Several weeks ago as I was getting ready to mow my very overgrown lawn, I realized that my mower and other garden tools needed a spring tune-up. I must admit that one of the gardening tasks that I often neglect is getting my lawn mower and other tools ready for the new year. This year was no exception. My lawn was overgrown because it had not been mowed since fall and I suspect many other gardeners were in similar circumstances. Luckily my mower performed the job, but I knew it needed some maintenance.
Before we get into the busy season, this is a good time to get your mower and other garden equipment tuned up and ready for spring. If you have a lawn, then you probably have a mower. Whether it is a push or power mower, there are some basic tasks that can be done to help it perform the way it should. I recently visited the Wilco store in Canby and when I looked over the selection of products for mower maintenance, it appeared that they had about everything a gardener would need to begin the spring season.
One of the most important maintenance tasks you can do is to get and keep your mower blades sharp. For a healthy and vibrant lawn, mower blades should be sharp enough to make a clean cut, and after mowing the top of the grass blades should not be jagged looking. Mower blades can become dull quickly and need to be sharpened more than once a season. Wilco sells a blade sharpener kit that makes this task very easy and can be used not only for mower blades but for pruning shears as well. In my garden, especially if I am doing lots of pruning and trimming, I find that my pruning shears tend to get dull quickly and I sharpen them often throughout the season.
For power mowers, it is a good idea to change the spark plugs on a regular basis and the air filter probably needs changing once a year. Check that your gas cap seals tightly as it can wear thin after several years. I have also learned that it is a good idea to always begin the season with a fresh can of gas.
My wheelbarrow gets a great deal of use and on more than one occasion I have had a handle break. I never liked the fact that sometimes I had to buy handles in pairs even though I only needed one. When checking the wheelbarrow section at Wilco, I discovered that they sell handles singly as well as in pairs. This is very good customer service and I thank them for that.
When I bought my wheelbarrow, it had a tube wheel and I quickly learned that it often needed air and also was prone to getting a flat tire. When I switched to a flat free tire, it made my life much easier and I do not know why I had not done it sooner. I always keep a small can of oil in my tool shed as I do not like the sound of a squeaky wheelbarrow wheel. Keeping pruning shears well oiled will also keep them in better working order.
These are relatively simple tasks and many of us are probably performing them as regular routine maintenance. Sometimes I have to remind myself just how important that routine maintenance is to keep our garden equipment in good working shape throughout the season.