How To Assess Your Soil
In assessing your soil, it is important to understand the two different compositions of soil that should be beneath your lawn. These two types of soil are topsoil and subsoil.
Topsoil is the top layer of soil that the grass takes its nutrients from and is rich in organic matter. It is much darker in colour than subsoil and this is because of the organic matter it contains. Topsoil supports the insect life within the soil because of its smaller, softer particles and its direct proximity to the atmosphere. It is important for the soil directly below the lawnturf to support insect life as these insects break up the soil and allow for better drainage and aeration alongside providing a continuous replacement of the organic matter within the soil
The subsoil is the layer of soil beneath the topsoil. It is lighter in colour due to the lack of organic matter in the soil. The subsoil is important because it holds the iron and aluminum contents of the soil that are important to maintaining healthy topsoil above. Subsoil is more compact and doesn’t allow for aeration which makes it unsuitable for supporting insect life.
The problem that may exist within your topsoil could be due to a couple of different aspects of the soil.
If you have any queries about how to assess your soil, we would be happy to address them, please do not hesitate to give us a call.
Measure Your Lawn
This guide will help you to measure your lawn. Measuring up properly means you order the right amount. You do not want order less than needed and you do not want the cost of going over.
The area of a square or rectangular shape can be measured by simply multiplying the length by the width as shown in the example below.
Measuring Square & Rectangle Shapes
Length x Width = area
Measuring Circle Shapes
3.14 x R x R = Area
Where R = Half the width across the circle
Measuring Triangle Shapes
0.5 x Base x Height
Measuring irregular shaped Lawns
Even unusual shaped lawns can be measured quite accurately by using the following method.
Draw the shape of your garden as accurately as you can on some paper. Divide the shape into as many rectangles as necessary to cover your sketch as shown in the diagram. Then measure the length x width of each triangle as described above. Add the area of all the rectangles together to get the total area of your garden.
How to Prepare Your Soil for Lawn Turf?
One of the main ingredients for a quality lawn is good soil. A good quality soil will have the right balance of sand and muddy organic nutrients. Sand allows air into the soil and helps to prevent compaction. The muddy organic element in the soil helps to retain water and nutrients.
The very best quality soils for a beautiful lawn will have a ph level of between 6 – 7. The good news is if you do not have the best quality soil you can improve most soils by adding the missing ingredients. The Lawn Turf Farm can supply various top soil mixes that have the perfect blend for your lawn. Proper soil improvement before you plant your lawn turf will provide the essential ingredients for a quality healthy lawn.
You can also add fertilisers to improve your soil. A starter fertiliser can also be used before installing the sod. It should be high in phosphate. This is normally written on the bag and is the middle number, e.g. 5-10-20; in this case 10 is the amount of phosphate. It can be applied at a rate of 1kg per 40sq m (take note of the instructions on the particular bag). It can be raked onto the soil or shaken out over lawn turf after installation. Some fertilisers are not suitable for new lawns as they can burn the roots; particularly if too much is applied and it is not raked into the soil properly.
How To Prepare the Area for Lawn Turf?
Dig to a depth of between around 12cm, raking off any debris – (debris includes rocks, roots, clumps, stones which are larger than 3cm in diameter.)
Ensure you have at least 10cm (4″) of quality topsoil suitable for the area. Without the right topsoil, you run the risk of disease developing with your new sod over time. Rake the topsoil to a depth of about 3cm (1 inch), lightly rolling. Any hollows will then be visible.
Grade the slope away from buildings and try to level out steep slopes where possible.
You’re now ready to lay your lawn turf.
How To Lay Lawn Turf?
Organise delivery of your lawn sod for when you have prepared your soil (see How to Prepare Your Soil for Lawn Turf) and for the day that you are ready to install (for best results it is advised you install the lawn turf within 24 hours of delivery). When your lawn turf comes, ensure to leave it in the shade or in a shed. If you do not plan on completing the job that day this is extra important.
Be sure and organise sufficient help for the job at hand.
Establish a straight line to work to such as a straight path, kerb or driveway and lay your first lawn turf roll in line with this. If there isn’t any straight lines, create one using two posts and a string.
* Use boards to kneel on while laying the turf to avoid making depressions in the soil.
When joining rolls ensure a tight fit and that it is not overlapping. As you lay the next row of lawn turf, stagger the joints. Ensure you pack the rolls tightly together (using a board/floor board). Avoid stretching the rolls. Use a serrated knife to cut or trim the turf where required. With slopes. lay the turn so that they cross the slope as opposed to with the slope. With extreme slopes you can stake the rolls to keep them in place until the lawn turf takes hold.
Once your lawn is laid, roll with a one third filled roller.
Generously water your lawn turf straight after laying. Ensure the turf is saturated evenly throughout.
For the next two weeks, keep the lawn moist (do not saturate). For the first few days water daily with 2.5cm (1″) of water (you can measure the amount being dispersed from the sprinkler via long shallow containers on the lawn when sprinkler is in action). As the lawn turf gets established, reduce frequency of watering. For more information please see How to water your lawn turf section.
Minimise / avoid walking on your new lawn for the first two weeks to allow the turf to establish a strong root system.
How to water your lawn turf?
Following laying of your lawn turf, for the next two weeks, keep the lawn moist (do not saturate). For the first few days water daily with 2.5cm (1″) of water (you can measure the amount being dispersed from the sprinkler via long shallow containers on the lawn when sprinkler is in action). As the lawn turf gets established, reduce frequency of watering. For more information please see How to water your lawn turf section.
Minimise / avoid walking on your new lawn for the first two weeks to allow the turf to establish a strong root system.
During hot summer days (which we don’t get many of in Ireland!) we’d suggest watering 2.5cm (1″) of water every 4 – 7 days. Without sufficient watering, your lawn can stop growing and can turn brown. Just like many plants, you shouldn’t over water your lawn. You should water it as required as the colour turns a greenish-blue. It is best to water in the morning before the sun shines as if watering in sunshine there would be greater evaporation. Evening watering should be avoided as the lawn remains damp longer and can lead to fungal growth.
A rule of thumb would be when you walk on the Lawn and your Foot prints stay on the Lawn for some time the Lawn needs watering.
How to mow your new lawn?
Your new lawn will start to root after 10 – 14 days. You can check by careful lifting a corner of your lawn you should see white roots shooting into the ground. Don’t let your need lawn grow too high before cutting. Set your lawn mower so that it doesn’t cut more than one third of the height of the grass at anyone time. Cutting more than ⅓ may leave brown patches of grass and slow down the establishment of the root system. Do not cut your lawn too short. An approximate height to aim for would be 5 to 6 centimetres, (2″) and 8 to 9 centimetres, (3-4″) in very warm weather. Properly mowing your lawn will help it stay healthy and to resist weeds, disease and insects.
In cases where the lawn has settled leaving some bumps or where it was not levelled properly at the outset this might mean you cut the grass too short in places (making it turn brown). If this occurs, increase the height of the lawn mower for the cutting of the rest of the lawn. You should lightly roll the lawn or fill any hollows with sand/soil.
You will need to cut your lawn approximately once per week (between April to September/October). Frequently cutting your lawn enables the production of shoots from the base of the lawn turf and will make for a fuller quality lawn.
Don’t let the grass grow too long before cutting. Cutting when long can cause damage as it shocks the grass and can leave your lawn patchy in places as well as turning the grass brown.
Keep your lawnmower blades sharp:
It is important to use a lawnmower with sharp blades as blunt blades can ‘tear’ the grass leading to discoloration which leaves the grass more prone to disease and insects.
Change mowing patterns:
When mowing your grass you should change the mowing pattern – this will reduce wear and tear and compaction as well as reduce the incidence of thatch at the base of the grass.
You should recycle your lawn clippings back into the grass, once they’re spread evenly across the surface as this acts as a good natural fertiliser. Remove clippings if in clumps or where there is a large degree of thatch. Care should be taken and the appropriate safety wear used when using any machinery and this goes for lawn cutting equipment. Ensure there are no particles (rocks/debris in the way of the mower).
How to maintain a quality lawn?
To keep a lush green healthy lawn, lawn feed should be used, starting in the Springtime and every 6-8 weeks with the correct seasonal fertiliser. Remember, your lawn is made up of many living grass plants, and like any plant, requires nourishment to thrive and remain strong (a strong lawn stops moss or weeds developing).
For grass to thrive it needs the following: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N P and K). Your lawn feed will indicate the percentage of these elements on their packaging in this order, for example; 9:7:7 on a fertiliser pack, refers to the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the lawn feed.
Spread the fertiliser evenly (this will prevent scorching and a balanced lawn colour.)
Use a fertiliser spreader that spins the lawn feed forward as opposed to one that dispenses through its underneath. This ensures that the lawn feed is applied evenly.
Spread the fertilizer before it is due to Rain. This will wash it into the soul quickly.
How to prevent/remove moss in your lawn?
Prevention is better than cure. By keeping your grass healthy and strong through proper fertilisation, mowing, aeration and cutting. Moss thrives in the following conditions: damp, shade, waterlogged, drought, where there is lack of nutrients in lawn, or where the lawn has been cut too short. It is very difficult to stop moss growing so be sure and use the appropriate moss treatments in the Spring time and in Autumn.
Lawn raking, using either a spring tine rake or an electric machine with hook line tines are relatively good at removing dead moss, moss killer in liquid form can be more effective than granular form. To promote microorganism activity, aerate the lawn to a depth of 7 to 10 centimetres (3-4″) at the start or end of Summer (May or September).
How to prevent/remove thatch?
Thatch is the name given to various debris in your lawn such as layers of old leaves, grass cuttings, roots, stems, and other organic material. This matter can fail to decompose if there’s insufficient microorganism activity.
Items that help contribute to thatch include poor soil drainage, compacted soils, and over watering.
Prevention methods include removing the items that cause thatch (various debris as detailed above), reduce frequency and amount of watering, and by increasing microorganism activity and by reducing nitrogen fertiliser by around 30% in early Spring. You should also aerate the lawn / soil to a depth of 7-10 cm (3-4″) in May or September.
For lawns with a serious amount of thatch a dethatching machine could be used – this may cause some damage to some parts of the lawn, but with the proper care, it should return as to before.
What is Scarification?
Scarification describes the process of removing surface thatch from a lawn.
When scarifying a smaller area, use a spring-tined rake. Mechanical tools are more convenient for larger lawns. Avoid scarifying too deeply, which can damage the turf. Make sure the scarifying height on mechanical equipment is adjustable.
How to aerate your lawn?
Some compaction may occur on an old lawn where, overtime, the soil naturally compacts. Where the lawn turf gets walked on regularly in the same area, especially when wet, it may also get compacted. Compacted soil results in poor soil aeration and restricts air, water and fertiliser penetration resulting in thin unhealthy grass.
Aerate the soil to a depth of 7 to 10 centimetres (3-4″) extracting soil cores (small lumps of clay) which can either be removed or broken down and left on the soil surface. A power driven aerator is the most effective method to relieve compaction. An additional benefit is the control of thatch, if it is present.
Aeration should take place when the lawn is actively growing and when the soil is moist but not wet. The best time to perform aeration is following the third cut of the Spring season or else in September.
Aeration can also help the lawn through drought stress conditions, enabling water retention in the crucial root zone. The opposite is also the case; flooding or waterlogging may occur if the soil is compacted.
As a rule of thumb, you should consider aerating your lawn every 1-2 years. For specific soil types and conditions you may need to aerate more frequently.
How to prevent / kill weeds in your lawn?
The Lawn Turf Farm will provide you with a dense, nutrient, weed free lawn turf. With the proper care you can help eliminate the growth of weeds (through the proper cutting). Where weeds do appear and where the weed is deep rooted, you could consider using a selective weed killer.
Get some advise from your Garden Centre when selecting the correct weed killer or same weed killer will also kill the Grass. The weeds should be actively growing in warm dry wheather when the weed killer is applied. The spray to work well must attach itself to the leaf on the weed.