As sad as it is for gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts, winter is just around the corner – and that means it’s time for prepare your lawn and garden tools, as well as outdoor equipment, grills and furniture for winter.
Nothing shortens the life of outdoor items like leaving them unprepared and exposed to winter’s fury.
Whether it’s a garden tool, your favorite grill, or a set of outdoor lawn chairs, how you care for them this fall is critical to their longevity. After all, they are not exactly inexpensive to replace!
With that in mind, here is a quick checklist of outdoor items that need a little attention before the snow starts flying.
Preparing Garden Tools, Equipment & More For Winter
Garden & Lawn Hand Tools
Fall is the perfect time to clean, sanitize, and winterize all of your lawn and garden hand tools. And yes, sanitizing is important, especially when it comes to garden and landscape tools.
Plant diseases can easily be transferred from plant to plant from hand tools. Especially cutting tools such as clippers, pruners and shears.
Start by thoroughly cleaning hand tools with soapy hot water. Scrub clean any dirt and grime from blades. Next, wipe them down with a solution of 1/2 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water to disinfect. (always use hand protection)
Now is also a great time to sharpen blades with a sharpening stone or wheel. Pruners, shovels and shears perform way better and with less effort with sharp blades!
Then, before putting them away for the year, apply a thin coat of oil to the metal. A quick mist spray of WD-40, 3-in-1 oil or even pure vegetable oil spray is all it takes to keep them rust free.
Much like putting your garden to bed properly, your garden tools will be ready to rock next spring!
Mowers, String Trimmers, Hedge Trimmers, etc. – Preparing Garden Tools
Taking care of your gas and electric power equipment is a must before winter. That is, unless you want to struggle with them working early next spring.
Take time now to clean off mowers, string trimmers, and other power equipment. Removing the grass, dirt and grime can prevent rust and premature failure.
Next, perform the necessary oil changes and greasing chores to make sure they are ready to roll next spring. It usually takes a few hours, but it’s far easier to perform in the slower pace of fall than spring, when so much time is needed for planting, growing and mowing!
Finally, move any batteries and chargers indoors and out of the cold. Do not keep them charged all winter, but keep them out of harsh weather.
For any gas equipment, either run the engines dry, or use a gas fuel additive to keep the fuel from going bad over the winter. Bad or stale gas is one of the leading causes of equipment failure in early spring!
Grills & Outdoor Furniture – Preparing Garden Tools & More
Nothing is damaged more from winter than outdoor grills and furniture left out in the elements unprotected. Snow, wind, rain and ice can rust grills and outdoor lawn furniture, not to mention take a toll on cushions too.
If at all possible, move grills and outdoor furniture to a protected space. And if none is available, then cover and secure it all together.
Winter weather and winds prematurely destroy more grills and furniture than any use in the summer ever will. Secure grill covers with bungee cords or straps to keep grills protected.
Move furniture together and cover with a tarp to keep the snow and ice off. By putting it together in one space, you lower the risk of wind taking individual pieces.
You can now find weather proof outdoor covers for nearly anything – from fire pits, grills and pizza ovens, to outdoor furniture and more. And although they may cost a bit now, they are far better than having to replace your outdoor furniture and equipment next spring! Product Link : Covermate Outdoor Covering Store
And Don’t Forget To Prepare For What’s Coming! Preparing Garden Tools
Finally, while putting away and preparing all your summer “stuff”, don’t forget to make sure your cold weather tools are ready to go too.
Now is the time to make sure the things you will need this winter are at the ready. If you own a generator, make sure it is gassed, ready, and fires up. In addition, make sure chain saws, snowblowers, and snow shovels are in place and ready to go as well.
You never know when a winter storm may come calling, but at least you will be prepared and ready!
Here is to preparing your garden tools, equipment and outdoor furniture for winter! Happy Gardening Jim and Mary
Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.
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