Heating in turf rolls: why and what to do

Your new turf is a living system of plants, microbes and small insects. When turf is harvested and rolled up it acts like a blanket, slowing down the exchange of heat generated by the turf and its inhabitants with the air. If your turf isn’t unrolled as soon as it arrives, it may become spoiled.

Keep reading to learn more about ‘heat stress’  and how to prevent damage to your turf.


  1. Does your new turf look yellow, black or oily in colour and have a silage smell?
  2. Did your new turf die in patches? 

If your new turf has these symptoms within one week after you install it or even when you unroll it, your turf might have been rolled up too long and have suffered from heat stress.

General description of turf heating

Your new turf is a living system of plants, microbes and small insects. It is breathing all the time. As your turf producer, Rolawn makes every effort to harvest your turf when it is cool. Cool turf breathes slower than warm turf.

When turf is rolled up it acts like a blanket, slowing down how fast heat is exchanged with the air. If the turf is cool when it is rolled up, it will stay cool for 24-48 hrs, but if it is warm when it is cut, it may heat up within 24 hrs. 

That is why it is very important to lay your new turf as soon as possible after it arrives. But there is more to turf heating than just its temperature when it is harvested.

In all rolls of turf there are micro-organisms that breathe or consume the oxygen. As the oxygen is used up, other organisms that need very little oxygen become active. As they start growing they generate heat. You may have noticed that grass leaves or hay, when piled up, become hot and may even look like they are smouldering. The same type of heat generation goes on in rolled up turf. 

Because the rolled up turf acts like a blanket, it traps this heat. The rolled up turf cannot cool itself and the heat cannot escape very fast, therefore, the turf becomes hot. At first the heat will cause the grass to turn yellow or black. If the heat persists, it may kill it. This may happen within 24-48 hrs after the turf is harvested.

Rolawn is unique in having developed and patented a revolutionary process called Profresh®, which extends how long turf can be rolled up before it starts to suffer damage through heat stress. However, this does not prevent heat stress, therefore, remember to stick to the following advice.

How can you reduce turf heat stress?

  1. Make sure you buy turf from a good quality grower.
  2. Fully prepare for laying your new turf before it arrives.
  3. Lay the new turf as soon as it arrives onto pre-wetted soil.
  4. Thoroughly irrigate your turf after it is installed to cool it.
  5. If your turf is heating up in the roll then lay it out as soon as possible to allow it to cool.
  6. If your new turf is predominantly yellow or black or is showing any of the symptoms identified earlier when you unroll it, telephone your turf supplier immediately.
  7. Never wet turf when it is in the roll.


Turf that is installed immediately upon delivery should not suffer from heat stress. Delaying the installation could result in heat stress and a poor quality lawn.

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