How to avoid a turftastrophe

As we move from the cooler months to the warmer months it is very important to install your new lawn immediately and avoid a turftastrophe! From mild heat stress to the more serious problem we call pallet burn, leaving your turf on the pallet for too long can create all levels of problems.


Why should you immediately lay your turf?

Turf is a living product, and to ensure maximum health when you install it you need to minimize the time between harvest and installing. You need to immediately lay your turf after you receive your turf to give your new lawn the best chance to thrive, and minimize the time your lawn needs to establish.

The healthier your turf is when first laid, the better its start to life will be as your new lawn. While we take every step we can to ensure that when you receive your turf it is as healthy as possible, once we hand over your turf it’s then up to you. But with a little planning, and by following our installation instructions giving your turf its best start is easy.

This all starts with laying your turf as soon as possible after you receive it. If you pick-up your turf you should pick it up on the day you want to install it and take it home and immediately lay your turf. If you get your turf delivered, you should plan your delivery for a day you want to install it and start laying it as soon as you receive your delivery.


Signs you might have a minor problem

Many people don’t realise you need to immediately lay your turf and sometimes leave their turf for a day or two before they lay it. Local weather conditions as well as the current season will all affect how long the turf can be on a pallet and still be healthy.

For some customers this will just mean their turf will just be need a little extra TLC after they lay it. If they are very lucky the turf will just be slightly stressed and show no visible signs of this. Alternatively the turf could become heat-stressed and become off coloured. Then you can expect to see some yellowing of the leaf. The big key to look for is green at the centre of the pallet, as the more serious problem of pallet burn starts at the centre of the pallet.


Signs you might have a more serious problem

Unfortunately for some customers the first sign they see is a very serious sign, a semi-circle on a slab of turf. This is a phenomenon we refer to as pallet burn. This means that the centre of the pallet has started to combust like compost and started to break down. It starts from the centre of the pallet and works its way out hence the circle which appears as a semi-circle on a slab.

These semi-circle will continue to darken as that turf is now dead and won’t recover. The turf will eventually repair itself filling in the gap, but this can take several months. You can also purchase new slabs to replace the damaged ones, if you see the problem early the damaged slabs will be easy to pull up and replace. Of course the best way to deal with this issue is to avoid it altogether!


How to avoid problems

The first thing to do to is to plan the installation of your turf well. Ensure you order your turf for a day you can immediately get started on installing it. Also take advantage of our delivery service, which will mean your turf will come straight from our farm to your home. With proper planning you can be sure you have the freshest possible turf and you can immediately lay your turf.

Our instructions for installation help your new lawn get its best start at your home. They also help your lawn cope with some slight stress from being on the pallet for a while. First we recommend you use a pre-turf fertiliser to ensure your new lawn has all the nutrients it needs. Then we recommend you start watering your new lawn 15 minutes after you lay the first slab, you should continue watering the lawn until it is thoroughly soaked. You should continue watering on a strict schedule such as on our earlier post on how much to water your new lawn.

If despite your planning you are unable to immediately lay your turf there are a few things you can do to help it out. The first thing is to make sure the turf is out of the full sun, some shade will help keep it cool. The best way to do this is with a small gazebo or by putting the pallet under a tree. You can also help by splitting any pallets you have into two smaller pallets as this reduces pressure at the centre of the pallet.

What you should never do is cover your pallet with a tarp, or water it to cool it down as both of these actions will speed up the combusting of the pallet.


To get more advice on how to avoid a turftastrophe or to order a new lawn call our team on (07) 3114 8230. You can also to pop in and order in person at our sales office on 1/243 Bradman Street, Acacia Ridge. The office opens Monday to Friday 7am to 5pm and Saturday 7am to 12pm.

For more great turf, tips keep an eye on our website and all our social media channels.

2 comments

  1. Hi
    Some of my sir Walter slabs have pallet burn. Will it eventually grow back?

    1. Genuine pallet burn will not grow back, this is normally identified by the distinct circles on radiating out from the centre of the pallet. Sir Walter will eventually cover over the areas that die back, it is normally best to replace these slabs.

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