When is the best month to lay lawn turf?

One of the most commonly asked questions is ‘When is the best time to lay lawn turf?'. Fortunately, turf can be laid year-round, but will require a different approach depending on the conditions. 

When to lay turf depends on the weather and ground conditions, as well as matching the most appropriate aftercare to those conditions which vary by season, depending on temperature and rainfall. 

The optimum time to turf a lawn is during spring or autumn when the ground preparation and aftercare is easiest, the turf can establish before the heat of summer or without lying dormant in the winter. Having said that, there’s no reason why you can’t lay lawn turf in winter or summer and have equally great results, albeit with a different approach to aftercare. Turf in the winter will take longer to establish, but will not need watering and mowing as it would the rest of the year round. In the summer turf will establish much quicker but is likely to need more frequent mowing and daily watering. 

Whatever time of year you’re planning to lay your new lawn, understanding the conditions and the right aftercare will ensure success, and we’ve got you covered. 

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Can turf be laid in Autumn? 

Yes, less ground preparation should be required to lay the turf and more rainfall with mild temperatures make autumn a great month for turf establishing itself.  

  • Autumn months: September - November
  • Average UK temperatures: 4 - 19°C
  • Key considerations: rainfall vs watering
  • Time to establish: 2 - 3 weeks

Autumn ground is normally soft without being over-saturated and waterlogged, making ground preparation far easier than in other seasons. There’s also less risk of shrinkage than in warmer months. Once laid, aftercare will rely on how much rainfall there is and therefore how much additional watering is needed. 

Watering newly laid turf in autumn

The cooler temperatures mean newly laid turf is a lot less likely to dry out. In most cases, installing late September and October will coincide with increased rainfall in the UK, which may be all the watering your new lawn requires.

When to mow new turf in autumn 

Quick rooting turf like Rolawn’s Medallion Turf, can fully establish as early as 10 days and certainly within 2 - 3 weeks. This means it will be ready to cut within the first three weeks of its life and need only a handful of cuts before lying dormant throughout winter. As with an established lawn, it’s best to keep your lawn clear of leaves and debris throughout autumn and winter. The cooler temperatures mean newly laid turf is a lot less likely to dry out. In most cases, installing late September and October will coincide with increased rainfall in the UK, which may be all the watering your new lawn requires.

Can you lay turf in winter?

Yes, as long as the ground isn’t frozen and too hard, laying new turf in winter is ideal if you want to have an established lawn ready for the brighter days in spring.  

  • Winter months: December - February
  • Average UK temperatures: 2 - 9°C
  • Key considerations: frost, ice and snow
  • Time to establish: Until Turf is rooted and ground temps are consistently above 5°C

Laying turf in winter can still achieve great results, especially as the lawn has time to root and establish with minimal wear. As temperatures drop, the ground will harden, meaning more preparation time and effort is needed. Turning over and preparing the ground is critical, and laying turf is best avoided when the soil is fully frozen or when there’s snow and ice.

Does new turf need watering in winter?

Minimal watering should be needed for turf laid in Winter. If it's a particularly mild winter, you may need to give your new lawn a gentle water, but best to check freezing temperatures are not likely for a few days afterwards. 

How to establish new turf in winter 

Mowing your new lawn is best left until the end of the season and into early spring, just as you would any established lawn. Once rooted, the turf will lay dormant and unlikely to show signs of growth until the temperatures increase. As in autumn, be sure to keep your new lawn free of leaves and debris. 

Is spring the best time of year to lay turf? 

Yes, the ground will be soft and have more natural moisture so spring is an ideal time for laying new turf if you want it ready for summer. 

  • Spring months: March - May
  • Average temperatures: 3 - 17°C
  • Key considerations: rainfall vs watering
  • Time to establish: 2- 3 weeks 

As the ground begins to thaw and frosts subside, you’re back to the best turf-laying conditions with soft soil and good moisture levels, making preparation and aftercare much easier. 

How often to water new turf in spring

Your new grass plants will need plenty of water to ensure that they stay healthy and thrive while they become established. Weather depending, in spring this usually means twice a day, morning and evening for the first week, then a few times a week before the midday sun thereafter. 

Mowing and maintenance after laying turf in spring 

Aim to mow your new lawn once a fortnight during spring, and more frequently if it's established and the grass is growing quickly. It’s tempting in the spring months to start using the lawn as soon as it's laid but be sure to give your turf enough time to root and establish before walking over it frequently. It will take 2- 4 weeks to root and be fully usable in normal spring weather.

Can you lay turf in Summer? 

Yes, although the ground can dry and harden, the right ground preparation and consistent aftercare will ensure you will have an established new lawn quickly in summer. 

  • Summer months: June - August
  • Average temperatures: 9 - 22°C
  • Key considerations: keeping your turf hydrated - Watering newly lay turf is esential  
  • Time to establish: 2-3 weeks

As temperatures continue to rise during the summer months, the ground you lay your turf on can become sunbaked and harden. This requires a lot more effort to prepare and turn the soil and create an ideal environment to maintain good turf hydration. Raking water-retaining gel or crystals evenly through the soil and watering the ground as you lay will help the soil stay moist. 

How to water new turf in summer 

Order your turf to be delivered on the day you intend to lay it and keep it out of the direct sun. When it arrives, lay immediately and water thoroughly and continue to water it during the laying process. It’s best to water the ground beneath the rolls as you go, and then water each strip of turf again. 
Once your turf is laid, you’ll need to keep a good watering routine to avoid shrinkage and gapping across the joins. We recommend using a sprinkler or misting with a hosepipe and standard nozzle every morning and evening across the full span of the lawn. 
A hot dry summer can often lead to hosepipe bans, but make sure you check the detailed rules of your local water company if they enforce a ban, as usually water companies allow you to water newly laid turf.  

Mowing newly laid turf in summer

Once the turf is anchored to the soil (try lifting an edge and if it sticks, the roots should be well established), you can start cutting your lawn. The ideal frequency for mowing your new lawn in summer is once a week. 

Year-round aftercare for your new turf 

Aside from the winter months, be sure to water your turf once in the morning and once in the evening for approximately one month after laying. We also recommend you mow your new lawn once a week, taking approximately 25% off the length. 

Need more professional advice on laying turf? 

Feel free to get in touch with our knowledgeable team at The London Lawn Turf Company if you need any further advice on laying lawn turf. We are not only suppliers of London’s finest turf and topsoil, we also have a team of professional landscapers who can lay your turf for you, to ensure you get the best results.