Yard and gardening tools and equipment can get expensive — as new homeowners facing their first spring have experienced! A brand-name lawn mower can be $300 and higher; then there are the sheers, saws, leaf-blowers, lawn bags, sprinkler systems, hoses, and the list goes on. Knowing how to care for your lawn and garden tools goes a long way to prolonging their life and minimizing your costs.
The key is to find ways to keep garden tools and yard equipment rust-free, sharpened and mechanically sound. Having a maintenance routine is helpful. Not only does the routine keep you on track, but your garden tools will stay in working order and have a longer life.
Here are some preseason tips to get your yard equipment ready for the spring and summer months.
If the machine isn’t push-powered or electric, you’ll need to change the oil before first use. Be sure to empty the gas tank before lifting the mower. Disconnect the spark plug wire before starting this job. If the spark plug is old, you may want to consider replacing it.
Check the air filter. If the filter is a honeycomb or accordion-type paper filter, use an air compressor to blow out the dust so the filter can do its job. If that doesn’t do the trick, consider replacing the filter. If the filter is made of foam, then wash it in warm soap and water to remove the dirt and debris. Be sure to air dry it before replacing it. A good trick for foam filters: coat the filter in mower oil. To do this, put one or two tablespoons of oil in a ziplock bag, drop in the filter, then seal and toss. Blot the filter with a paper towel to remove excess oil. The oil helps trap dust particles and keeps the foam from cracking and shredding in higher temperatures.
Remember to tighten bolts and sharpen the blade before adding gas. Now your lawnmower is ready for use.
These handheld tools are used for a variety of jobs in the garden. As a result, they will come into contact with a variety of plants — and plant problems. To keep pruners at their best, be sure to wipe down the blades with a dry rag after each use. To prolong the life of your pruners, add a squirt of WD-40 to the rag before you wipe down the blades; this helps remove sticky debris such as sap from the blades.
Prior to first use, applying a lubricant to the tool’s joints will relieve the stiffness and make them easier to use effectively in your garden.
A chainsaw is an incredibly versatile garden tool, but it also requires regular upkeep. Typical chainsaw maintenance includes:
Consider the entire life cycle of your yard equipment. For instance, a lawnmower blade needs to stay sharp in order to cut the grass properly; however, neglecting to clean and sterilize these blades could introduce problems into your yard. When tools are exposed to soil or plants with fungal, insect, or bacterial infestations, problems can spread around your garden. To save yourself bigger issues down the road, be sure to take a few minutes to clean and care for your tools.
Here are a few things to keep in mind for proper maintenance: