If just sitting around enjoying your landscaping is making you a little antsy, I have an idea. Put this time to good use by getting your tools ready for the fall landscaping season that will soon be upon us. If the summer to fall transition is anything like the spring to summer transition, it will be very quick.
What do you have to do? Most importantly, find all the tools you’ll need. That can be a problem. So, the more time you have, the more likely it will be that you’ll find everything you need without having to scramble at the last minute.
Plan to sharpen bladed tools like shovels, cutters, trowels or bulb planters. Get power tools like your leaf blower ready to go when needed. Have some kind of cart or wheelbarrow at the ready and make sure your personal protective equipment is ready for another season.
Personal protective equipment depends on the task you’re doing. However, the basics include safety glasses and gloves. If using power tools, also have adequate ear protection. If you’re using a string trimmer, long pants are recommended, and if you’re pruning shrubs, I recommend a long sleeve shirt as well. Don’t put the wide brimmed hat and sunscreen away just yet. The autumn sun can be just as dangerous as the mid-summer sun.
When cutting anything, remember that a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one. Are your pruning shears, loppers, hedge trimmers, mower blades and similar cutting surfaces sharp? If not, sharpen them. Sharpening your shovel(s) will make such autumn jobs as dividing perennials much easier than trying to use a dull shovel. Sharp trowels or bulb planters will ease your fall planting of spring bulbs.
Gas power tools should be checked before fall in the same way they are in spring. Replace dirty air filter elements. Clean and gap spark plugs if they need it. Check the crankcase oil for four cycle machines and top it off if it’s low or change it if it’s dirty. Mix oil and gas properly for two cycle machines.
For the new battery powered equipment, keep enough charged batteries to do the job. This may include buying one or more spare batteries so you can keep working while run-down batteries charge.
Wheelbarrows, wagons, carts and other conveyances roll better when their axles are greased and pneumatic tires are inflated to the pressure stamped on the sidewalls.
And you thought summer was just for sitting and watching the grass grow! Follow the Boy Scout motto and Be Prepared…now while there’s no pressure to start working against time in anticipation of the first snowfall.
We need to sharpen our chainsaw after every use because we need it ready for emergency work. I HATE sharpening blades. Fortunately, someone else is happy to do it. My colleagues take very good care of their tools, as well as mine. Because they work in a public space, something as simple as a destabilized tree on a hiking trail is an emergency.