PREPARATION AND LAYING OF INSTANT LAWN AND AFTERCARE
A. Before planting Instant lawn: Preparation of soil:
a. Loosen soil with a garden fork up to the depth of the fork or use a garden rotavator.
b. Eliminate drainage problems with a very slight slope away from the house, other buildings or solid walls.
c. Allow for the thickness of the instant lawn sods along driveways, lawn edging and pathways by leaving a depth of about 4 to 5cm.
d. Prepare the ground by raking over, removing ALL weeds, grass, large stones, rubble, concrete etc. Level off and break up large clods.
e. Fill in holes with soil where necessary. If large amounts of soil are used for filling deep holes it is advisable to compact this area to prevent later subsidence. A cheap weight can be made using an empty 5L paint tin (or similar) filled with concrete and or stones. Make a handle for lifting using strong wire threaded through each side just below the rim of the tin. Lifting the weight and dropping from a height repeatedly will compact the soil.
f. Most South African soil is suitable for Kikuyu instant grass but certain circumstances may require treatment. If you have clay soil or very sandy loose soil or have had problems with plant growth in the past – follow g. h. and i. below.
g. Test your soil pH. An ideal ph for lawn is between 6.2 and 6.5. A simple basic and cheap test is to add baking soda to a soil sample – if it fizzes the soil is acidic or adding vinegar to another soil sample – if it fizzes the soil is alkaline. Commercial sampling is of course accurate and samples taken from various area should be done. Adding lime (dolomite lime) will make soil less acidic. Please always refer to packaging instructions. A 1 to 2cm layer of wood ash will also help to raise pH or a layer of 150gm per sq m of DRIED chicken manure will assist in alkalizing acid soil. (Due to odour the application of wet chicken manure is prohibited in suburban areas).
h. A soil pH of over 6.5 it is too alkaline for optimum growth and nutrient absorption and pH should be adjusted. This is uncommon but can occur and applying acid compost or acid fertilizer will help to regulate the pH.
i. If clay is present applying granular gypsum (calcium sulfate) will help. Please
always refer to package instructions. But a soil analysis should be done. Correcting heavy clay soil can take as long as 6 months to a year and needs to be done before planting lawn, professional advice is necessary. For sandy very loose soil apply plenty of compost.
j. Apply a general fertilizer, 2:3:2, as per instructions on the package and rake in lightly.
B. Laying the instant lawn rolls:
a. Dampen the soil at least 4 to 12 hours before laying the instant lawn and in very hot weather again just before laying. Too much water will create mud causing an uneven messy job.
b. Lay the lawn as soon as possible after delivery. Stack the rolls in shade and keep them damp if not able to lay immediately.
c. Choose the straightest and longest edge to start laying. And begin at the furthest point. Avoid walking excessively over newly laid rolls.
d. Roll the instant lawn without stretching or pulling the sods or compacting them together.
e. Lay the grass rows in a brickwork pattern, staggering the joins
f. If laying on a slope – grass sods will initially need to be pegged.
g. Do not leave gaps between the rolls or overlap the rolls.
h. Laid lawn may be watered as you finish small section.
i. Trim any edges next to garden beds, driveways, etc. with a sharp spade.
j. Top dressing may be applied thinly which will help to retain moisture in your new lawn, but this is not essential.
k. When you’ve completed laying the entire area – water thoroughly.
l. If the soil wasn’t properly prepared prior to watering you may have an uneven surface. Correct this by watering deeply and then rolling in a criss‐cross pattern.
m. Rollers may be hired from plant hire companies.
n. Before rolling the instant lawn the area must be well watered to soften the soil sufficiently for leveling.
C. After care:
a. Water the lawn well every morning for about 2 weeks, or twice a day in very hot conditions, but don’t keep it flooded. This is critical for the survival of the lawn. Check the depth of the water level by lifting a corner of a roll, the water should have reached the depth of the roots, and then every second or third day for another 2 weeks, depending on weather conditions. Hot conditions may require more frequent watering and cooler conditions less watering.
b. When the roots have taken, after about 2 to 3 weeks, the lawn may be mowed.
Again, check the depth of the roots by lifting a corner of a roll. The first couple of times the cut should be high so as not to lift the bedding in rolls.
c. Another application of general fertilizer, 2:3:2, may be applied 6 to 8 weeks after
planting, but please water this in well to prevent burning the grass.
d. Continue to water your Instant lawn deeply twice a week in summer and once a week in winter.
e. Dogs can cause major damage by digging before the lawn is properly rooted
and their toilet habits can burn the grass.
NB: YOUR GRASS ROLLS WILL BE DELIVERED TO YOU IN A HEALTHY CONDITION, SO PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THEREAFTER YOUR LAWN NEEDS CONTINUAL CARE. FAILURE TO WATER, MOW, WEED AND FERTILIZE REGULARLY WILL RESULT IN FAILURE TO THRIVE AND EVENTUAL DIE OFF.