Spring landscaping doesn’t stop when the lawn, trees, and landscape beds look nice — it means prepping and maintaining the equipment that cares for those plants too.
Lawnmower maintenance is critical for the health and vitality of your grass. Overgrown lawns lead to all sorts of issues, from increased vulnerability to weeds, pests, and diseases to more extreme problems like fire susceptibility. To improve your spring landscaping, you must make sure you’re taking care of the things that take care of your lawn — not keeping them an afterthought.
Proper mower maintenance keeps this appliance efficient, cost-effective, and long-lasting, with a functioning lawn mower giving you 15 to even 20 years of life. Start your spring by touching base with your mower’s owner’s manual, then move on to some of the maintenance procedures below.
Check Oil and Gasoline Levels
Old gasoline is the chief reason mowers tend to stall — or worse, not start at all — in early spring. After all, these appliances have been sitting dormant in your shed or garage, feeling the effects of winter’s chills and varying moisture levels. Prepare ahead of time by running all excess gas out of your lawnmower after your last seasonal cut, or drain and swap with fresh gasoline once warm weather hits.
Check your machine’s oil as well, using its color to gauge whether it’s been tainted or contaminated. Contaminated oil will often appear much darker in color, and its consistency will likely come altered as well. Similar to the process with gasoline, periodically replace your oil with a fresh supply to ensure your mower runs at its peak.
Sharpen Mower Blades
A mower with dull blades can cause more problems than it solves. Flat or dull blades will grind, clump, tear and rip grass in a spotty and damaging manner, ultimately decreasing both the appearance and health of your lawn.
Use a vice and metal file to sharpen your lawnmower’s blades. Given the nature of the task, you can also have a mower repair shop, a retail store that sells motors, or a landscaping company sharpen your blades. Such professional mower services ensure you’re getting the cleanest mower cut and blade tuneup — and keep your fingers safe too.
Adjust to Higher Mowing Height
Setting your mower to greater height safeguards your blades from cutting grass too short. Grass cut below two inches generally begins to yield damaging results, from brown spots to patchy lawns unable to regrow.
Grass stunts and loses its ability to bounce back when mowers trim too much of the photosynthesizing portion of its blade. The grass blade will then draw too much energy from root reserves. Once a blade starts doing so, it has effectively begun a depletion process that may result in wide-scale grass death.
Your mower should sit at a height where it trims no more than a third off the top of your grass. Combine this strategy with freshly sharpened mower blades, and you’re sure to encourage a clean-cut, vibrant lawn.