Steps for a smooth start in spring

Published 8:52 am Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here we are again, wondering where the summer went and just a little weary with weeding, watering and, yes, cutting the ever-growing grass.

If you are finished with the mower for this season, some of the important steps to take now for a smooth start next spring are:

1. Drain the gas tank or use a gasoline stabilizer.

2. Remove the spark plug and drop a bit oil in to lubricate the cylinder. Replace with a new plug.

3. If you have a battery, clean the terminals with a wire bristle brush.

4. Remove the batter and store in a cool, dry place. A battery monitor is helpful to keep the battery charged over the winter. While you are at it, sharpen the blades.

Here are the steps for blade sharpening.

1. Check for major damage and replace if necessary.

2. Use a moist cloth to remove any grass and debris. Be sure to dry before sharpening.

3. Match the existing edge angle to the grinding wheel and if hand-filing, file at the same angle as well.

4. The edge should be about 1/32 inch after filing. Be careful if using a grinding wheel not to overheat as this will cause the blade to warp.

5. For optimum winter storage, clean the blade with a solvent or oil such as used for cleaning a gun.

Your spring start will be so much more pleasant if you follow these guidelines.

I promise that you will be glad you did.

Gwen holt is a master gardener from Isle of Wight. Her e-mail address is Virginia Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who work within their communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational program of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Master Gardeners bring the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth.