When is the Best Time to Lay Turf? A Month-by-Month Guide

by Jason Lyons

One of the most common questions when it comes to creating a new lawn it, ‘When is the best time to lay turf?’

The fact is, you can lay turf at any time of year but if you’re going to the expense of laying turf, you should know what to expect during each season.

The Best Time of Year to Lay Turf

According to David Hedges-Gower, the UK’s leading lawn expert and author of ‘Modern Lawn Care, The Complete Guide to a Happy and Healthy Lawn’, you shouldn’t shy away from laying turf in any season.

All you need to is;

  • Choose the best turf for your garden
  • Prepare the ground properly
  • Make sure there are plenty of nutrients in the soil by applying a fertiliser, and
  • Water regularly if there’s no rain

That being said, some seasons do provide better conditions than others.

Laying Turf in Spring

Spring, between March and June is an excellent time to lay turf.

The’re plenty of sunlight which warms the soil and there’s generally plenty of rain too. This provides the ideal growing conditions for grass plants to establish roots, grow and establish themselves fairly quickly.

During spring, leaf growth is fairly quick as the grass plants try to grow tall and produce seed heads. However, mowing regularly means you won’t see the whole process.

Some years provide all the rainfall your new lawn needs. Most years though, there’s not enough rain so you’ll need to supplement by turning sprinklers on.

Turfing a Lawn in Summer

Many gardeners will tell you that you shouldn’t lay turf in summer as it’s too hot and dry. However, rain is often a staple of UK summers so you can lay turf very successfully.

That being said, turf which is harvested in the summer won’t last very long so you MUST lay it and water it generously within hours of delivery. So make sure you’ve prepared the ground before you even think about ordering.

If it’s warm and there’s not rain, you’ll need to water heavily, twice a day. Once in the morning and again in the evening.

Growth tends to slow in the summer so your new lawn might take a little longer to establish than it would at other times of the year.

Laying Turf in Autumn

Autumn is the best time to lay turf.

The soil will have been warmed up all the way through the summer, there’s still plenty of sun and the increased rain fall makes for perfect conditions.

Still, be prepared to water the lawn if rainfall is lacking.

Also, during autumn, the grass plants start to prepare themselves for the winter.

Instead of growing fresh leaves which are vulnerable to frost, they grow deep roots where the soil is warmer.

Then, by the time spring arrives, your new lawn will have a very strong, well established root system which is primed for leaf growth. This will give you a lawn which is primed and ready for your family to use right the way through the season.

Laying New Turf in Winter

Turfing a new lawn in Winter is perfectly fine as long as;

  1. You don’t do it when the ground is waterlogged, and
  2. You avoid frosty conditions

Al long as you can rotavate the soil and create a fine tilth, you’re in good shape.

If the ground is too wet then you’ll not only make a mess but the chances of your lawn being level is next to zero.

And if the ground is frozen, you’ll not only create more work for yourself but you’ll also risk damaging your tools and killing the new turf.

Be prepared to water the lawn in winter too. If there’s no rain, turn the sprinklers on.

Growth and root development slows down in winter so you might find that you’ll be able to lift the edges of the turf for several weeks. This is OK but make sure you keep off the lawns. As long as the turf stays green all is OK .

Then, when spring rolls around, you’ll start to see your new lawn establish itself and grow fairly quickly.

In Conclusion

The fact is, you can lay turf at any time of the year.

Autumn is ideal but spring is also excellent.

Summer generally provides the least favourable conditions due to hot or dry conditions but even so, we get plenty of rain during summer in the UK so there’s no need to avoid it completely.

And there’s no reason why you can’t do it during the winter either.

The main point is to do it when the weather conditions are on your side. So check them before starting the work and be prepared to turn the sprinklers on, no matter what time of year you do it.