When should I sow turf or plant the lawn?

When should I sow turf or plant the lawn?

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

31 guides

Having a nicely groomed lawn to relax in during sunny days is nice, but it requires a successful seeding and planting! A lawn is usually sown in September or October as it requires a wet soil, something that demands considerable watering efforts in the middle of spring. When it comes to planting your lawn, it's all in the rollers!

Important features

  • Weather
  • Preparation
  • Seasons
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When should I sow the lawn?

Before getting into the crux of the subject, let's take a moments to update our general knowledge and vocabulary. The term lawn is not a mere synonym for the word turf. According to its dictionary definition, the term lawn defines an area consisting essentially of grasses whose height does not exceed 10 centimeters. The term turf refers to a grass that is maintained dense and short by the intervention of external factors (mower, grazing, etc.). In other words, a lawn is natural while the turf is artificial. In this logical progression, a naturally growing lawn can eventually be considered turf if is artifically structured and maintained to a specific desired height.

Better fall than spring

Generally speaking, a lawn should be sown in the spring or fall. However, fall is by far the most ideal season for this type of garden work. Although it is very logical to want to get started in the spring in order to enjoy it during the summer, that is not the wisest choice. Here are three main reasons why this isn't the best alternative:

  • After sowing the lawn, the soil must remain very wet. If planted during the spring, the young shoots will appear in summer, therefore requiring constant irrigation. Since fall is typically very rainy, sowing during this season will allow for significant water savings;
  • Young grass shoots are very fragile. The site of a beautiful  green lawn through a window is often tempting. It's just there, ready to enjoy. This is a mistake: it is crucial to wait until the second mowing (at least three months) before you start frolicking in it;
  • Young shoots are at higher risk from high temperature than they are from the lower register. Spring sowing is therefore more hazardous.

Regional differences to consider

To maximize your chances of success, it's important to consider any regional climatic differences and to adapt your gardening projects according to these nuances.

As mentionned above, a young lawn is fragile. Whether the seeding finally takes place in the spring or the fall, it's crucial that it be done well before the first winter frost or any summer droughts.

For sowing in the fall, it's best to to start:

  • from the end of September to the end of November, for the southern half of France;
  • from mid-August to the end of October, for the northern half of France.

For a springsowing, the best is to start:

  • from the beginning of March to the end of May, for the southern half of France;
  • from early April to mid-June, for the northern half of France.

These periods are provided as general guidelines. They should naturally be adapted and modified to suit your personal environment and it's characteristics (average rainfall, altitude etc).

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When should I sow the turf?

Planting turf consists mainly of spreading rolls of turf, pre-grown by a professional, on a surface that has been prepared to receive them. This method saves considerable time and effort and achieves instantaneous results.

It has three major advantages:

  • No sowing is necessary;
  • The grass has already matured through all the fragile stages of sowing. It therefore requires less attention;
  • Aesthetically pleasing: the turf is dense, uniform, beautiful and resistant.

Climatic conditions should still be taken into account when laying down turf. Like for natural grass, Autumn is the ideal planting season, provided that the seeds are in the ground before the first winter frosts. Starting in the spring can something compromise solid grass roots.

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4 tips for a successful lawn seeding

While obtaining a beautiful lawn may look like child's play, there are a few general guidelines that will help you maximize your chances of success:

Tip 1: Pay attention to the weather

Pay close attention to the weather in regards to the ordering of the turf rolls. The rolls must be set within 24 hours of delivery, so this is an important factor to consider.

Tip 2: Schedule the planting time

Anticipate and schedule the required time in your busy schedule to complete the work on a specific day.

Tip 3: Ask for the help you need

Ask your friends for help. Each roll weighs about 20 kg. While it is physically possible for one man to do it, with a fair amount of effort, courage and elbow grease, the timing may be off, which could result in a less that satisfactory lawn.

Tip 4: Let the grass breathe

Once the work is done, it's only normal to celebrate with a quick break with your helpers, but only if it's on the terrace. The lawn still needs to take root before it can be traveled over. 3 months is the recommended waiting period before finally starting to enjoy your new lawn.

More Information

For Do-It-Yourselfers who are curious and want more know-how, follow the links below to find more resources, advice and guides:

Want other options to spruce up your exterior? Check out these ideas:

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Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford, 31 guides

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specializing in organic market gardening. A graduate of a professional baccalaureate in Agronomy and Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxford.   After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life.   From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.

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