This is the JANUARY installment of Horticulture Week's month-by-month guide to essential maintenance and management tasks for turf and sports facilities such as bowling greens, cricket pitches, football pitches, rugby pitches, golf, lawns and other recreational and fine turf.

All turf areas

If ground is frosty, keep off
Keep use of mechanical equipment to a minimum
Check for disease activity and treat appropriately
Remove dew and worm casts when possible
Inspect surface and profile
Prepare maintenance schedules and budgets
Plan workloads for coming year and order materials for spring use
Repair and service equipment

Winter games pitches

Divoting is a priority
Maintain even surfaces and carry out repairs quickly using hand tools
Fork and sand high-wear areas as necessary
Aerate, harrow and sweep as needed
Overmark as necessary
Mow to 35mm for football and 50mm for rugby
Order materials for renovation programme


Use pin replacements to spread wear around green
Note areas of suspect drainage
Create new routes if traffic suggests they are required
Plan bunker work if required
Mow greens to 8mm, tees to 12mm and fairways to 18mm
Deep aerate fairways, slit or chisel tine greens and tees
Reshape banks, clean ditches, inspect drains and attend to tree work


Mow to 10mm
Aerate with slit tines whenever possible
Repair banks and clean ditches


Check progress of autumn work
Trim back to 15-20mm
Spike to 125mm if conditions permit
Mow to 25mm


Give lawns a light trim to 12mm for ornamental use or 18mm for general use
Spike if possible
Repair uneven surfaces and edges

*Jobs should only be undertaken when ground and weather conditions are suitable and will vary according to location and may vary significantly from year to year. And remember that while the year nicely divides into 12 months, activities often overlap.

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