Ornamental Landscaping: Sourcing and laying of cultivated turf for use in ornamental landscaping

1. Turf

1.1 To be grown by a member of the Turfgrass Growers Association (TGA), supplied to the TGA Standard for Cultivated Turf.
1.2 Typical seed mixture used in turf for ornamental landscaping:

30-50% slender creeping red fescue
10-40% chewings fescue
0-30% smooth stalked meadowgrass

Cultivars of the above species should be chosen from the current STRI Turfgrass Seed booklet.

1.3 Soil type: the soil in which the turf was grown should match as closely as possible the soil on which it will be laid.
1.4 Turf size: turf shall be supplied in either small rolls or big rolls. Small rolls will be 600mm wide and 1.65m long – total area 1m2. Big rolls can be supplied in a variety of sizes, to be agreed in advance.
1.5 General health of turf: the sward must be green and must not be visibly affected by any pest or disease.
1.6 Cutting height: the height of the sward when harvested should not exceed 35mm.
1.7 Thickness of thatch or fibre: the thickness of uncompressed thatch should be between 5 and 15mm.
1.8 Thickness of soil: the soil layer beneath the thatch should be between 5 and 15mm deep.


2. Preparation

2.1 At least 100mm topsoil is required for healthy growth of grass. Where there is no subsoil, at least 300m2 of topsoil is required.
2.2 Supply and spread pre-turfing fertiliser over area to be turfed.
2.3 Lightly cultivate, harrow and rake topsoil into a fine tilth suitable for final grading.
2.4 Remove all extraneous material including all debris and perennial weeds, and all surface stones in excess of 35mm.
2.5 Rake to a true, even, consolidated surface. To avoid compaction do not work with wet soil.


3. Storage

3.1 Turf should be delivered to site within 36 hours of lifting (note: in spring and summer this period should be reduced to ensure turf is fresh and green on delivery).
3.2 Care should be taken whilst transporting to avoid deterioration or damage.
3.3 Turf is a highly perishable product, particularly in warm weather. Preparations should, therefore, be made to lay the turf as soon as possible after delivery. Turf should be laid the day of delivery during hot weather.
3.4 Turf is to be unloaded clear of those areas to be turfed.
3.5 Prior to laying, turf should be stacked on flat level ground preferably in a shaded area.


4. Laying Turf

4.1 Start laying the turf along a straight side, butting the ends closely together.
4.2 On subsequent rows, stagger the joints like brickwork, making sure that there are no gaps. If you need to adjust the position of the turf after unrolling, always push it rather than pulling it to avoid stretching.
4.3 Work from planks laid on the newly laid turf to avoid making footprints.
4.4 Make sure that there is complete contact between the underside of the turf and the topsoil. If necessary, tamp or roll the turf lightly as you go along.
4.5 Try not to leave any gaps between the turfs, but if they do occur they should be filled with topsoil and lightly firmed


5. Watering

5.1 Water immediately after laying.
5.2 The first watering should ensure that the soil is damp to a depth of 100mm. Keep the turf, and the soil under it, damp – you can check this by turning up a corner of the turf.
5.3 Do not over-water the turf. Over-watering will create boggy conditions and promote grass diseases.
5.4 In the days following, water only in the morning and early evening.
5.5 Water less and less frequently over the first 28 days. The turf should never be allowed to dry out and go brown in this period.