Garden Advice

Can You Lay Turf in the Rain

Laying turf in the rain is a soggy affair, but we, in the UK, have gotten used to the wet weather. After all, how would we get anything done in the Winter and Autumn if we waited for sunshine? While it can come with its extra challenges, laying turf in wet weather will be worth the work; like saving on your water bill. Without further ado, let’s answer the question: Can you lay turf in the rain?

So if you:

  • Are looking to lay a new roll of turf;
  • Fear that your plans will be hampered by bad weather;
  • Want to install your turf anyways;

Read on!

What to consider before laying turf in the rain

In answer to the question; yes you can lay turf in the rain, otherwise, this post would have been rather short! Still, you should consider that there is some extra work involved when laying your new lawn in wet weather and you’ll have to keep an eye on some possible challenges that might arise. On that note, there are also some advantages of completing this task during a rainy spell. So, let’s talk about both the pros and cons of laying turf in the rain.

Pros of installing turf when it rains

Surprisingly, there is a major benefit to laying turf in the rain; namely, that you’ll be able to save some water! Turf needs some time to establish properly and to do this, it needs to be sufficiently watered. That means, if it’s raining enough, Mother Nature will take care of the job for you and you’ll save some hard-earned cash on your water bills.

You see, on rainy days, the risk of the grass blades wilting is minimal, even if the soil temperature is high and the air is warm. That means that the turf will have an easier time establishing, as moisture in the air on an overcast or rainy day will help the soil retain water for longer. Therefore, Spring and Autumn are often the best times to lay turf, as the extra rain can save you a lot of trouble. Especially if you live in an area that suffers from drought regularly in the Summer.

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Cons of laying new lawn during wet weather

The main disadvantage of installing turf on a rainy day is that it can be a rather messy job. Muddy pools of water on the soil surface, soil compaction if the latter is on the clayey side, poor drainage and overall insufficient preparation of the ground where you intend to lay your new turf can all lead to failing results.

So, read on to learn about what you should look out for, in order to get the job done successfully, even if it rains.

What to keep in mind when turfing in the rain

As we’ve mentioned, turfing in the rain requires a little extra work and care. Granted, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, as long as you’ve prepared your soil properly and are careful when laying the rolls of turf out. Still, there are some things you need to pay attention to, before laying your new lawn.

Soggy soil

This is the only issue that can cause a halt to your plans. While it’s fine for the soil you’re laying the turf on to be moist, you don’t want it waterlogged. If your soil looks more like chocolate cake mix, it might be best to wait for it to dry out, as it can be more difficult for your turf to take root.

Laying turf on wet soil

  • Make a small trench around the area, which will help with drainage. This tip is especially good for larger areas.
  • If preparing a smaller area, turn it over with a fork rather than rotovating it, which will help you avoid a muddy mess.
  • You can lay turf on sand, which some contractors recommend, though we don’t. Sand isn’t very good at holding nutrients and will result in you having to fertilise and treat your lawn more.
  • Lay a tarpaulin on the prepared soil, especially if you’re expecting heavy rainfall.
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Soil consistency

Soil consistency plays a massive role in how well your turf will turn out. Wet weather can increase the chances of compaction within the soil, which can result in dips. This is especially problematic if you’re planning to lay turf on clay soil, as clay is easier to compact than its’ counterparts.

It’s easy enough to avoid compaction, you just need to avoid stepping on your soil directly. To do this, invest in some laying boards, which will help spread your weight more evenly on the surface. This is equally important to do when you’re actually laying the turf. Nobody wants to finish laying, just to see a litany of dips and valleys all over your lawn.

Sufficient watering

Now, we mentioned you can save on your water bill, so why are we bringing up sufficient watering? That’s because you’ll need a fair amount of rain, in order for your turf to get the water that it needs. So, that means if you’re laying a new lawn in a light drizzle, you’ll still either need to get your hose or sprinkler out.

You can check underneath the turf whether water has reached the topsoil, so you should be fine. Just keep in mind that newly installed turf should be watered thoroughly for around 2-3 weeks after you’ve laid it.

Keeping your turf fresh

If it’s still too wet to lay your turf, you may need to wait for conditions to improve. If you do need to wait, make sure your turf is fully unrolled. Skipping this advice may result in your turf starting to deteriorate after 2 days.

It doesn’t matter where you keep it, as long as it’s unrolled and has adequate shelter. Though, we must stress: Don’t cover your turf with tarpaulin! Your prepared soil, absolutely, but you run the risk of drying out your turf if you cover it with a tarp, as heat builds up much quicker underneath it.

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Need help installing some turf?

If the thought of laying turf sounds too arduous, why not let us at Fantastic Services help? We can provide you premium turf laying services, performed by gardening professionals, who can take care of your turf woes for you. The experts are fully equipped and experienced in dealing with any size lawn, with a variety of different turf types. Plus, we can even lay artificial grass if you don’t have the time or patience to deal with real turf.

Laying turf is already quite the task and laying it in the rain doesn’t make it any easier or more enjoyable. So, don’t put yourself through it. Get a gardening professional, who will take care of the job for you. Start enjoying your beautiful new lawn without the hard work!

Laying some turf?

Book a Fantastic gardener today!

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Takeaways

  • Laying turf when it’s raining comes with its own set of challenges, though is far from impossible.
  • If your soil is too soggy, it’s best to leave it to dry. Laying turf on waterlogged soil will only cause more problems.
  • Make sure to use laying boards, so you spread your weight evenly over the soil, which will leave you with a flat finish.
  • Make sure to leave your turf unrolled, as leaving it rolled for 2 days will cause it to begin deteriorating.

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Did you find our post helpful? Then, please share it around! Have you ever laid turf in the rain? Feel free to tell our readers how it went in the comments below!

Header image source: Shutterstock/ By Ingrid Balabanova

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