Gardening: Lawn Mowers for Non-Mechanics: The Basics of Lawn Mower Maintenance and Use Colombia


In a month, South Carolina homeowners will be mowing their lawns again. The push lawn mower is probably the most common mechanical equipment most homeowners use.

However, basic lawn mower care can be summed up in four short steps:

  1. Empty the gas tank every year.
  2. Change the oil every year.
  3. Change the blade at least every three years
  4. Check the air filter twice a year.

Of course, specific instructions for a particular make or model of lawn mower take precedence over the general steps in this article. (This article does not cover riding mowers or electric mowers.)






A lawn mower needs basic maintenance to keep it in top working order after a winter spent in storage. File / Ace hardware via AP




Gasoline

After the last mowing of the lawn in the fall, the gas tank should be empty. If gas remains after mowing is complete, leave the lawn mower running on a level driveway until the gas is exhausted. Stale gas left in the tank over the winter can damage lawn mower engines if the old gas is used the following spring.

Oil changes

Changing the oil in a lawn mower is the most important maintenance task in keeping the lawn mower running smoothly for many years to come. Any stain with oil can be messy, so it’s handy to have a plastic sheet to cover the driveway and a few rags.

A small bucket or other container with a wide opening is useful for catching the used oil that drains from the spout when the lawn mower is tipped onto its side. Used oil can be poured into empty oil bottles and taken to recycling centers and depot sites in Charleston County (bit.ly/2wa1WQ8).

The lawn mower engine service manual should state the amount of oil in the oil tank. To avoid overflow, measure new oil before adding it.

Gardening: Lawn vs. Seed: Planting Sod in Your Garden

Change blade

Changing the blade of a lawn mower is not difficult if you have the right tool – a brace that holds the blade stationary while the nut that holds the blade in place is loosened. These braces are commonly referred to as “lawn mower blade removal tools”.

One end of the brace attaches with a long screw to the edge of the deck, the large metal part of the lawn mower body that covers the blade. The other end of the brace grips the blade of the lawn mower.

Clean the air filter

If the air filter needs cleaning, the engine will sound rough, as if it is choking or not having enough air. Depending on the lawn mower model, a dirty air filter will need to be replaced, vacuumed, or washed.

Mowing in early spring can be very dusty with lots of dead grass fragments and pollen, so it’s a good idea to check the air filter afterwards.

Gardening: Use your phone and all kinds of wireless technologies to maintain your Charleston yard

Mowing direction

A good rule of thumb is to never mow the lawn in the same direction – that is, to push the mower in the same pattern week after week. I rotate among four patterns: horizontal, vertical and two opposite diagonals. (Granted, in mid-summer, I use the horizontal pattern every two mows, as this pattern has the fewest turns in my rectangular front yard.)

The problem with a thoughtlessly repeated pattern is that the mower’s tires compact the soil because they follow the same track over and over again, especially if the grass is mowed when the ground is wet. Compacted soil causes poor root growth, a major threat to healthy, vigorous turf.

Gardening: 'Bloom where you're planted' by adopting new plants well adapted to Charleston

Mulching mowers

Mulching mowers cut cut grass into small pieces that quickly decompose when placed on the lawn. These mowers have gently curved blades that recirculate the clippings instead of immediately unloading it onto the lawn or into a bag.

Although yard waste in Charleston County is composted, the trucks that collect the bags of cut grass require energy. A mulching mower is the easiest and most environmentally friendly way to manage cut grass, other than adding it to a household compost heap.

A small investment of time spent maintaining a lawn mower will extend the life of the mower.

Anthony keinath is professor of plant pathology at the Clemson Coastal Research & Education Center in Charleston. His expertise is in vegetable diseases. He is also an avid gardener. Contact him at [email protected]


Source link

Previous The best robot mowers for 2021
Next Home Depot is up to 60% off RYOBI outdoor tools, lawn mowers and more.