Has your lawn mower spent the winter gathering dust in your garage or shed? Mine has. And to be completely honest, I didn’t take all the necessary steps to get it ready for winter hibernation. Maybe you didn’t either. Regardless of whether you properly winterized your lawn care equipment, there are still some things you can do now to make sure your mower is ready to roll.
Get Your Motor Runnin’
It’s pretty easy to remember regular engine maintenance for your vehicle – changing the oil, checking the air filter, replacing spark plugs, etc. Your mower engine requires the same regular maintenance and spring is the perfect time to do these things. Drain any old fuel from your mower and replace it with fresh gasoline. Change the oil and filter. Check spark plugs for the proper gap and replace if you notice any corrosion. Take a look at your air filter – it may need replaced, or simply removed and blown out with an air compressor. And just like any vehicle that sits for an extended period of time, your battery may need charged before you can fire up your mower!
You wouldn’t try to slice carrots with a dull knife – it’s frustrating and inefficient, not to mention unsafe! So why would you try to cut grass with dull blades? Blades that are not properly sharpened can tear and damage your turf. Remove the blades from your mower deck and inspect them. Make sure they are sharp and if you notice any chips, it’s time to replace them.
It’s no secret that your mower vibrates during operation. Over time, this can cause nuts and bolts to loosen up – creating an unsafe situation and causing extra wear and tear on parts. Check all nuts, bolts and screws on your mower and cables. Also, take a look at any existing belts. Inspect them for wear and the proper tension. Most importantly, ensure that your blades are properly secured!
After making sure your mower is safe to operate – make sure you’re operating your mower safely. As the weather warms up, it can be tempting to mow in flip flops and shorts. But that’s not a good idea at all! Wear sturdy shoes that offer ankle protection to guard against any potential sprains or strains. Gloves will help you maintain a proper grip. Ear protection is a must – unless you like hearing your significant other repeatedly ask you to take out the trash! Safety glasses are another must – eyes are something you can’t replace.
And You’re Off!
Now you’re ready and so is your mower – or is it? Check your cutting height before taking that first lap around the yard. It’s ideal to cut grass a little shorter for the first mow of the season. If you can bag the clippings, that’s even better. Once your grass is green and growing, the mowing height depends on your turf type. Cool season grasses like fescue should generally be mowed anywhere from 3.5 to 4 inches. Warm season grasses like bermuda and buffalo can be trimmed shorter, about 2.5 to 3 inches. It’s a common misconception to think that cutting your grass shorter means you won’t have to mow as often. This just simply isn’t true – it’s completely counterproductive. Scalping your turf will actually send the grass into shock and make it grow faster.
Mowing your own lawn can be very relaxing and rewarding for some people. You feel a sense of accomplishment looking out over the freshly cut grass. But, maybe yard work just isn’t your cup of tea. Or maybe you simply don’t have time to keep your yard trimmed. That’s where Landscape Consultants can help! Our professional mowing crew can make sure your lawn is beautifully groomed all season long. If you’d like a quote, be sure to call or email us today!