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The concept of cheap turf can be a very alluring one. It’s just turf, right? There’s better places to be spending your money around the home, right? But, here’s the thing – buying cheap turf can be false economy and here’s why and how.

The price tag might look good when you first see that cheap turf at your local garden centre, landscape supplies store or hardware store, and the grass might look alright… from a distance. Remember though, first appearances can be highly deceiving. That cheap turf, which you hope will bring new life to a barren patch, is probably about to die! Many garden and hardware retailers will slash instant turf prices if the product has been sitting around for a while and is close to expiring – in the same way a supermarket will reduce perishable products ‘for quick sale’. And be particularly cautious of turf that has been laying out in the sun and perhaps not properly cared for – if the roots have been allowed to dry out the chance of the turf establishing once installed is very slim. Turf should always be cut and delivered as close as possible to the time of installation. How long has past since that turf has been cut at the turf farm and how long since it was delivered to the store from the turf farm can be critical.

So, that cheap turf is already past its prime before you even lay it, and, no matter how old it is, you still have to lay it. You still have to do the work of preparing the site, unrolling the turf and watering it once it’s down. But if the turf is no good to begin with, you’ll have to do that all over again when it’s time to replace the turf. It’s a waste of time, as well as a waste of money. A ‘double’ cost or false economy, if you like.

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Often, cheap turf is cheap for a very good reason – it’s grown by a turf grower that is not certified or accredited. The turf itself is typically of poor quality, is diseased or weed infested, and will struggle to establish and thrive once installed. If that new lawn then doesn’t establish or dies off you will need to begin the process again and spend more money – false economy.

If the turf you receive is diseased or infested with weeds you may need to spend, unbudgeted money to treat the problem – so that cheap turf isn’t so cheap anymore – false economy.

Added Extras

Advertised cheap turf usually doesn’t include those important (and sometimes costly) extras that go into getting your new lawn to your place. Is delivery included in the quoted price? So, if you add on delivery and any other add-ons then the cost of that cheap turf just increased – false economy.


Many cheap turf suppliers don’t run by the same sizing guidelines as larger, accredited growers. So, this means that if you buy your cheap turf by the roll or the slab you might not end up with as much turf as you first expected. What do you do then? You have to buy more to covered the space and the price of your new lawn goes up – false economy.

What to look for in cheap turf

Don’t let that appealing price tag be the only thing you look at before you purchase cheap turf. You need to cast a critical eye over the product in front of you and see if it will be worth your money and effort.

The most obvious sign that this cheap turf is actually cheap and nasty turf is discolouration. Unroll some of the turf; if the grass appears yellow, or even brown, move on. Most importantly make sure it is not heating up, a sure sign it is past its used by date. That grass is on the way out, and no amount of watering after you’ve laid it will change that. You already know that yellow and brown patches on your existing lawn are hardly a good thing – why pay money to take this turf home and replace patches with patches?

Often, when you buy cheap, you buy twice.

Another way to tell if cheap turf is not the real deal is to give it a gentle shake. If a substantial amount of grass comes loose, this is another indication that the turf is well past its best. Fresh turf should have a strong root network which holds the grass firmly in place. Older turf, with an aging root network, will shed grass at a much greater rate than should be expected.

The Alternative

Find a local turf farmer or supplier that specialises in instant turf and because they sell so much of it, they always have fresh stocks, which makes for a healthy lawn. Buy turf direct from the turf farm and you will pay more at the point of purchase but you will save money and time in the long run through buying a quality product that will last.

You really do get what you pay for when you buy cheap turf. It’s a gamble – one that’s unlikely to pay dividends in the long run. When you see cheap turf, ask yourself why it’s so cheap. Take a good look at it, and don’t forget to do the shake test. For a certain winner, invest in quality turf. Pay a little more now and save a lot more in the future and avoid that false economy.

When you buy your turf from a specialist you will receive a quality product. When you buy your turf from a Lawn Solutions Australia accredited grower you will also receive a guarantee on the turf and support for the life of your lawn.

Daleys Turf is one such accredited turf grower who services the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Contact us today for more information or to place an order for your new, quality lawn.

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