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drought tolerant grass variety

Laying TifTuf Turf and Ongoing Maintenance

Sep 1, 2023

Starting the journey to grow a lush and vibrant TifTuf lawn is a truly rewarding experience. This guide will help you to either begin from scratch or refresh your existing lawn by laying TifTuf grass.

Step 1: Preparing for a New TifTuf Lawn in Easy Steps – Building the Foundation

To ensure success, prepare before laying TifTuf turf by following a series of necessary steps for your project. Especially when using TifTuf — a turf variety known for using very little water and being highly drought-tolerant:

  • Carefully remove any weeds and debris from the new area in preparation for turfing. Applying an environmentally friendly herbicide such as Roundup is a sound choice. Make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. Following the application, allow a few weeks before thoroughly clearing away the dead grass and proceeding with the addition of topsoil.
  • Thoroughly evaluate your soil’s drainage capacity and grade to guarantee proper water runoff.
  • Soil does not drain well when it has a clay-like consistency. If you have clay-like soil, use a mattock to plough up the top layer (around 15 – 20cm deep). Add gypsum as you go, which will help the soil to break up.
  • Addressing the soil’s pH level is important. Aim to adjust it to around 7.4 for the optimal health and vibrancy of your TifTuf lawn.
  • If it’s too acidic (pH is below 7.4), you need to add dolomite or agricultural lime, or chicken manure. If the pH is above 7.4, it’s too alkaline and you should add compost, horse manure, leaf litter or mulch. You can purchase PH testing kits from Bunnings or buy them online here.
  • Create an optimal environment for your TifTuf turf by creating a mixture of washed-river sand and soil. A ratio of 80% sand to 20% soil will yield a nurturing bed for the roots. Ensure a gap of 30mm from paths to allow for seamless integration.
  • Spread the soil evenly to make it flat. If not, air gaps may form when laying the turf.
  • Improve the soil by using a starter fertiliser like Lawn Launcher before installing TifTuf turf to prepare it properly. Read more on soil preparation here.

By following these steps, you’re on your way to a captivating lawn that will be the envy of the neighbourhood.

Step 2: TifTuf Turf Supply and Handling – Laying the Foundation

When the day arrives for the delivery of your freshly harvested TifTuf turf to your property, it’s a pivotal moment. To ensure optimal results, you should lay your TifTuf turf within 24 hours of when it was cut fresh. For the best outcome, try to complete the installation within 8 hours of delivery.

Keeping your TifTuf turf well-hydrated after delivery is very important. To prevent the turf from drying out and causing stress to the plant, water it frequently on hot days. You should do this even before laying the turf.

If a quick installation isn’t feasible, unroll the turf gently with the grass side facing upward on a level surface. Be sure to water it diligently to maintain its health, vigour, and readiness for its new home.

Step 3: Laying TifTuf Turf – The Art and Science of Placement

Laying your TifTuf turf will be a gratifying experience, but it requires attention to detail and care:

  • Arrange the turf slabs in a brick pattern, ensuring that the edges align and are staggered for an even appearance as the grass grows in. The edges of the turf slabs should butt up nicely against each other in straight lines, similar to a brick wall. Don’t leave gaps.
  • Orient your turf rolls so that the long edges run parallel to the longest edge of your space. This will make the process easier with less turf-cutting involved.
  • Where you have varying slopes, anchoring the turf is pivotal to its establishment. Utilising pegs is an effective method to achieve this stability until the turf takes root.
  • Trim the turf to meet the contours of your garden beds and pavers. Keep as much of each turf slab intact as possible. Smaller pieces tend to dry out more easily.
  • To achieve a level, even surface, lightly tamp down the turf or use a roller with a gentle touch.

Step 4: Nurturing Growth and Development

As your TifTuf lawn evolves and begins to establish itself, your stewardship of its growth becomes pivotal:

While TifTuf’s water needs decrease significantly after it has taken root (using only 38% of the water compared to other warm-season turf varieties) it still requires ample water during its initial establishment phase.

Just like any other type of turf, the leaves and roots need to remain consistently moist as they establish themselves. In hotter periods, it’s advisable to provide your new TifTuf lawn with thorough watering. Here’s a suggested watering schedule:

  • Weeks 1 to 3: Water deeply twice a day.
  • Weeks 4 & 5: Water deeply every other day.
  • Weeks 6 & 7: Water deeply twice a week.
  • From Week 8 onwards: Water deeply as needed, especially when signs of dryness become apparent.

Once the turf is laid, you need to mow TifTuf earlier than other varieties to ensure the best results. In the growing season, this is usually within two weeks of laying it. Make sure the roots are secure before you mow by gently pulling on the edges of the grass. It shouldn’t come up easily.

If parts of your TifTuf lawn is damaged or dries out and dies before it is established, replace it with turf from the same supplier to maintain a consistent appearance.

Step 5: Ongoing Care and Maintenance of TifTuf Lawns

The highly wear-tolerant nature of TifTuf makes it a fantastic choice for lawns that experience foot traffic. Regular mowing is essential to maintain its fine-leafed beauty and uphold its resilient charm. Once per week in growing season will ensure it keeps growing laterally and thick, to help crowd out weeds.

  • When mowing your TifTuf lawn, make sure to maintain a height between 9mm and 36mm. Additionally, avoid cutting off more than one-third of its height in a single mowing. Keeping the blades longer in winter will help the plant to photosynthesise in the darker months.
  • In the growing season, TifTuf can be mowed lower than certain other turf varieties. This is due to the lateral growth habit and fine leaf blades. For a perfectly manicured striped appearance, use a cylinder mower and mow each stripe in opposite directions 2-3 times weekly.
  • Keep up the fertiliser to TifTuf once every four months or so. After you fertilise, water the grass immediately to prevent leaf burn.
  • To make the TifTuf lawn even and smooth, you can add a thin layer of 10mm of topsoil, especially in depressions. After adding the topsoil, make sure to water it well. This will help to even out any lumps and bumps in the lawn.

Remember, the journey towards a captivating, thriving TifTuf lawn doesn’t conclude with the successful laying of TifTuf turf. Taking good care of your plant and giving it attention will create a beautiful and relaxing green space.