With the warm fall we’ve had in Oklahoma, we’ve been mowing lawns a lot deeper into the season. The grass will be slowing down soon though with bermudagrass and zoysiagrass going into winter dormancy. If you are done mowing for the year, it’s a good idea to service your mower before putting it away for the season. Make sure you drain the gas tank of gasoline-powered engines or use a gasoline stabilizer. Untreated gasoline can become thick and gummy, causing damage to the engine. A few drops of oil squirted inside the spark plug hole (after you remove the spark plug) will help lubricate the cylinder. While you have the spark plug removed, go ahead and replace it with a new one. If your equipment has a battery, clean the battery terminals with a wire brush.
Now is also an excellent time to sharpen mower blades so they’ll be ready next spring. Sharpening rotary mower blades is fairly easy, and really should be done several times per season. A good, sharp blade is really important for a proper cut on the grass, and helps with the health of your turf.
The following steps will guide you through this process:
* Check the blade for major damage. If you can’t fix it, it should be replaced.
* Remove nicks from the cutting edge, using a grinding wheel or hand-file.
* If using a grinding wheel, match the existing edge angle to the wheel. If hand-filing, file at the same angle as the existing edge.
* Grind or file until the edge is 1/32 inch, about the size of a period.
* With a grinding wheel, avoid overheating the blade as this may warp it.
* Clean the blade with solvent or oil, much like if you were cleaning a gun, for optimum winter storage. Do not use water because it will promote rust.
And if you don’t want to mess with any of this yourself, just take your mower to one of our good local equipment dealers, such as Smith Farm & Garden or BA Lawn & Garden, and they’ll do it for you!