Garden Tool Care and MaintenanceGarden Tool Care and Maintenance
Everyone knows that garden tool care should be done regularly. But very few do it. Among those that do it, few do it right. What is the right way to care for your tools? How often should you do tool maintenance? What jobs can you do by yourself and which ones you should ask the pros to do? You will find all these as you read on.
It begins with proper use
This is the first lesson to learn about garden tool care. But most gardeners ignore this point. Using a tool according to the manufacturerï¿½s direction is the best thing you can do for your tool. For example, there is a maximum length of time recommended that you run your lawnmower for after which it must be allowed to rest for a while. But many people ignore that advice, and then later complain that their lawnmower broke down too soon.
Manufacturers test their products before they are sold and they know the conditions under which their tools will work best. Trust them and heed their advice. It will also ensure your safety when using those tools. Tools not used in the proper way expose you to the risks of accidents.
So far we can summarize garden tool care this way:- Use the tools for the specified jobs and in the specified ways. Adhere to safety precautions, and avoid handling your tools roughly.
Care of the tool after you’ve used it
Even the most expensive highest quality tools will soon become useless if not adequately cared for. Regular tool care and maintenance don’t have to be fanciful or sophisticated. It just needs to provide the desired results. In this case, the desired result is safe tools that are in good working conditions. Some simple tasks that are often overlooked can yield great benefits for you if you just do them. Here are some you can do.
1. The first and most important thing you can do is to read your tool manual very well. In it you will find out how to get the best out of your tools, what to do when problems arise and how often you should carry out tune-ups. Yet it’s sad to note that people often fail to read it. They prefer to jump right ahead and start using the garden tool. The manual only comes out when it’s time for troubleshooting. A few minutes spent reading will turn out to be a great investment.
Garden tool care can’t be done effectively without reading the manual
2. Clean your tools after each use. I’m not saying you should scrub with soap and water. Cleaning with a piece of cloth or a dry brush is ok for most tools. Give special attention to the working ends of the tools.
3. Garden tool care involves storing your tools properly. This includes preparing them for short-term (to be used tomorrow or next week) or long-term (to be used next season) storage, using appropriate storing methods, keeping them dry, storing them in the right place…learn more about garden tool storage.
4. Make sure tools are in proper working condition before each use. Blades and working edges should be sharp while handles and replaceable parts are firmly attached. The experience will teach you that less physical force is needed when a blade is sharp than when it’s blunt. This tells on the tool in the long run.
5. Perform regular tune-ups and maintenance for all your tools especially the powered tools. To help you keep track and not forget, you can keep a maintenance schedule. This is a list of all your tools that need regular maintenance and the scheduled times for the maintenance and what tasks need to be done. Whenever any maintenance appointment is kept you tick off the list and the tasks that were done. That way you have a quick reference of what has been done and what needs to be done. Many lawn mower manufacturers offer maintenance schedules which you can download for free at their websites.
When you should call in the professionals
We live in the do-it-yourself generation. All we look for is a manual and off we go. People will even buy a “Go to the moon yourself” book if it was available. Doing things yourself, especially as a gardener is a great asset and I’m in no way discouraging that healthy practice. All I want to point out in this section is we should know when to draw the line. Know when to call the pros to take over garden tool care and maintenance.
1. Very Technical maintenance jobs –
There are some tasks that you lack the training for and no do-it-yourself book will make you do it as well as the professionals. E.g. A lawn mower needs regular servicing at a lawnmower service shop. A few times you can get some success trying out some of the tasks at home. But most of the time, you will not be able to do some of the highly technical stuff like engine repair. You can try to learn but I doubt if the investment of time and money is worth the benefits.
2. Dangerous jobs –
If a particular task is dangerous. It’s better to call the professionals. A common example is blade sharpening. Some blades can be sharpened easily at home if you have the appropriate kits but there are some that are not possible to do at home. A simple rule of thumb to follow is “If there’s no appropriate kit that makes it safe to do, call the pros.”
3. When the manual says so –
There are some tasks that manufacturers clearly state should be done by people properly trained and should not be attempted at home. Trust them and obey them. It’s for your own safety. It’s also to protect the guarantee given on a tool. If you go around tampering with a tool and anything happens to it before the guarantee period expires, you will not be able to get compensation.
A final point I will like you to note is that garden tool care requires consistency to reap the full benefits.