Raw manure under new turf?

Hi all,

I'm removing some gravel from around a quarter of my back garden so I can have a lawn at last image

Under the plastic sheet it's very compacted - I believe it's been down for some years. The soil is clay, but not too heavy.  As nothings grown in it in a while I'm thinking of feeding it before laying the turf - a load of manure would be free (though I'd need to collect and bag it) and help the soil structure.

Due to the compaction I'll be hiring a rotavator to do the hard work so I could throw some manure around before/during going over it.

Should I let the manure rot for a few weeks before using it, or spread it around and let nature take it's course with the raw stuff.  If I do this can I lay the turf straightaway or should I leave it a couple of weeks?

Or is it unnecessary?  There are a lot of worms so the soil isn't "dead".


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Grabs its the wrong time of year to lay turf or sow seed anyway. Despite what Verdun says you could spread manure, but after rotovating then let the worms do the work for you over winter. By the time spring comes it will have settled, then you can concentrate on levelling. Levelling now during this very wet weather will be pointless and as its clay tramping all over it will give you puddling. I'd say yes rotovate and spread it then leave well alone till spring. Doing it that way will also give you an indication if there are drainage problems which can be further tackled in spring.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Verdun, maybe my POV is different. With the current weather and now probable further very wet winter to come little if anything to do with lawn prep is advisable especially when dealing with compacted clay. Let's agree to disagree.

  • Thanks guys.  As I say the worms make me think the soil isn't too bad.

    I don't need (or want) a perfectly manicured flat lawn.  Just a place to sit and play with the dog.  But if work now saves work in the future I'm happy to do it.

    Now need to find a rotavator - most places seem to charge £50-£60 a day - is this about right?


  • Don't worry - I won't have the time for a few weeks.  Hopefully it will be dry by then.

    It's not that big an area, but finding the time to dig it by hand is the issue.


  • You can lay turf all year as long there is no frost. if the soil is compact and has worms in, i would just rake the soil with a soil rake(to loosen so turf roots can bed in) and add chicken manure pellets. 

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