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Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved
With the winter weather, outdoor gardening activities begin to wind down. There is still fall clean up, mulching and winterization of the garden. As part of the winterization, remember to treat your tools and power equipment with the same protective care you provide for your plants.
A few minutes spent now will make life much easier next spring. Winterize the mower so it will start next spring. Start by disconnecting the spark plug before beginning work on the mower.
Drain out all the gasoline and coat the inside of the tank with a marine rust inhibitor. Alternatively buy some fuel stabilizer and add it to the fuel. Start the engine and run it for a few minutes so the carburetor fills with stabilized fuel. If you do not do this varnish in the fuel clogs the jets and prevents the mower from starting next spring.
Drain out the old oil and replace it with fresh oil. Used oil contains moisture that causes internal parts to rust and it contains acid that corrode the parts. Fresh oil helps protect valuable engine parts. Remove and clean the air filter and replace it if necessary.
Remove and sharpen the mower blade before storing it for the winter. A dull blade strains the mower engine and produces a less satisfactory cut. While under the mowing deck changing the oil and checking the blade, scrape out the accumulated grass that is built up on the mower.
Inspect the mower wheels and replace worn wheels to ensure a level cut next spring. Clean of the top of the mower and make certain the grass catcher is clean and dry.
Clean the plant material and dirt from your power tools such as leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, and weed whips. Replace fouled spark plugs, oil all necessary parts, and sharpen or replace worn cutting surfaces. Store all tools in a protected, dry place so they will not rust over winter.
Clean and dry pesticide spray equipment before storing it for the winter. Fill the tank partly full of water and add several drops of detergent or a cup of ammonia. Shake the tank well, and spray the solution through the pump and hoses. Drain all water out of the sprayer and sprayer lines before storing them in a dry place for the winter.