One infographic says that the average American adult spends about nine minutes every day on gardening/lawn tasks. While that may not seem like a lot, it can really add up over time. This same infographic also states that the top activity that people spend their time on is mowing. Because so much effort is put into mowing, it's vital that you keep your mower in good repair. Good habits and maintenance not only improve mower longevity, they're better for your grass and for your safety!
Keep Your Mower Clear of Water
While it would be easier to just leave your mower outside ready to go, that's not a great idea. If it rains or even gets humid, your mower can start to corrode. This not only looks bad, but the rust can wear out mechanical components. So be sure to always store your mower in a garage or shed after mowing to avoid moisture damage.
Not only should you avoid water while a mower is ideal, you should avoid it during your mowing. For example, if it's rained recently, be sure to wait until the ground is no longer soggy. Wait until your mower or your shoes are no longer sinking into the soil. When grass is wet, it's easier for the mower to pull blades out or cut unevenly. Not only will the grass look limp and bad, but the blades will build up wet clumps of grass that will both dull the blades and rust them.
Remove Gunk From Blades After Mowing
Even if you haven't mowed wet grass, it's always a good idea to clean any gunk, like dirt and clippings, from the mower deck after you're done. Before doing this, make sure the mower is in a locked position so that there is no chance of it coming on. If you don't remove gunk from the bottom of the deck, it can actually harden and be incredibly difficult to remove. This gunk can dull blades, which causes uneven cutting, and it can wear down mower belts. To remove any buildup, put on some gloves and use a chisel (many gardening stores have ones specifically designed for mowers) to scrape the sides down.
Do a Yard Walk-Through Before Starting the Mower
This may feel like a waste of time if there aren't any large objects--like children's toys--out on the lawn. But even very small pebbles, sticks, and pine cones can damage your mower if they get run over. Immediately stop your mower if you hear grinding or if the engine seems to be struggling--these are signs that some object has damaged the blades. Along with checking the yard, make sure that your deck height has been raised. Not only will this help you avoid any damages from unseen objects that you go over, but it's better for the grass. Longer grass blades can spread out their root systems more easily. And grass that is cut too short has a harder time with photosynthesis, the process where plants use sunlight to synthesize their nutrition from water and carbon dioxide.
Do a Yearly Inspection & Tune-up
Once or twice a season, you should be sharpening the mower blades with a file. Again, when you flip your mower over make sure it is in a locked position; it's often best to remove spark plugs so that there isn't an accident from the mower starting up. Sharper blades make for cleaner cuts and help you avoid gunk buildup on the deck. When you sharpen the blades, make sure you are wearing gloves to avoid any cuts; some people use a socket wrench to unscrew the blades for easier handling.
After you sharpen the blades, be sure to look over the mower for any signs of wear that may warrant a landscaping equipment repair professional. For instance, you may need to replace the spark plugs. You may also need to replace the oil. Check any filters; if they are clogged with debris, be sure to replace them before the next mowing season.
If you follow these maintenance tasks, your mower will last longer and your grass will look great! Contact a company like Eastlake Rent-All Inc for more information and assistance.