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Laying new turf on weedy soil

Last post 10-07-2009 11:35 AM by bigsusan55. 2 replies.

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  • 09/07/2009 10:52 AM
    • bec501uk
    • Hertfordshire
    • 09 Jul 2009
    • 1
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    We are just about to lay new turf in our garden but our soil is still full of roots as the garden was very overgrown before we started work. We have used a mechanical cultivator to turn over the soil and applied a weed killer but still some small weeds have started to return. We have ordered new top soil and will be laying that along with a fertiliser before we lay the turf but should I be concerned about the weeds coming through from the old soil layer? We have done everything we can to get rid of the weeds and roots, and followed all the advice regarding soil preparation, but obviously I do not want to lay our new lawn if it is going to be ruined by what is underneath

    Any advice?


  • 09/07/2009 01:03 PM
    Top 10 Contributor
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    Very bad idea to lay turf in summer in case heavy watering is needed to avoid it curling at the edges, goingbrown and developing dead patches.  Leave it until autumn and take the opportunity to eradicate weeds in the meantime.



    Beware the bat-eared bogweevil
  • 10/07/2009 11:35 AM
    • bigsusan55
    • North-West London
    • 14 May 2009
    • 144
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    Agree with Boggy - our neighbours have just laid some new turf and despite heavy watering (and heavy rain Sad)  it is browning quickly.  Wait until the autumn and lay it then.  (I don't know why this paragraph suddenly decided to be in italic, but I can't change it back!).

    Weeds that are coming back will be of two types:-

    - the annual seeds that have taken the opportunity to germinate once they ahve seen the light of day.  You won't need to worry too much about those.

    - perennial  weeds, such as dandelions, bindweed and coarse grasses.  These will definitely come up through your new lawn and be a real menace.  The best way to get rid of them is to allow them tomake some new growth so that there is plenty of leaf area, then spray with a glyphosate based weedkiller, such as Tumbleweed.  This is a bit more expensive than some, but has two great advantages.  Firstly, it is absorbed though the leaves and taken by the plant down into the roots, so killes the whole plant.  Secondly, it is neutralised on contact with the soil, so doesn't cause any problems with planting afterwards.  It takes longer to show an effect than other weeds, but this alows it to trick the plant into taking it down to the roots before killing the lot.  Ocassionally you might have to give a second application to kill things like bindweed or brambles.

    Once you have really killed the weeds you should find that the soil breaks up much more easily, so that you can then firm it evenly, to prevent lumps later.  If it is heavy, think about improving this layer, rather than simply slapping the topsoil and turf on top.  Lawns need good preparation if they are ever to do well.

    A good book is "The Lawn Expert" by Dr D G Hessayon.

    Susan B