interest into sustaining a good lawn. I have used pre turf ferlisers myself in the past and raked in with he levelling of the top soil, but mostly I don't. In the hundreds of lawns I've laid I've probably used them a couple dozen times.

          You have done sufficient soil tests and have a good balance of sand, silt and clay for a lawn to establish well.

          What I'd concentrate on more right now is getting it level with fresh topsoil, having a perfect surface for laying turf on. The reason I say this, is because if you're buying good quality turf then there should be an effecient nutrients in the turf to allow it to root well, and then concentrate on the fertiliser in time.

          Once the lawn has established is then the time to maintain it, applying feeds through the summer months, weed removal where needed, and in time to come scarifying and possibly aeration.

          I'm in the NW of England, and with the recent heatwave we've had I'm still put off laying any lawns for atleast another month, maybe longer, especially as we have a hosepipe ban coming in.

          In a shorter version, when the weather is right, level out the surface with some fresh topsoil, lay the lawn and water sufficiently until the roots have established after about 4-6 weeks.

          When ready cut the lawn very high to uniform it out, don't rush to try get a desired height. After about 10 - 12 weeks from the lawn being laid I'd then consider applying treatments to it. You may only end up applying one treatment to the lawn this year with timescales.

          Hope this may help a bit on your options.
           
          • Like Like x 1
          • danjr

            danjr Apprentice Gardener

            Joined:
            Jul 17, 2018
            Messages:
            6
            Gender:
            Male
            Location:
            high wycombe
            Ratings:
            +5
            IMG_2028.JPGIMG_2026.JPGIMG_2029.JPGIMG_2027.JPG Hi @GardenBadger -
            Thanks you so much for taking the time to reply. The problem i have (as you can see in the photos i've finally got round to uploading) is that i don't have room to add new topsoil (at least not much). Where we've had the garden levelled (using railway sleepers) the contractor has only left room for the new turf (about 1.5 inches) but not much else, so i'm stuck with the soil i have and hence wanting to try and enrich what's already there without adding height/bulk ... ? I did buy some 25L bags of topsoil yesterday to address a few uneven parts and the contractor has also bought some all-purpose compost(!?) to sprinkle over before laying the turf. I read bit more on-line about Bonemeal for root development etc. ..?
             
            • Like Like x 1
            • Gail_68

              Gail_68 Guest

              Ratings:
              +0
              Hello @danjr,

              You've got it well levelled and we had some ground to cover like you, so a lot of it was slabbed but the centre was lawned and no top soil was used as you'll see from the link below and the lawn set root really good :)

              Preparation of laying Turf
               
            • GardenBadger

              GardenBadger Gardener

              Joined:
              Sep 22, 2015
              Messages:
              31
              Gender:
              Male
              Ratings:
              +65
              Not much room means there is room and 1.5 inches is enough to squeeze a lil bit in there. You want to lay your turf ever so slightly higher than the paving, were talking millimetres here, it will sink. Turf is pretty thin, or should be, around 1/3 -1/2 Of an inch, or 0.8- 1.2 cm.

              Bonemeal is a great fertiliser for new turf because its mainly higher phosphorous and can contain nitrogen and Potassium.. Phosphorous is for root growth, and nitrogen for leaf, potassium for the flower and functions of the plant. This relates to an NPK ratio which is state on all fertiliser. Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K).

              Most lawn feeds are higher in nitrogen, but as you're wanting to develop a new lawn Phosphorus is ideal, which you'll get from bonemeal. A light sprinkle of anything fresh wether it be top soil or compost will only benefit the lawn.

              As I said earlier you've taken a very good interest into it and with that you shouldn't go wrong, aslong as it's laid level and treated correctly in time I have no doubt you will have an incredible looking lawn.
               
              • Like Like x 1
              • danjr

                danjr Apprentice Gardener

                Joined:
                Jul 17, 2018
                Messages:
                6
                Gender:
                Male
                Location:
                high wycombe
                Ratings:
                +5
                Thanks so much @GardenBadger :hapfeet:I'll be sure to let you know how it goes to act a references for anyone else .. BTW - still waiting for some rain, we had a little this past weekend like most of the country but i think it'll be Sep before there's enough ....
                 
                • Like Like x 1
                • danjr

                  danjr Apprentice Gardener

                  Joined:
                  Jul 17, 2018
                  Messages:
                  6
                  Gender:
                  Male
                  Location:
                  high wycombe
                  Ratings:
                  +5
                  hi - about time i posted the pictures of the lawn all done! It's worked out great. We did get down as much grade A top soil as we could (which was only a few inches/maybe only a few cm in places) and i also used pre-turf fertiliser (6:9:6). As soon as it was down i watered it and then that evening (using tread boards) i went round on my hands and knees checking every single joint to make sure it was nicely butted togethers (the team that laid it had to work quickly to get it all down in one day) so i went round and made good :-) One interesting point is that for the lower section of lawn we didn't have enough of the fertiliser, so only the top got it. This was a really great way to see what difference it made. In terms of the overall outcome i'd have to say it's not that much different BUT the area where we had the fertiliser too hold literally within the first 48hrs - not 100% taken but certainly i could tell it had started to root down as it couldn't be pulled up. Whereas the area without the pre-turf fertiliser took a good week or so to take root. Worth knowing if you're turfing in hot weather i'd guess. Anyway, thanks for the advice on this forum ... photos on the way ...
                   

                Share This Page