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How to Put Your Lawn Mower into Storage for the Winter

11/28/2016
 
Your lawn mower has faithfully seen you through weekly mowing sessions in late spring, summer, and early fall. Now that fall is about to give way to winter, it is time to put it into storage until next spring. However, doing so isn’t as simple as placing it in the garage and forgetting about it for months. After the last mow of the season, you need to take several steps to ensure that you store it safely. Taking an hour or two now will also keep the mower in good working condition until you need to use it again.

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Your Push Mower for Storage
Leaving unused gasoline in a lawn mower while it sits in your garage for months is just inviting trouble. Not only is this a fire hazard, it also invites rust and gums up the mower’s carburetor. To remove the fuel, first add stabilizer to the tank and start the mower’s engine. This forces it to distribute the stabilizer throughout the system. 
 
Next, turn your mower off and wait for it to cool. When you’re certain it is cool enough, siphon the remaining gas into a clean can. Start your lawn mower and allow it to run until it stops from the lack of fuel. Repeat this process until the fuel lines are empty and the mower no longer starts. Before proceeding further, disconnect the spark plugs to avoid serious injury. You’re now ready to complete these last steps: 
 
  • Remove the mower blade by unscrewing the bolts holding it in place. Be sure to wear thick gloves to prevent cutting your hands. 
  • Change the oil if your mower has a 4-cycle engine. With a pan nearby, place a tarp under the mower to catch oil spatter. Placing the mower on its side with its carburetor and oil filter facing up, remove the plug of the oil reservoir. Now you can tilt the mower slowly until its oil starts dripping into the pan. Don’t forget to replace the plug once all the oil has drained. 
  • Clean the underside of the mower by scraping mud and grass of its deck with a putty knife. This clears its passageways and prevents rust build-up during the winter. You can now re-attach the blade and put fresh oil in the tank. It should be a lighter oil such as SAE-30. 
  • Change the mower’s air filter or clean if it has a reusable sponge. 
  • Replace the spark plugs. You may want to consider investing in new ones each season.
 
The Lawnsmith is Here for You All Four Seasons
Some landscape and lawn care companies shut down for the winter, but not The Lawnsmith. Give us a call if you still need help with fall clean-up or if you’re thinking ahead to snow removal or roof raking services this winter.

Photo Credit: Comstock / Getty Images
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Is It Harmful to Keep Leaves on the Lawn During the Winter?

11/1/2016

 

If history is any indication, the first snowfall could hit the western suburbs of Minnesota’s Twin Cities in less than a month. As fall gives way to winter, clients of The Lawnsmith often ask us if it will ruin their lawn if it snows when they still have a lot of leaves in their yard. The short answer is it depends on what you do with the leaves.

If you leave them in large piles that eventually gets covered by snow, it is difficult to impossible for air and light to get in. These elements are important because they help to compost the leaves during the long winter months. Blocked sunlight and reduced water evaporation can cause mold, disease, and fungus as well. When spring comes, you’re likely to find bare or yellow spots where the leaves sat on the lawn. The leaves themselves will also be slippery and challenging to remove from your grass.

Spreading Leaves Evenly Across Your Lawn Will Not Harm It
On the other hand, scattering the leaves so they are spread out instead of in piles will not cause lasting harm to your lawn. The same is true when you mulch your leaves into the grass. Since leaves contain few nutrients, they are unable to control disease or weeds. However, leaves do attract worms that help to aerate and fertilize your lawn for the winter months.

If you do opt for spreading leaves on your lawn, we recommend shredding them first. If you don’t have a built-in mulch grinder on your mower, just contact us for help.

Let Us Pick Up Your Leaves
We remove leaves and haul them away as part of our fall clean-up service. This includes leaves on your lawn as well as in window wells and landscaped beds. It is also important to remove leaves from gutters before the snow is here to stay for a while. If you’re not up to that task, we also offer fall gutter cleaning. 

Photo Credit: Gudella / Getty Images

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