04December 13, 2018

Technically it is still fall, but winter has set itself up in our neck of the woods. We may not have gotten any real accumulation of snow, but the cold and wind makes it feel like winter.

There are probably a few odds and ends of things you need to do in the yard.

Take a look at your lawn. You may have very long blades of grass in your lawn. If you do, get the lawn mower out for one last cutting of the lawn. If you leave those long blades of grass, they will flop over during the winter. This can lead to a condition called snow mold.

Snow mold results in dead patches of lawn in the spring. Sometimes the grass will recover, but often the grass dies and you will have to re-seed lawn areas in the spring. I know this is a pain to have to cut the grass one last time, but it can save you a lot of extra work come the spring.

You probably have a number of tools out in the shed or in the garage. These tools need maintenance before the winter sets in. Any of your pruners and shears will probably have a build up of sap on the blades. You should put some rubbing alcohol on a rag and wipe the blade until the sap loosens up.

Once the sap has been removed, apply a thin layer of oil or WD 40 to the blades. This whole process will prevent the cutting tools from rusting over the winter. If you have time before applying the oil, you can sharpen these tools. Once the tools are sharpened, you can apply the light coating of oil to prevent rusting.

Your long-handle shovels, spading forks, hoes and small trowels and cultivators have all had a busy season working in the garden. Any dirt that has accumulated on these tools should be removed. A wire brush can be used to get the dirt off the tools. These tools will work best if they are sharpened too. A metal file will allow you to put a sharp edge onto the tools. Once this is done, a light coating of oil will help to prevent rusting.

If you are done with the lawn mower, it is probably time to get it serviced. You can have it done professionally or you can do some of the basic maintenance yourself. The owner’s manual will tell you what you need to do to prep your equipment for winter. At a minimum, you should drain the gas, change the oil, put in a new spark plug, clean away the accumulated grass clippings to prevent rusting and then either sharpen or replace the blade.

If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you can often access one at the manufacturer’s web site. Also, don’t forget to put a Mouse Magic packet on or near the lawn mower to keep the mice from chewing any wiring or other critical parts. Change the Mouse Magic packets every 30 to 45 days to maintain the effectiveness of the repellency.

Well, that’s all for this week. Less than 2 weeks ’til Christmas! I’ll talk to you again next week.

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