If you've recently laid a new turf lawn and now notice gaps appearing between the individual sods, you may be wondering why. Here's a helpful troubleshooting guide to gappy lawns with tips on prevention and cure.
What causes gappy lawns?
There are three main causes of gappy lawns:
- poor preparation of the area
- turf laid too far apart
- lack of water
Thankfully, all of these issues are easily avoided.
When laying new turf, always ensure that the ground on which it is being laid is level and has a layer of good-quality topsoil. This is really important if the grass plants are to grow and thrive.
If there are uneven patches of ground beneath the turf, air pockets can form and the new grass plants will not be in contact with the soil. This means that the grass cannot obtain the water and nutrients it requires for growth, and the turf will consequently shrink and dry out, causing the tell-tale gapping.
Laying your turf
When you lay turf, always ensure that the edges of each roll of individual sod are abutted tightly together in a slight peak. This allows for any settling or initial shrinkage that may occur while the grass becomes established, thus avoiding the formation of gaps.
The grass plants in commercially produced turf rolls have relatively short roots. This is because much of the root length is cut during harvesting. Consequently, the roots can only reach water that is close to the surface of the ground.
New turf also loses water through its leaves, and if it can't replace the lost fluid, the whole plant, including the roots, will shrink. As most of the soil layer of new turf is comprised of grass roots, you can see how dehydration can cause your new lawn to become gappy. Make sure that you water your new grass morning and evening for the first few weeks until it becomes established and the roots grow long enough to draw water from deeper in the soil. This should bring about an instantaneous improvement in the gapping situation on your lawn.
If the gapping has not disappeared within a week or so, brush some topsoil into the gaps and add some grass seed to the top of it. The grass seeds will germinate within a few days and within a couple of weeks, the gapping should have completely disappeared.
Make sure that your new lawn does not become gappy by following the above advice. If you're not sure about how to lay your new turf, ask your supplier for more information and guidance.