By late fall, most of the gardening work is completed. The climate is less clement and this is a good time to clean and overhaul your garden equipment. You can take advantage of this time to make sure that rakes, spades and hoes look like new. This is the principle of garden wintering. In other words, before the arrival of spring, you will have to overhaul all your gardening tools and store them in a suitable place. If you choose to “winterize your home garden”, here are a few tips that will help you better maintain your equipment and maximize its longevity.
Winterizing Hand and Battery Powered Tools
Hand garden tools are the first to require proper maintenance. They are subject to frequent use and are exposed to the risk of rust and deposits of all kinds of residues. The first step is to lubricate your garden equipment with oil (such as bicycle grease), paying particular attention to the parts most exposed to corrosion. Ideally, use rustproofing products. Tools for working the soil and earth should be dried well with a brush. Wash metal equipment with water and black soap, then dry it thoroughly. All sharp material should be pre-sharpened with a file, making sure that only one side of the blade is beveled for at least 1 cm. The pruning shears must be properly cleaned with alcohol-soaked cotton before being sharpened with a sharpening stone, respecting the initial angle. Once you have carried out all these annual maintenance measures, you can store your garden equipment for winter storage. Preferably, secure the blades of the equipment in a suitable protection, such as sand or dried ash, before hanging them in your garage or garden shed. Battery-powered tools should also be given special attention to allow them to overwinter in the best possible conditions. The battery should be removed and stored in a dry, cold place. For Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, make sure they are at least 50% charged beforehand. Tools with Lithium-ion batteries will remain connected to the mains. For this, you will need to purchase winterizing equipment in kit form.
Winterizing measures for motorized equipment
In general, when you’re preparing to store your hedge trimmer tiller or any other power machine in your workshop or garage, you need to take some protective measures. The first step is to empty and clean the fuel tanks. Whether it’s gasoline or an oil/fuel mixture, these are perishable products and you must renew them for the next season. However, instead of throwing them away, get into the habit of dumping them into a canister and take them to a garage near you, which has a pit for this purpose. Before storing your motorized equipment, you must idle it without depressing the gas pedal. The goal is to empty the carburetor until the machine stops running, so that the various membranes do not stick together. After all these steps, it’s time to proceed to the cleaning, insisting on the cylinder fins and the filters. Then keep your equipment away from moisture.
Powered engines: checkpoints
It is important to know that all types of motorized equipment, including lawn mowers, must be serviced annually at defined checkpoints. One of the sources of damage to these machines is fuel stagnation which leads to scale deposits. This can significantly reduce the performance and life span of your garden equipment. Removing all fuel from the fuel tanks also applies to hedge trimmer tillers. Alkylate-based admixture mixtures can be stored without any problems; simply store them in a tank for the entire winter. Traditionally manufactured mixtures, on the other hand, can only be stored for a maximum of two months. The blades of your appliances need special protection against rust. They must be disassembled and coated with oil. Use a clean substance, ideally one specifically designed for chainsaw chains, instead of drain or cooking oils that tend to stick over time. You will also need to empty the oil tanks for each removable device. On four-stroke engines, add oil to the minimum level indicated for winterization. In some cases, it may be necessary to call in a garden equipment professional. There are some checkpoints that you will not be able to do at home. Most manufacturers provide in their manuals the specific checks required and the periodic revisions to be carried out.
Garden equipment: precautions to take
The wintering is an opportunity to give your equipment a vacation. Nevertheless, some precautions must be taken. When emptying the fuel tanks and cleaning the base of the crankcase, you must wear gloves. The use of large brushes is useful for removing residue from the blades and exhaust of your lawnmower. To remove grass or dirt from your mower, run a large stream of water over it. If you find that the blades are damaged or cracked, you must replace them immediately. The mulchers must be completely free of branches. Therefore, you must run them until there are no more branches, and then clean the outlets carefully. For machines that have a protective cover, make sure that the cover is put back in place before storage. All tools must be properly dried before storage. To protect them from frost and moisture, you will need to cover them with a winter fleece or a special cover. This will protect them from possible bird droppings or dust. If you don’t have a garage or garden shed, a porch or roof overhang will do the trick. In this case, get quality winter covers.
Winterizing maintenance: Call a specialist
To keep your garden maintenance equipment in good condition, you can benefit from the advice of an online specialist. In addition, if you are planning to purchase a new machine or a winterizing kit for your pool, an expert in the field will offer you the appropriate products. This solution will facilitate the annual maintenance of your equipment throughout the year. This task is indeed very important: whatever the type of machine, it conditions its lifespan. To ensure that your machines are in working order in the spring, entrust the winter storage to a specialized company. The other advantage is that your equipment will be tested to ensure that it is in good working order when the time comes. Some experts even propose their own brand and offer you very attractive rates, while offering a guarantee on their equipment. Calling in a specialist is a way to obtain a guarantee of the quality and longevity of your gardening tools.