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Love The Garden

Author : Mark Bartley

If you're creating a new garden from scratch, part of your spring lawn care programme may be to lay a new area of turf or even create a whole new lawn. Spring is the best time to do this as it allows the turf to establish itself before facing any risk of drought conditions later in the summer, whilst avoiding the damage a late frost can do to tender grass. So if you're planning on laying a new lawn, here are a few tips on how to do it successfully.

Getting ready to create a new lawn is the most important part of the job.

You will need to prepare the ground for your new lawn carefully before you buy your turf. Just like planting any other seedlings, the better the base the more your lawn will thrive. If you have clay soil and suffer from waterlogging on the lowest part of the lawn after heavy rain, soakaway will allow excess rainwater to run off the lawn. Standing water on a lawn surface will suffocate and drown your grass, leaving you with barren areas that turn into mudbaths as soon as it starts to rain again! Make sure that you back fill with small rubble and stones and top off the soakaway with topsoil. You can then turf over the top of this area if necessary.

Levelling the ground. One of the most important jobs before laying your new turf is to make sure that the plot is flat and even. If you have an uneven surface with bumps and dips you'll end up cutting the raised areas too closely and leaving long uncut grass in the dips when mowing. It will also mean that, particularly if you have a clay soil, drainage and puddling could be a recurring problem later on.

Make sure your ground is not to compact that it stops the lawn getting started. New grass will struggle to establish itself properly if the soil has been compacted by heavy traffic. To give your new lawn the best possible chance of survival, make sure that the soil underneath is level but not too compacted to allow the roots to establish quickly. By "treading" the soil before laying turf you'll apply just a little weight to the top layer of soil, but this only flattens the top few millimetres and doesn't compact the soil deeper down.

What should I look out for when buying new turf? Garden centres often only get a delivery of turf once or twice a week, so phone ahead and find out when the new delivery will be coming in. If the turf has been sitting in the garden centre for several days it can begin to go yellow and die. So when you buy your turf, check its condition by unrolling a couple of turfs to ensure that you are not buying substandard grass. If you grasp a turf at one end and give it a shake, it should hold together firmly. If pieces fall apart it means that the roots may not be sufficiently strong or are already starting to die. Make sure that you have measured your new plot carefully and buy enough turf to cover the area completely (plus a little extra for wastage).

Getting started with the new lawn. The key to laying a good lawn is to work methodically from one corner. When you position the next turf, lift both ends and tuck them in together to prevent the turfs separating and creating spaces that will lead to dryness and bare patches. Once you have laid your first row, tap the surface of the grass gently with a rake to remove any air pockets under the turf and allow it to sit level on the topsoil.

When you start on your next row, lay the turf in alternating positions (rather like bricks in a wall) so that any joins in the previous row don't line up with joinds in the next new row. Continue to lay the turf until your plot is covered and then trim the edges if necessary to tidy up. If you need to walk on the grass whilst laying the lawn, lay boards or planks to distribute your weight and protect the new grass. Make sure that you water the grass thoroughly and try to avoid walking on it for a few days to let the grass establish strong roots. It can take only a couple of weeks of ideal weather before the grass may need its first cut.

Author's Resource Box

For tips on spring lawn care look up Marks older articles on gardening. Mark writes about gardening and other subjects for a number of publications.

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Tags:   gardening, lawns, spring

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Submitted : 2010-12-20    Word Count : 847    Times Viewed: 386