How to Keep Turf Rolls Alive: Caring for them After Purchase

If you’re planning to lay new turf, you may be wondering how long turf rolls can live and how to prolong their lives. Perhaps you’re not quite ready to lay the turf immediately and want to extend its life.  Keeping the turf in shade is how you keed it alive.

After being cut and rolled up, turf has a reasonably short life span, so you should aim to lay it in your yard as soon as possible. Rolled-up turf won’t last more than a day or two as it will start to deteriorate within twenty-four hours. In the summertime, the turf will have a shorter life span than at other times of the year. Let’s look at how to keep turf rolls alive.

How is turf grown?

Caring for Turf after Purchase

Turf is commercially grown and then sold to be used for yards and landscaping projects. The grass takes approximately eighteen months to grow, and during this time, it will develop a robust root system. Once the grass is well established, it’s harvested and sold in rolls. During the growing phase, the grass is watered, aerated, fertilized, and cut until it can be harvested.

Turf is harvested using a large tractor with tools that cut, flatten and roll the turf. The turf rolls are then stacked and put on a pallet for delivery to private homes, DIY stores, or professional gardeners working on landscaping projects. Turf has a limited lifespan and needs to be sold and laid as soon as possible after it’s been cut.

Turf rolls are living, and the grass creates natural gases which heat up and cause the grass to deteriorate. The turf rolls start to decompose and being turned into compost.

How to keep turf rolls alive

How to keep turf rolls alive

It’s best to lay your turf within twenty-four hours of it being harvested. You’ll need to prepare your ground correctly before laying the turf. It’s best to lay your turf on the same day that it’s delivered.

To keep turf rolls alive and prolong their life span, there are several things you can do. Follow these steps if you’re not able to lay your turf straight away:

Buying Turf

It’s best to buy turf for your yard from a good business that specializes in turf production and doesn’t leave their turf rolls in storage for too long. If you can arrange to have fresh turf rolls delivered to your home at a time that suits you. Then lay the turf as soon as possible. Cut out the middleman and buy directly from the turf producer if possible, rather than from a DIY store where the rolls have been sitting out on a pallet for hours.

Storing turf rolls

If your turf rolls have been delivered early and you aren’t ready to lay them, you can keep them for about a day. The first thing you’ll need to do is keep the turf in the shade. Sunlight will cause the grass to wilt, so keeping the rolls in a shaded area will help reduce the temperature and increase the turf’s life span slightly. Turf rolls that are left rolled up in the hot sun will quickly deteriorate and start composting.

Only stack your turf rolls in small piles if you can unroll the rolls. Don’t leave lots of rolls of turf piles up as this will cause them to decompose. The rolls need space so that air can circulate between them.

You may also like to provide the turf rolls with some water; however, it’s never a good idea to water rolls of turf while it’s rolled up. This will cause the grass to begin to compost and will speed up the degeneration process. It is possible to overwater sod.


As you can see, it’s best to prepare the ground in your yard before your turf is delivered and then lay it as soon as possible. However, this isn’t always possible. If you need to keep your turf rolls for a day or two, ensure they are in the shade, unroll the rolls, and don’t stack them all on top of each other.

Avoid buying turf rolls from DIY stores where they are left on pallets, often in the sun, and have likely already started to compost. Instead, order directly from the company that grows the turf and have it delivered directly to your door. This will ensure that the turf you’re laying is healthier and has a better start in life.