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
  • Brush
  • 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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