Is it too hot to install instant turf?

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 9 February 2022 

Spring and summer are popular seasons to do landscape projects around the home but it can also be a hot and dry time of year. There is a common belief that when the weather gets warm, you shouldn’t do things in the garden like laying turf.

While there is some truth to that, you might be surprised to learn that turf varieties like Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo love warm weather!

This means that the warmer it gets, the more they grow which makes spring, summer and autumn the best times of the year to install instant turf. So the question is – how hot is too hot? 

From the perspective of the turf, it’s rarely too hot.  The exception I would make is extreme or extended heatwave conditions where extreme temperatures are forecast.   The thing to keep in mind is that while the turf itself has no problem with hot temperatures, it will have a problem with drying out and of course, the hotter it is, the more frequently it will need to be watered for the first few weeks while it's establishing. For the better part, watering three times per day for the first three weeks is a good frequency however this can be as much as four to five times per day when temperatures get really hot.   As long as the turf doesn’t dry out in the first few weeks, it will do well.  The answer to this question then is more about the person laying the turf than the turf itself.  What I mean by that is that you know your limits and how warm it will be before its tools down.

If you are considering laying turf when the forecast is hot, I have the following tips for you:

  • Always lay the turf on the day that it was delivered. Turf is very perishable and won’t appreciate being left on the pallet overnight.
  • Remove any plastic wrapping on the pallet as soon as it's delivered and give the rolls a spray of water to cool them down
  • Think about how you will water it before you get it delivered so that your new turf gets regular drinks during the day, even when you’re at work. This could be as simple as a sprinkler on a tap timer right through to an automated irrigation system.
  • Plan to water at least three times per day at even intervals for the first three weeks. Contrary to what some believe, you can water during the middle of the day in hot weather - the water will never burn your turf!

For your own sanity, I’d probably avoid laying turf when temperatures go north of 38 degrees unless you have an automated watering system set up. Aside from that, you’ll have no trouble laying Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo lawns in the typical spring and summer temperatures we get here in Adelaide.