How to care for grass using ground protection mats
Date published: 15 Jan 2024
Nicole Stephenson

How to care for your grass after ground support mats 

Occasionally, perfectly healthy lawns, fields and areas of grass need to be covered with ground support mats to create pathways, temporary access roads, platforms or large areas of flooring during building work, renovations, events, filming and more. This is to improve safety and to provide a stable, slip-resistant surface that protects equipment, people but also the ground. Although ground mats protect the ground and prevent extreme unrepairable damage, after using ground support mats the grass underneath will still suffer, especially when ground support mats are laid on the surface for extended periods.

When grass lacks the sunlight it needs to survive and when heavy-duty machinery or large footfall has passed over the mats, grass will become extremely compressed and unhealthy.  We have compiled some instructions to follow to help prepare your grass before covering it and how to care for your grass after using ground support mats.

trackway for ground protection

Preparation 

Preparation is key. Cut your grass very short before installation. The general recommendation is around 1.5 inches. If the ground is particularly uneven, then the grass underneath could be subject to extra pressure and damage. Fill any hoes with sharp sand and topsoil. Roll afterward, so the mats lay as flat as possible and their weight evenly distributed.

Water the grass 24 hours before installation.

Ground protection for plant machinery

After removal 

Start by removing any debris then cut the grass again, even if the growth has been minimal.  Mowing encourages denser turf. It helps to eliminate weeds that grew in the covered grass. Surprisingly, weeds like dandelions thrive in compact soil. Weeds also like soil lacking in water, air, and nutrients. Essentially, covered grass is a perfect growth situation for weeds. So, once ground protection has been removed, you may have quite a few to tackle.

water grass after ground support mats

You will then need to replenish your lawn with water. But, don’t over-water as this will flood the soil.

After your lawn has been cut and watered, you should aerate it. This will relieve soil compaction. Additionally, it will help release the pressure caused by the ground support mats. Do this manually or with machinery.

Lawn aeration is crucial to revive the grass. It allows air, water, and other nutrients to easily penetrate its core. Aerating the grass essentially refreshes its air circulation, letting old carbon dioxide out and pushing fresh new oxygen in. The pressure of ground support mats poses a high risk for moss. Aeration will massively reduce this risk too.

After aerating, you should overseed. Topdressing will help to thicken up the grass and reduce the sparse areas. You can see a full guide to this here  

You can further boost growth with a lawn tonic or fertiliser. It’s best to wait around 4 days after overseeding before you apply. Otherwise, you may stop the seed from germinating.

How to protect grass from diggers

A final tip to help with your grass after ground support mats

It is more important than ever, after using ground support mats, to keep on top of regular mowing. Mowing every two weeks is the best practice. Each cut encourages the grass to be more resilient, grow thicker, healthier, and denser.

Be patient, and remember peak grass growing season is in spring, so the most rejuvenation and improvement will happen then. 

If you’d like to hire ground mats and have concerns about your lawn, our friendly team is always happy to help you and advise, contact us here.  

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