Seeding or Turfing

Seeding or Turfing

A lawn treatment or a lawn feed helps to keep your grass in great condition but when your lawn is thin or just soil you have to make a choice between turfing or seeding.

Turf should never be laid onto old turf or old lawn so cutting and removing the old turf and root base is the first step which usually requires a skip for disposal. A site needs to be rotavated or cultivated this does two things it breaks up compacted soil into a friable seed bed and aerates the top surface. Stones are graded and removed then surfaces leveled/rolled and or fresh topsoil added when turfing or seeding. You have to spend time and effort to create a bed for best results site preparation is key.

Which you choose to use depends upon the site and soil its worth remembering this is the only time you can really amend any soil sicknesses or issues which will affect your turf later on especially drainage and compaction. When working with ph again its best to use soil based upon your ph requirement. I see time and time again compacted clay under new turf usually when top soil has been removed during building work and a sites  been leveled with subsoil and a mini digger or turf that has been laid upon old to cut corners but compacted clay is no different to a pond liner and if baked in becomes a solid layer. This simply leaves the roots with nowhere to grow. So within a year your new lawn begins to degrade from the roots up as the roots do not grow downwards defeating the point of laying the lawn.


Laying turf always costs more than growing from seed but ground works and site preparation costs and labor are similar to one another. Second to the turf itself the next largest outlay is soil. Just leveling out and raising a 100m2 lawn by one inch can take up to 3.5 tons of soil. Again its worth spending some time looking at your soil and sourcing good quality as you cant change it later. So make sure you get a graded or blended topsoil that matches your requirements.


Grades of soil

Most top soil can be graded to 10 to 20 mm in most situations you will not need anything more than a layer of topsoil to level a lawn. But in some situations you may apply a more sand based 80/20 top dressing particularly if your soil is clay based. Or may need to apply a compost blend.


Prior to laying turf or sowing seed a fertilizer high in phosphate and potassium can be added to ensure the new roots develop as quickly as possible and have all the nutrients they require for optimum growth.


Irrigation of seed and new turf can be similar in the frequency and amount so there is no real saving between the two in both scenarios the more you water the better the result. The water pulls the root system downwards as roots will actively seek out nutrients and water so if water is at the surface roots will grow upwards.


If you are aware you have a drainage problem simply seeding or turfing will not correct this. You can only do so much. Yes more plants from seed and more roots will help but only so much and may simply rot if not given sufficient surface drainage layer. Waterlogged areas will not change unless the cause of that problem is amended.

When to turf

Honestly the only reason to turf is when you desire an instant result or gradients you would otherwise seed onto would cause the seed to wash away. Or if adverse conditions that do not allow seed to germinate are approaching would be a prime reason to consider turf. The majority of lawns can be restored with topdressing and seeding and good cultural practice. Most lawns are suffering from compaction, malnutrition and or have had incorrect treatments which have led to a soil sickness.

Cost vs Quality

You really get what you pay for with a lawn as well as turf and seed its always worth spending time checking your turf as quality varies from every supplier. We regularly recommend only using sole turfing companies who can offer complete installation and correct ground works with some guarantee to their work. Its worth shopping around for quotes with turfing but many lawns can be restored with seeding. If your lawns tired and your considering turfing give us a call and see what our lawn renovation program can do for you first.


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