Your lawn and landscape tools have likely spent the winter in hibernation. Before putting them back to work, it’s good practice to see what sort of shape they’re in after so much slumber. Below are five steps to help your prepare your tools for the upcoming growing season.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
At the end of last year’s lawn and landscaping season, you should have given your tools a thorough cleaning to protect them over the winter. If you missed that step, be sure to clean them now before you get started with this year’s yard work. Scrub away dirt and plant matter with a stiff-bristled brush, rinse them clean, and wipe away any remaining water with a dry cloth.
GET THE RUST OUT
Carefully check your tools for rust. Light rust can be removed with a wire brush or sandpaper. Soaking them in white vinegar first may help loosen the rust. On larger tools, you may need something with more power and better coverage: try a power drill with a wire brush attachment. If the rust is so advanced as to undermine the integrity of the tool, your best bet it to replace it altogether.
If you didn’t do so at the end of last season, now’s a good time to sharpen your lawnmower blade. Check the blades on handheld tools, like pruners and chain saws, as well. The line in your weed trimmer may also need replacing.
Check your power tools carefully for any parts in need of replacement. Loose screws, nuts, bolts, O-rings and spark plugs are best removed now, before they give out in the middle of yard work. Test for stiffness in any hinges or other moving parts and spray them with a lubricant wherever needed. That goes for hand tools as well as power tools; the pivots of pruners and shears often get overlooked.
Hopefully, you didn’t leave your power equipment completely fueled up at the end of last fall. If so, you may need to give them a thorough flushing before you get started this season. In either case, go ahead and take stock of which tools need oil and gasoline so you don’t underestimate how much to buy. Check also to see if the filters need replacing.