If mild, January can be an excellent month for laying new turf, as well as monitoring and repairing current lawns. Remember to keep an eye out for common issues that may become evident at this time of year – and use the opportunity to get outside in your garden during the daylight as much as possible, as it’s important to look after your own health during these cold, dark months, as well as that of your grass.
Weather-dependent, now is a good time to lay new turf. A drier spell of weather without too much frost can give you the perfect opportunity to do so, giving the turf just enough time to establish before the spring. Make sure the ground is easy to prepare first by testing with a fork. If it is easy to dig into and turn over, then you’re good to go. Find out more about laying in January here.
If it's frosty or snowy, it's still possible to lay turf, but it's best to wait until the weather warms up a bit before undertaking any major turf laying projects.
Now can also be a good time to make repairs to your lawn. By using small amounts of turf either cut from other areas of your garden, or bought new, you can spot fix problem areas by cutting away the old turf, especially around borders, and relaying with the new. Only do this if the conditions are right and the ground is easy to prepare. If it is too frosty, or too wet, it may be better to wait until spring.
There are several issues that may become more apparent at this time of year that can easily be monitored and kept under control.
Mole hills may start to appear more frequently as we enter the mating season, especially if you have particularly healthy soil. Simply remove the mounds that appear above the surface and keep the area level by raking before reseeding in the spring.
Worms may become more active, leaving worm casts on the surface of the soil. Keep brushing them away when the soil is dry in order to prevent any further problems.
Look out for any waterlogging issues when there is heavy rainfall. Though it is best not to carry out any major lawn maintenance at this time of year, it will benefit problem areas if you spike the affected areas alone with a garden fork or aerator. Brushing loam or sharp sand into the spiked holes can further ameliorate the situation until spring. Aeration is a key thing to do this time of year, to keep the water flowing through the soil.
Examine bare areas which may be the effect of leather jackets, (dig a small corner near to the bear area, about 1 inch deep and look for the leather jackets). Find out more here.
Mowing is not necessary when the weather is frosty or snowy, as this is more likely to damage the lawn. If the weather is warm, lawns will still be growing and there may be the need to mow the lawns. Only do this if is not too wet and not too cold (frosty), and always remove the clippings. Do not cut too low. We would recommend 50mm. And remember to avoid any bulbs which may be starting to pop out.
What to avoid
Remember to walk on frosty grass as little as possible to avoid damage.
If there is any snowfall, try not to pile any snow onto the grass. Remember, snow fall really stresses grass and creates the ideal conditions for fusarium to manifest. Do not walk on it. Instead, simply leave it, and hopefully the grass will grow through it after the snow has melted.
If there is continued leaf fall, then keep the lawn areas clear by raking or using a leaf blower – making sure to keep the leaves to use as an excellent mulch for your borders or to put into your home compost.