January is an ideal time to take petrol mowers in to be serviced and have the blades sharpened. Mowers will need to be in good working order before you start the new season's mowing.
The main job in winter is to ensure that leaves and other debris do not remain on the lawn. Brushing them off will also remove any worm casts, thereby reducing the risk of weeds and prevent invading moss from gaining a foothold. Try not to walk on the lawn when it is frosty. This will crush the blades of grass, and result in them going dark and some of the grass may even be killed back.
Note where any water lies after heavy rain or when snow is thawing and improve drainage by spiking the waterlogged areas with a hand fork. Do not fill in any depressions at this time - these should be built up with several light applications of sifted soil at intervals during the growing season.
Lawns on heavy clay or compacted soil can easily become waterlogged at this time of year. Aerate the soil by spiking it with a special hollow tined fork (if you have one) or a garden fork, at 15-20 cm (6-8 in) intervals. Sprinkle a little coarse sand on any wet and muddy patches.
Next page >> Managing Trees and Shrubs in January >>
The first winter bulbs will make a brave display if the weather is mild:
Winter Aconite (Eranthis Hyemalis)
The following may also flower:
Crocus ancyrensis (orange-yellow) and C imperati (lilac-purple).
Early snowdrops (Qalanthus elwesii and Q. nivalis)
Iris unguicularis (I. stylosa).