Categories
lawndethatcherguide.com

8 Lawnmower Maintenance Tips: Don’t Wait Til Spring!

Gone are the days of using the old rotary push mower to earn teenagers spending money. When you purchase a lawnmower, it is an investment, but bigger, better, faster also comes with responsibility. That means seeking out lawnmower maintenance tips to keep your mower running.

Most people don’t worry much about their mower until it doesn’t start. That almost always occurs when you’re trying to get your lawn mowed before a three-day storm. Employing a simple routine and following lawnmower maintenance tips can prevent catastrophe.

When winter hits, many folks just park the mower in the garage or shed and forget about it until spring. Doing a bit of fall maintenance will make sure your mower starts in the spring.

Why Fall Lawnmower Maintenance Is Important

You might be wondering why fall lawnmower maintenance is important. It really isn’t… that is, if you want to fight to get your mower started in the spring. If you don’t want that fight, an hour of your time in the fall can make your spring much more enjoyable.

Taking care of a few things before you put your mower away for the winter will make sure that it is ready to go when you need it. Before you exchange your mower for a shovel or snow blower, doing these tasks will protect your investment.

Remove the spark plug wire before performing any maintenance on your lawnmower.

8 Winterization Lawnmower Maintenance Tips

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is:

  • Drain and replace the oil
  • Check, clean, or replace the spark plug
  • Check, clean, or replace the air filter
  • Clean the mower deck
  • Check and sharpen the blade
  • Clean out the grass collection bag
  • Check axles and wheels
  • Drain gasoline or add a fuel stabilizer agent

That’s all there is to it. We’ll cover each task in detail below. Plan to spend one to two hours from start to finish. It may take you less time, or longer, depending on your mechanical abilities. The good news is that once you learn these tasks, they will serve you well for years.

1. Drain and replace the oil

Draining the oil will differ slightly depending on the type of mower you have. Please consult the owner’s manual or maintenance guide for your model. If you don’t have them, you may be able to find them at the manufacturer’s website. You can also check Manual Library online. You will need the model number for your mower.

Draining your oil

The steps for changing your engine oil are:

  • Run the mower for several minutes to warm up the oil so it flows better
  • Clean the area around the oil fill, deck, and oil drain (not all mowers have drains
  • Have an oil pan ready to catch the used oil and rags to wipe with
  • Remove the oil fill cap
  • Without an oil drain: Gently tip your mower on its side allowing the oil to drain from the fill spout
  • With an oil drain: Remove the drain plug and direct the oil into your drain pan

If your mower has a drain plug, you may still need to tip it slightly to make sure it drains completely. It is a good idea to leave your mower tipped for a few minutes to get complete drainage.

If your mower has an oil filter, you should change that also. Most push-behind mowers do not have an oil filter. Check your owner’s manual to see if your mower has this feature.

Refilling your oil

Make sure that you close the oil drain if your mower has that installed. Use the oil specified in your owner’s manual. This is normally SAE-30 engine oil.

Place your mower on a flat, level surface. Fill the crankcase to the level on your dipstick. This normally does not use a full quart, and you want to be sure that you don’t overfill the reservoir. There should be a dipstick on your oil fill cap. Add small amounts and check between addition until it reads at the full mark.

2. Check and replace the spark plug

Spark plugs will generally last more than one year on a lawnmower, but they may need cleaning. Using a spark plug socket, remove the spark plug and inspect the electrode.

Clean it with a soft cloth to remove residue and inspect it for damage. If it is pitted, burnt, or degraded, you should replace it. If the electrode looks good after cleaning, you can check the gap using a gapping tool and reinstall the spark plug.

3. Check, clean, or replace the air filter

Checking, cleaning, or changing the air filter on your lawnmower should be a regular part of your maintenance. It is a fairly simple procedure:

  • Remove the air filter cover
  • Clean the cover and metal filter with a cloth and solvent as needed
  • Clean the foam filter using the recommended procedure from your owner’s manual
  • Remove and discard the paper filter, if installed
  • Insert new paper filter if your mower uses one
  • Reinsert the clean foam filter
  • Replace the air filter cover

Refer to the manual for your model, as there are slight differences with each engine.

4. Clean the mower deck top and bottom

Keeping your mower deck clean will prevent rust and help your mower last longer. While there are many methods you can use, perhaps the easiest is using compressed air. If you have a compressor this job takes seconds.

With no compressor, you can use a cloth to brush away grass and debris from the top and bottom of the deck. This should be done each time you use your mower. Wipe away any oil or gasoline drips on the deck. Clear any collected grass from the chute area and under the mower deck.

5. Check the blade and sharpen

Checking your mower blade at the end of the season gives you time to sharpen it before spring. You can do this yourself, or you can take it to your local mower repair facility.

Sharpening a lawnmower blade is not difficult with the proper tool. Using a blade sharpening attachment for your electric or cordless drill is the recommended procedure. The tool ensures the correct angle and sharpens the blade without files.

You should remove the blade for this procedure, and balance the blade using a blade balancing cone. If your blade is not properly balanced, it will create strain on the lawnmower shaft while cutting and damage your mower.

You can use many other methods to sharpen a lawnmower blade, but this is definitely the easiest.

6. Clean out all grass collection bags

If your mower has a grass collection bag, you should empty it after each use. Frequently, mower bags will collect an absurd amount of dust during regular use. To remove that we recommend compressed air. Please wear safety goggles and a face mask, as this will produce a lot of dust.

An alternate method, if you don’t have an air compressor, is to knock the dust out by striking the bag with something. Hold the bag up away from the mower and strike it with a wrench or similar item. This won’t get all the dust out, but will remove a lot of it.

7. Check wheels, height adjustments, and axles

Checking your wheels is an easy task many of us put off until the wheel falls off. You should be inspecting wheels for cuts or missing chunks, checking the rotation, and making sure they don’t wobble.

In addition to checking the wheels, you should check and lubricate the adjustment bracket. This allows you to raise and lower the height of the lawnmower deck. Keeping these in good working order makes that task easier.

If you have wobbly wheels, there are a number of ways to correct them. You can replace the wheel assembly with new wheels. Or you can shim the old wheels. It seems that every lawnmower mechanic has a different fix for wobbly wheels.

This video shows the replacement of the shoulder bolts and wheel bushings.

This video demonstrates the procedure to replace a broken tire with a new wheel. The dogs are free.

8. Drain gasoline or add a fuel stabilizer

Gasoline has a shelf life. Who knew? Well, we do, and now you do. While most people leave gasoline in their mower over the winter, that isn’t a good plan. Fuel can break down after three to five months and cause problems with your mower:

  • Unused gas may clog fuel system
  • Carburetor may get damaged
  • Fuel may separate and go bad

Old gasoline turns into a varnish-like substance that can really gum up a mower engine. Preventing that is simple, though:

  • Run the mower until your fuel is completely gone
  • Add a fuel stabilizer to your gasoline

If you didn’t do that last fall and now your mower won’t start, use a product such as TruFuel Ethanol-Free Fuel to start your mower. TruFuel will offer a reliable first start and keep your mower reliably all summer.

Keeping a starting fluid in your garage can also aid in starting a stubborn mower. Used sparingly, a spritz directly into the carburetor can save your back from excessive pulling on the starting cord.

Lawnmower Maintenance Tips for Periods of Use

Each week when you mow your grass, there are maintenance checks that will prolong the life of your lawnmower. Taking a few minutes each time you use your mower can add years to its life. Because a new mower is an investment, you want it to last a long time.

Checks to perform before you mow:

  • Check the fuel level and fill as needed
  • Check the oil level and fill as needed
  • Make sure all levers and cables move freely

Things to check before you put your away:

  • Clean debris and grass off the deck of the mower
  • Clear any clumps of grass and dirt from the underside of the mower deck

Taking a few minutes before and after you mow can ensure that your mower starts and runs reliably for the entire season. Winterization maintenance will make your first mow of the season an easy task also.

Lawnmower Maintenance Tips Work for Snow Blowers Too

Lawnmowers and snow blowers use very similar (and often identical) engines. All the lawnmower maintenance tips for winterizing your mower can be used on your snow blower in the spring before you put it away for the summer.

Although your snow blower doesn’t have the same configuration for the deck and blade, clearing the area around the auger is just as important. Your yard and garden equipment is an investment, and if you take a few minutes to care for it, it will last for many years.

Protecting Your Investment is a Year-Round Task

Lawnmower maintenance tips aren’t just for the fall. Taking care of your equipment is a year-round task. It only takes a few minutes to perform checks before each use and to clean after use.

We hope you learned a new trick or two. Please let us know in the comments if you have tricks and tips you use to keep your equipment running at peak efficiency.

Categories
lawndethatcherguide.com

Winter Lawn Care Tips that Every Homeowner Needs to Know

With fall giving way to colder weather, it’s time to learn some invaluable winter lawn care tips to keep your green looking lush and healthy.

All through the spring and summer, you have given your lawn the love and attention it deserves, and the same dedication applies in the winter. The last thing you want is your gorgeous green turning into a sludgy expanse of mud.

During these strange times that we find ourselves in, our gardens have become our very own little sanctuaries. For those fortunate enough to have a garden, the lawn provides a welcome retreat from the constant barrage of bad news around us.

Therefore, to protect and improve your green, it’s time to learn some winter lawn care tips.

Winter Lawn Care Tips

As the colder weather approaches and the leaves turn golden on the trees, the gardener in us understands that some essential jobs lay ahead of us.

Much like we may spring clean our homes, the fall provides us with a stream of chores to prepare for the winter months ahead when it comes to our gardens.

If you want to keep your garden in tip-top shape, then learning some essential winter lawn care tips should be on the top of your list.

Remove any leaves and debris from the lawn using a rake. If the lawn has put on a last spurt of growth, then give the grass a final trim to prepare for winter.

In addition, you will want to dethatch your lawn one last time before overseeding any bare patches and spreading some moss control granules.

Before you put your lawn to bed, tuck it in with some lawn fertilizer to see it through the cold weather.

We Love Our Lawns

One of the biggest crops grown in the USA comes in the form of the humble lawn. Though a lawn technically forms a crop, it’s not something that we may eat.

However, creating the perfect lawn remains a hobby we find ourselves obsessed with.

A beautiful lawn area provides us with a relaxing, peaceful place to recline during those warm summer months.

For many of us struggling through lockdowns, the lawn remains our escape into the outside world. Our gardens represent a safe place for us and our immediate families.

Who doesn’t love to lounge on the grass with a glass of wine and a picnic?

Mental health

Many states around the country find themselves in varying conditions of lockdown. Subsequently, we may find times when the garden represents our only safe haven.

When we find ourselves faced with a lockdown, the effect on our mental health is profound.

Gardening is one of those crucial hobbies that benefit our state of mind. More than any other time, our gardens have become our safe spaces and a lifeline into the outside world.

The uncertainty we face has seen the popularity of gardening increase dramatically, and it offers us comfort as we confront the problems around us.

Learning some handy winter lawn care tips may help save our lawns and help to protect our mental health.

If we want to create a safe space for ourselves and our families, then the garden represents a fantastic opportunity to engage our children and ourselves alike.

Why Winter Lawn Care Tips Remain so Important

Depending on where you live, the winter may bring with it some pretty challenging weather. You may live somewhere lucky enough to experience mild conditions that will see your garden flourish.

However, many of us face torrential rain, heavy frost, and severe snowstorms. Consequently, learning some essential winter lawn care tips will preserve your green for the spring and summer.

Heavy snow will compact the soil and crush the frozen grass beneath. Heavy rain will turn the lawn into a swimming pool of soft, sticky mud.

Frost will turn your grass into a brittle expanse of greenery trapped in hard, unyielding soil. None of these conditions remain ideal for a healthy lawn.

Say goodbye to the green

If you don’t apply some handy winter lawn care tips, you may find the lush green grass turns into a dead, yellow mess.

Dead patches may form, and if left unchecked, moss and weeds may invade to take over your beloved turf.

Hard impact

Crushed grass may struggle to survive. When the cold weather hits, the likelihood is that the soil will turn as hard as a stone.

As a result, the roots of your grass will find it difficult to spread out in the earth to find water.

Eventually, the grass will die or develop unsightly bald patches that will require a great deal of work to rescue in the spring.

Let’s Explore Some Winter Lawn Care Tips

Many of the jobs we undertake during the spring and summer also apply to preparing your lawn for winter.

If you want to know when to fertilize lawns, then stick with us as we delve into our handy winter lawn care tips.

Fall into winter

As fall announces its arrival with a crisp, chilled promise of winter, one of the main jobs we face is removing leaves from the lawn.

Fallen leaves will kill the grass if left unchecked because they block out the sunlight and compact the grass.

The leaves may rot down to a thick thatch, which will strangle the grass to leave you with nothing more than a dead patch.

Clear any fallen leaves from the lawn. Use a leaf blower to corral the debris into one area. Alternatively, a good quality rake and a little elbow grease will soon see your grass clear of any unwanted debris.

However, don’t let the leaves go to waste as they provide the perfect mulch to apply around tender plants to protect their roots.

Furthermore, the leaves will break down to form a nutritious top dressing for your garden in the form of leaf mold.

The final trim

You may find your lawn puts on a last spurt of growth as the fall set in. It is worth getting out your lawnmower one last time to give your grass a final manicure.

The final cut’s effect is two-fold because it will give the lawn a neat finish and discourage it from growing any further just as it reaches its dormant period.

Tall grass may form a breeding ground for pests and diseases. Cutting your grass short may significantly lessen the risk of infection.

Dethatch the lawn

One vital winter lawn care tip is to dethatch your grass thoroughly. A long season of growing, cutting, and then leaf fall means that a layer of thatch may clog up your green.

If left unchecked, the thatch may strangle your lawn, and the grass will die.

Use a lawn dethatcher to treat the grass and remove the unwanted layer. The process will remove any grass cuttings and help to pull out invading moss.

Repair the bald spots

Before the harsh weather arrives, it is worth repairing any bald spots on your lawn. Any unchecked bald spots will quickly become overrun by weeds and moss, spreading out and damaging your grass.

Use a stiff rake to break up the soil’s surface and apply a thin layer of grass seed. If the weather remains dry, then make sure to water the seed into position.

While the grass won’t put on a great deal of growth over the winter months, the repaired patches will have time to establish themselves before flourishing in the spring.

Moss control

Moss thrives in the winter. Damp shady conditions allow the moss to flourish, and the moss may quickly overtake your grass.

Therefore, removing moss is one of our vital winter lawn care tips. If left untreated, the moss will overrun your lawn during the winter so that when spring arrives, the grass is no more.

The lawn dethatcher will remove a significant amount of moss. However, a preparatory moss control treatment will remove the remaining nuisance.

Tread lightly

Heavy snow and frost will compact your soil and make it impossible for the grass to find water. It is vital to aerate the soil as part of your winter lawn care regimen.

Use a soil aerator to lighten the lawn area’s texture and density to give the grass time to breathe.

An important tip

Waterlogged soil becomes easily compacted when you walk on it. Where possible, avoid walking on the lawn during the winter months to help prevent the soil compacting.

When the frost hits, the grass is especially vulnerable. Walking on frozen grass will significantly damage the lawn and result in visible patches and bare paths when the spring arrives. So avoid walking on the grass when you see a layer of frost resting on it.

If you step on wet soil, you force the air out. When the soil dries, the lack of air pockets means it becomes compacted, and the roots of the grass are unable to grow.

This will cause the grass to wither and die. That is why it is vital to aerate your lawn and avoid walking on it during the winter months.

When to fertilize lawns

Fertilizing our lawns forms an essential part of our spring and summer regimens. However, before the grass goes into hibernation, it is worth applying one last lawn feed application to prepare it for winter.

Winter lawn feed will boost your grass’s health and allow it to store up essential vitamins and nutrients to see it through the cold weather.

Start applying winter feed from September through to December, and your grass will spring back into glorious life when the growing season begins.

Understanding when to fertilize lawns will ensure a lush, healthy green when the spring returns.

While the grass will not grow during cold weather, it will use the lawn feed to strengthen its roots in readiness for the warm weather.

Look out for fungal infections

The grass is weakest during December, January, and February when the essential nutrients in the soil wash away due to rain and snow. Such conditions may give rise to fungal infections, which will destroy the lawn.

Look out for any odd patches that display a white, moldy appearance or circular rings. Use a fungicidal treatment on the infected areas to control the disease.

Knowing when to fertilize your lawn is essential because an application of feed will provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients to combat any fungal infections naturally.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Snow will not necessarily damage your lawn. If anything, the grass may remain snug beneath the white blanket. Consequently, if you want to build a snowman, then go for it as it will not damage the grass.

However, as snow melts, you may notice mold growing in white ring-like patches. Keep an eye on the grass as the snow melts and treat the areas accordingly.

Winter Lawn Care Tips Explored

We live in uncertain times, and for many of us, our gardens represent a safe place in which we may retreat for comfort.

Looking after our gardens has never felt so important, so learning some essential winter lawn care tips may help us brave the oncoming storm.

While we maintain our lawns during the spring and summer months, it remains equally essential to prepare our lawns for the winter. A well-loved lawn will reward you with lush green grass as the promise of warmer weather approaches.

Remove any fallen leaves and debris before giving your lawn one final cut. Remove any dead grass and moss by using a lawn dethatcher to treat the area.

An application of moss remover will help to destroy any remaining moss. And using some grass seed to repair any bald patches may ensure a healthy lawn.

Aerating the soil and applying the last dressing of lawn feed will help your grass to overwinter the lousy weather. When the spring returns, you may enjoy a lush green lawn and a garden full of promise.

Author bio

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales, and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful jewelry making business and sells his creations online.

Categories
lawndethatcherguide.com

What Is a Lawn Dethatcher: The Lawn-Lover’s Guide to Aerating Machines

You may ask yourself the question, what is a lawn dethatcher? You may even find yourself wondering why you need a lawn dethatcher. Then you realize that your expanse of grass should be green, and yet, it looks sad and unloved.

A lush green lawn is something we all aspire too. However, all too often, we end up with swathes of dark, patchy grass that creep out like stains across our lawns. It’s at times like these that we realize just how vital lawn maintenance is to our gardens.

What Is a Lawn Dethatcher, and Why Do You Need It?

A lawn dethatcher, sometimes referred to as a lawn scarifier, is a garden tool designed to cut through the soil. The tins dig deep into the thatch layer to aid with its removal. Also, the spikes of the device help to remove dead moss and old grass cuttings.

If your lawn looks sad and tired with dark, patchy areas, then you need to scarify it. A lawn dethatcher may prove invaluable to aid with the removal of those unsightly patches. Scarifying your lawn and applying a little lawn feed will quickly return your grassy expanse to its former glory.

Understanding Your Lawn

When you consider the need for a lawn dethatcher, it is worth understanding the composition of your lawn.

It’s all about the layers

Your lawn consists of three distinct layers, all of which require attention to achieve a luscious green haven.

Green blades

The green blades of your grass are what forms that fabulous carpet across your garden. The lush green layer of blades across your lawn form the main level. It is the layer of your lawn that you see.

However, the next level remains equally important.

The soil

The soil in which the blades grow is vital for a beautiful lawn. Furthermore, you should not see this level through the grass. Good quality soil that is rich with nutrients will result in a beautiful lawn.

The thatch

Thatch is a layer of organic debris that forms between the blades and the soil. It is this layer that, if left unchecked, may cause problems with your lawn and result in those dark, unattractive patches.

Taking Care of Your Lawn

Using lawn mowers to manicure your garden and leaf blowers to remove debris from the grass form a vital part of lawn maintenance. However, to achieve a lush green lawn, you must start with good soil. The roots of your grass need a good bed in which to establish, and taking care of the soil is as important as grooming the grass itself.

Soil care

Your soil must remain evenly moist. If it dries out, the grass will die, and you will end up with yellow, patchy areas. Lawn sprinkler systems prove ideal to keep your soil moist.

Sometimes the soil in your lawn will compact, which means that air cannot circulate around the roots of the grass. Consequently, the grass will suffer, and patches may form. You may use aerating shoes that have spikes on the bottom to aerate your soil and lighten the texture.

The pH level of your soil may also prove useful to know. Use a pH tester to discover the pH of your soil, which needs to be around the 6.5 level for a healthy lawn.

Ensuring that your soil attains sufficient nutrients to feed your grass is also of vital importance. Use a proprietary feed and follow the instructions to achieve a lush green lawn.

A Quick Note

It is worth taking the time to understand the benefits and the correct way to move your grass. Simply hacking away at your lawn will do more harm than good, so take the time to understand the proper way to mow your grass before you start.

The Thatch

Thatch is an organic layer between the blades and the soil. More often than not, the thatch forms out of dead grass cuttings and moss. If left unchecked, the thatch may prevent your grass from growing properly. In turn, this may result in ugly brown patches.

Thatch removal forms an essential part of lawn maintenance, and a lawn dethatcher will make short work of this chore.

H3 How much thatch is good?

The thatch layer proves a valuable part of the function of the lawn. A layer of half an inch will aid with the soil condition, in that it will act as a mulch to lock in much-needed moisture in the soil. Also, the thatch layer traps heat between the layers, which benefits the lawn. Furthermore, as the thatch decomposes, it releases nutrients into the soil, feeding your lawn throughout the season.

However, sometimes the thatch layer accumulates to form a thicker barrier. Consequently, a thicker thatch layer may result in damage to your lawn.

Problems associated with a thick layer of thatch

A thicker layer of thatch will form a barrier between the blades and the soil. Such a layer will deprive the root system of nutrients, air, and water.

As a consequence of a thick layer of thatch, diseases may take hold in your lawn, and insect infestations may prove problematic.

How to Test Your Lawn for Problems

While you do not need to get out the ruler to test the thickness of the thatch layer, it is worthwhile performing regular lawn checks, especially during the growing season. If you find that you cannot poke your finger into the soil through the grass, then the likelihood is that you need to remove the thatch and aerate the lawn.

Try To Avoid A Buildup of Thatch

Overwatering and overfeeding your lawn may result in the grass growing quicker than necessary. The result of such growth means mowing your lawn. Therefore, the chances are that thatch may accumulate quicker than average.

Use a lawn feed that is high in nitrogen and avoid the unnecessary use of pesticides. If anything, you want to encourage worms into your lawn because they will help to aerate the soil and decompose the thatch.

Use a Lawn Dethatcher

Dethatching your lawn is the action of using a device to remove the unwanted layer of organic material. A lawn dethatcher may come in the form of a mechanical machine or a simple rake.

However, if you follow the basic principles of lawn care, you may find that you do not need to dethatch your lawn as often as you need to mow it. A mechanical lawn dethatcher will make short work of the chore and remains especially useful if you have a large expanse of grass.

What is a mechanical lawn dethatcher?

A mechanical lawn dethatcher may resemble a conventional lawnmower. However, instead of blades, it has spikes that the machine drives into the soil and blade layer to drag out the unwanted thatch.

Use a dethatching rake

A convex dethatching rake or power rake remains especially useful for the removal of thatch. The tines dig into the thatch layer so that you may pull it out. This method of thatch removal requires more physical effort than the use of a mechanical machine.

Types of Grass

Some varieties of grasses may prove more prone to thatching than others. Understanding this is particularly useful if you intend to lay a lawn from scratch.

Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass has its growing season in cool weather and is particularly prone to developing excess thatch.

Bermudagrass

Bermudagrass puts on most of its growth during the warm season. It is not as prone to thatch as Kentucky bluegrass. However, you may find it necessary to dethatch Bermudabluegrass more often than most other varieties.

Less susceptible varieties

Look out for tall fescue grasses, known as Festuca arundinacea, and also zoysiagrasses, known as Zoysia japonica. Such grasses prove less prone to thatching.

What Is a Lawn Dethatcher, and Why Do You Need It, Answered

A lawn dethatcher is the mechanical means by which we remove the organic matter, known as thatch, from our lawns. A lawn dethatcher may come in the form of a mechanical device or a dethatching rake.

The thatch layer in our lawns, if left unchecked, may cause damage to the grass. The thatch will prevent air, moisture, and nutrients from penetrating the soil layer. Consequently, you may find ugly brown patches staining your lawn.

Add a lawn dethatcher to your equipment and make it a part of your lawn maintenance routine. Regular mowing may result in the thatch layer increasing. Therefore, a lawn dethatcher remains crucial.

Maintaining moisture levels and nutrition within your lawn will help to prevent excess thatch. Also, keeping the soil aerated by using aerating shoes will create a light-textured soil and result in healthier lawns and less thatch.

Author bio

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful Jewelry making business and sells his creations online.