Take Care of Your Gardening Tools

— Written By and last updated by Elisabeth Purser
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Garden ToolsFall is a good time to clean, sharpen, and maintain your gardening tools. A sharp tool makes a cleaner cut where you are pruning or cutting grass and well maintained tools will last for years. Use a brush or cloth to remove loose soil. An old toothbrush works great for smaller hand tools. Use steel wool moistened with a small amount of lubricant to remove any sticky plant sap that may be on the tool. You can use sand paper or steel wool to remove rust. If needed, wash the tool in soapy water and dry well. Once you have the tools clean and dry, you can use a non-petroleum based oil such as linseed, mineral, or Felco® spray lubricant to protect your tools. Linseed oil is also good for the wooden handles on your tools. Give the wooden handle a light sanding and then coat with the linseed oil, letting it soak into the wood for 10-15 minutes, then remove any excess with a shop type towel or cloth. Hang or store your tools where they will be protected and dry.

Same thing with your lawn mower blades. Once you have finished mowing your grass and maybe chopping up leaves, sharpen the blades so you will be ready to go next spring. I switched to an electric lawn mower two seasons ago and love it. It is much quieter when I mow and I don’t have to worry about winterizing any engine fluids for the winter. If you do have a gas mower, you may want to change the oil, clean the air filter, and run the engine until the gas tank is empty.