How Long Does Turf Last?
Have you ever been to a DIY mega store in the height of summer and seen a pallet of almost untouched turf rolls which looked suspiciously unhealthy? You may have done. And if you have, you might have thought to yourself that those turfs don’t look too good.
This raises the question, how long does turf last?
The Life of Turf
Turf takes up to eighteen months to develop a root system which is suitable for harvest. During that time the turf is watered, fertilised, mowed and generally nurtured into a beautiful green carpet of grass.
Once the turf is deemed to have a suitable root system, it is harvested. A large tractor tool flattens, saws, cuts, rolls and stacks the turf into rolls, which are stacked on a pallet ready for delivery.
This may sound a little brutal but the turf is able to cope with this.
The Clock is Now Ticking
Once the turf has been harvested the countdown has begun. Turf has a very limited shelf life now it is no longer connected to the ground. In fact, it will actually start to deteriorate as soon as it’s harvested.
There are various factors which will further shorten the life of the turf rolls, such as high temperatures, direct sunlight, lack of light in the middle of the rolls, and too much water.
The rolls of turf contain the living grass plants which create natural gases. These gases create heat, and the more heat which is created in the middle of the turf rolls, the quicker the turf will deteriorate. What essentially begins to happen here is a composting process.
Prolong the Life of your Turf Rolls
To ensure the best outcome for your turf it should be laid on properly prepared ground twelve to twenty-four hours after it has been harvested.
Always ensure you have properly prepared the ground in advance and try to have the turf delivered when you have time to lay it (e.g. have the turf delivered Saturday morning and lay it on the same day). It might even be a good idea to check the weather forecast to make sure you will want to be outside laying turf.
Some turf producers may specially treat their harvested turf to extend the turfs’ shelf life. Rolawn is one such turf producer and Eco stock and sell Rolawn’s turf. Rolawn have developed a unique process called Profresh® which removes the harmful respiration gases from newly harvested turf, which results in an extended shelf of the harvested turf (up to three times its normal shelf life) and a better result for the end customer.
Storing and Caring for your Turf Rolls
If you are unable to get your turf laid as soon as it’s delivered, here are some tips which will help to extend the life of your turf rolls:
- Keep the turf in the shade – keeping these precious rolls out of direct sunlight will help to keep the temperature down, which will slow the composting process.
- Re-stack your turf rolls into smaller stacks – allow space between the rolls to increase air flow
- Do not water rolled up turf – it will actually speed up the degeneration process
- Consider unrolling them in a shaded area, you will then be able to water them (but never water them while rolled)
- Only buy your turf from a trusted company who haven’t had the turf rolls hanging around in storage.
Aftercare to Ensure Longevity
There is no reason why, with adequate care, your newly laid lawn won’t last a lifetime. These tips should help you to care for your new law:
- Lay your turf on wet, properly prepared ground
- Water your new lawn well, as soon as it’s laid
- Water your new lawn daily – in the summer you may have to water the lawn twice a day (morning and evening)
- Continue to water your lawn daily until you are sure it's well rooted (up to four weeks)
- Don’t walk on your new lawn for around six weeks after laying (although ‘light traffic’ should be okay after three to four weeks)
- The first few times you cut your new lawn be very gentle and don’t cut too much off, collect all the grass cuttings straight away
- Use fertiliser to feed your lawn but only once the lawn has been laid for at least 6 weeks (use a fertiliser specific to the time of year)
- Rake up any fallen leaves regularly.
So, it’s best to avoid the DIY store’s pallet of composting turf rolls, and order your turf from a trusted company who will deliver freshly harvested turf straight to your door.
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