Lawn Mower Maintenance and Lawn Care

Have you ever pulled the lawnmower out for that first spring cut and yank on the cord to not have it start. You probably did like I have in the past and not taken care of a few simple things last fall at the last mowing before the winter.

Here’s some tips that will make your grass cutting easier and a few things you can do to keep your lawnmower running better and longer.

First I’ll start at the end of the year, I know were in the middle of summer but you have to start somewhere. When your on your last lawn cutting you should do some things before you stow the mower for the winter. And one hint to have a better lawn throughout the winter.

The last time you cut the lawn, lower the lawnmower a notch down from what you mow it during the year. The last cut will probably be when it’s getting cold and you will hope you don’t have to do it again. But if you should get a warm spell after you cut, the lawn won’t grow much and that little extra off the top will keep you from having to pull the mower out yet again.

The fall and spring is when you fertilize lawns, it’s best for the grass. There are usually two types of fertilizer, wet and dry. The best fertilizer for your lawn in the fall contains slow release or timed release nitrogen. That will be a dry kind.

The slow release will work all winter long and help provide nutrients for the grass during the winter. It needs some help during these months and that is the best kind to put on in the fall. The spring should be a liquid kind to give the lawn a quick boost at the beginning of the year.

If you notice your lawn not perking up in the year and your watering and feeding it you might try getting the rake out and raking up some of the thatch down by the base of the grass. Usually too much dead grass down by the base of the plants stops the plant from growing well and a simple raking will take care of it.

A real fancy aerator or roller is usually not necessary for a healthy lawn that is taken care of throughout the year. If you rake up when you leave behind clumps of cut grass or use a bagging lawn mower, the rest that is left in the lawn will be a natural thatch that will help the lawn grow. Some thatch is necessary to a healthy lawn. But if you get too much, over �¾ of an inch at the base of the grass it can start to choke the grass. Brown spots in your lawn can be the cause of too much thatch in your lawn.

If you have bare spots or want to repair parts of a lawn the early spring after the frost and fall is the time to do this. You should rake the dirt loose and spread seeds over the area. You should use the same type of grass that is already there.

You can get different types of grass seed for shady areas or bright sun and this is a good idea. The different types will grow better depending on the area and amount of sun or shade the area gets.

Water evenly every few days and stay out of the area. Keep kids and pets off the new seeded area to let the grass grow. You should not fertilize new grass until it is well established. Usually after a month to make sure the new grass is taking hold. If you fertilize grass that is too young it can kill it off.

Now on to some mower maintenance that is easy. In the fall after that last mow you should do a few things that are easy and quick for the health of your mower.

First you need to empty the gas tank, the easiest way is to run it out of gas when you mow. This can be tricky, running the engine out of gas on your last cutting takes some forethought but you can get it pretty low if you try. When you are near to the end of the year you should not fill up the tank all the way, when you are, hopefully, on your last cutting don’t fill up at all and try to get the most out of the tank.

Then when your done mowing either take the tank off or turn the mower over without the cap on and pour the gas into an empty coffee can or some such and put it into the gas can. Take this gas and use it. If you have a snow blower you can keep it for that but the important point is that you don’t want to use this gas again next year. As long as it’s regular gas with no oil added use it in your car or whatever.

Gas over the winter will produce some condensation whether it is in the tank or a can and will get water in it. This will make that first start in the year hard or impossible due to water in the gas. So you want an empty lawn mower at the end of the year. When the tank is empty run the engine till it dies. This ensures all the gas it out of the engine and carburetor.

Before you put the mower away for the year you should spray a real quick spurt of wd-40 in the gas can. This will prevent the inside of the tank from rusting. It will not hurt the engine or carburetor any and will mix with the gas next year when you put it in. There won’t be enough to be noticeable when you fill the tank in the spring.

A little cleaning is in order, too. Using a putty knife or spatula scrap the underside of the deck and get all that grass off it. You don’t want to use water to clean it off. This will add rust to the bottom of the deck and you don’t want that. Just scrap off the bottom as well as you can and then use a whisk broom or old paint brush to get off the rest.

To prevent more rust and to help the grass stop sticking to the deck spray the entire underside with wd-40 or some other lubricant. This will make mowing easier and protect the deck.

If you have a bagger you can wash this out with water and hang it up to dry. Water won’t hurt it and can get the dust out of the fabric. A bagging lawn mower works by pushing air and the grass through the mower and into the bag. The air goes through but the grass doesn’t. If the bag is real dirty it may not work as well.

You can do some of the maintenance in the fall after you last use the mower or in the spring just before that first cut. You should take out the spark plug and check it or just replace it. They only cost a couple of dollars and will help your mower run better.

Clean out the filter or change it if it’s the paper kind. If you have a filter that is a sponge you should wash it out with hot soapy water. Just use hot water and dish soap to get all the oil and stuff out and then rinse well. When your done and it is dry, rub some motor oil into it to catch the dust and grass clippings from going into the carburetor.

You should check the oil level, too. If yours is the kind with gas and oil mix for fuel you won’t have any, but you should top off the oil if it’s low.

Before doing any work under the deck of the mower near the blade or by the deck like with the wheels you should disconnect the spark plug so the mower doesn’t start. If you turn the blade with the spark plug connected the mower may accidentally start. So just disconnect the wire from the plug before working around the blade.

This is a good time to sharpen the blade as well. There are places all over like hardware stores and small engine shops that will do this for about ten dollars but it will make mowing easier and better for the lawn.

Look the mower over and check for loose things and tighten them up if needed. A bad time for something to fall off is when your putting around the lawn.

You should start the year off on a good note with a mower that starts right up with good gas and a new tune up. Your lawn will be healthier and better off with a properly running mower.

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