Laying lawn turfMaintenance

  • Mow if the weather is warm – grass will start to grow at temperatures above 5°C (41°F) – but set the cutting height to its maximum, and only mow when the grass is dry.
  • If you have bulbs planted in your lawn, such as snowdrops and crocuses, they may be starting to come up now, so avoid mowing or walking on those areas.
  • Repair bare patchesespecially around lawn edges, using turf cut from other areas of the garden if available.
  • Re-cut lawn edges using a half-moon edging iron or flat-bladed spade, to neaten up the appearance of the garden and save work next season. Also maintain a 7.5cm (3in) ‘gutter’ around the lawn edges to prevent grass spreading into your borders.
  • Avoid walking on a frosty lawn, as this can damage the blades of grass, which go brittle in the cold. It may even leave brown footprints, which can take ages to disappear. 

New lawns

  • Start preparing the ground for sowing a new lawn in spring, but only if the soil isn’t too wet. Fork over the area, weed thoroughly, rake level and firm lightly. Doing this several weeks in advance gives the soil time to settle, so you have an even surface for sowing in March or April, once the weather is warmer.
  • Lay turf when the ground isn’t frosty or very wet. Work from planks, to avoid compacting the soil. 
  • Avoid walking on the newly laid turf for several weeks to allow new roots to establish.
  • See our video guide to creating a new lawn.

worm cast in lawnProblem solving

  • Look out for waterlogging – to improve drainage, spike problem areas with a garden fork, then brush a mix of sharp sand and loam into the holes. See our guide to autumn lawn care.
  • Worm casts are a sign of healthy soil, but if you don’t like them on your lawn, brush them off with a hard broom once they dry out.
  • Algae can appear on lawns with poor drainage or excessive shade, or under the drip-line of trees.
  • Yellow or brown patches at this time of year may be caused by the fungal disease fusarium patch, especially in wet weather and in overfed, lush lawns that have been left a bit too long.
  • Mole activity tends to increase in January and February due to mating and nest (fortress) building. Try to live with the resulting molehills if possible, but if you can’t, then remove the largest ones and re-firm the soil, before re-seeding in spring.
  • See all our lawn care advice.

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Advice from the RHS

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.