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3 fall maintenance musts for gardening tools

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Fall is a great time for applying grass fertilizer and tackling lawn weeds, but at the end of the season fall is an important time for something else: tool maintenance. Before winter hits, here are three tool maintenance tasks you should be sure to accomplish.

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  1. Put away your gardening tools. This task sounds obvious, but it's surprising how easy it is to forget a rake in the back corner or to leave a shovel leaning up against the shed. After you've put your garden to sleep for the winter, do one more once over and make sure no gardening tools have been left behind.
  2. Empty your lawn mower's gas tank. If you leave gas in your mower's tank over the winter, it can oxidize or cause rust, damaging your mower. Penn State's Consumer Horticulture division recommends following the directions in the owner's manual for gasoline drainage, or another simpler method--just run the mower till it runs out of gas.
  3. Wash and dry your tools. From the pruning shears you used to lop off branches to the spreader you used to broadcast grass fertilizer, all your tools need to be cleaned before their winter nap. Some warm soapy water will do the trick. And don't forget to dry them! Clean tools will stay rust free, and removing all the chemicals from equipment ensures your garage or shed stays safe for your and your family.

You can put off tool sharpening till spring, but these three tasks just won't wait.


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