The weather has been getting colder in the Chicagoland area, and I think it’s time to come to terms with the fact that winter is right around the corner. Hopefully, you have cleaned up your gardens, removed any dead plants and have things wrapped up for the winter in your own yards. Have you considered a few other winter lawn care tasks that should be completed before the snow sets in, such as winterizing your lawn mower or other gas powered equipment or cleaning off your garden tools? We often forget that these things need to be winterized as well.
How to Winterize a Lawn Mower
Fall is a good time to clean up your mower to get it ready for next year. Clean off any grass that has collected on the underside of the deck. This is a task that should be completed on a regular basis throughout the summer, especially if the grass was wet when you mowed. If you never got around to doing so this summer, it is a good idea to take the time to do so now.
Treating the gas with a fuel stabilizer is also a good idea. I like to add this product every time I refill the gas can. If you are going to add it into the gas tank on your mower, be sure to start your mower to circulate the treated gas throughout the engine. It is also a good time to change the oil and complete any other standard maintenance tasks that your mower requires. If you are not very handy at this particular winter lawn care task, most hardware stores offer this service.
Don’t Neglect Your Other Lawn Equipment
Don’t forget about your other gas-powered equipment, such as line trimmers or blowers. They should also be cleaned up and stored for the winter. Most of these have 2-stroke engines that require the oil to be mixed with the gasoline, so treating the gas with a fuel stabilizer is also a good idea. So is replacing the spark plug.
Winterize Your Garden Hand Tools
The hand tools you used during the spring and summer, such as shovels, trowels, garden hoses and such should be cleaned off before you store them for the winter. Use a wire brush to remove caked-on soil and rust and then wipe them down with some motor oil to keep them from rusting again. Unless the handle was varnished, it is also a good idea to smooth off any rough spots with sandpaper and wipe them with some linseed oil. This will help to prevent the wood from drying out and splitting.
Get Your Snow Blower Ready
If you live in an area that receives snow, was your snow blower serviced before it was put away last spring? It is better to do it now than wait until you have your first snowfall before attempting to start it. You should also check the condition of your snow shovels. Do they need any repair or replacement? Again, it is better to check this out now than waiting until the first snow falls.
It is somewhat sad once you have put everything away for the winter. The only thing you have to look forward to is the new seed catalogues that usually come out in January. The holidays are approaching soon, so there are holiday lights to put out in the next couple of weeks. It is surprising how quickly winter can fly by and, before you know it, you will be out in the yard, planting, watering, pulling weeds and enjoying your outdoor environment once again.