Starting with The Soil: Laying Turf Preparation


JUNE, 2018

Lawn Care

The key to a new, thriving lawn is proper soil preparation. Laying turf preparation isn’t something you want to overlook, not if you want a healthy lawn. As well as assisting with establishment, good soil preparation will also make sure you have a level lawn. Although they are important components, soil preparation is more than just clearing debris and adding topsoil.

laying turf preparation

Depending on your current soil’s type and quality, you may need to take steps to improving it. However, if it is beyond help, you’ll need to excavate and install new soil. Good soil will be nutrient rich and won’t be compacted. This means the lawn’s roots will have access to water, air and nutrients.

To test the nutrients levels, you should do a pH test. Most lawn varieties, including DNA Certified Sir Walter grass, prefer a pH level between 6 and 7. If it is below 6, the soil is too acidic and can be treated with lime or dolomite. However, if it is above 7, it is too alkaline. A sulphur-based product will help you correct your soil in this case.

To see if your soil is too compacted, test it with a screwdriver or garden fork. You should be able to easily plunge it into the ground. If you can’t, you can alleviate compaction by aerating the soil or by applying gypsum which will break down clay and compaction.

You may need to excavate if your soil is beyond help or to rearrange and level out your soil. For small areas, you can use shovels and wheelbarrows but for larger areas, machinery will be necessary. While excavating keep an eye out for pipes and other infrastructure. You should also leave space for 100mm of topsoil and around 40mm (depending on turf variety) for your grass height above your soil.

aerate soil
good lawn prep

If you are installing new soil, check what type is best for your turf variety. Generally, it is a sandy loam, made up of 70% sand and 30% soil. The sand component allows for more air and water movement. When working out how much to purchase, simply multiply the area by the depth needed.

Once all the other preparation is done, spread out the soil evenly. Then level it out with rakes. Use a hand roller to give it a slight compaction and final level.

Add the topsoil and your yard will be ready for laying your new lawn.

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