Do You Have Your Lawn and Lawnmower Ready For Winter?
Winter will be here before you know it, and with it comes some yearly lawn care and equipment maintenance. Before you stop mowing for the year and put the mower in storage, there are a few things you'll want to do. Now's the time to back-off on water and fertilizer for the lawn and make sure the mower is clean and ready for storage.
For The Lawn
There's not a whole lot to do in getting lawns ready for winter. Here are the two main things that will help keep your lawn healthy until next spring:
No Food or Water
Stop fertilizer applications when the weather starts to cool. Warm-season grasses only grow in hot weather. When the grass starts to go dormant in the fall, they won't need extra food.
Also, reduce watering when the weather cools. The only reason to water a dormant law is if the weather is unusually warm with no measurable precipitation for about two weeks. In that case, you can water the lawn for about 15 minutes once a week to keep the soil from drying out completely.
Keep An Eye Out
Weeds can keep growing throughout the winter, so make sure you keep an eye out for those. Remove winter weeds by pulling or with spot application of an herbicide on a warm day.
You also don't want the grass smothered by fallen leaves. Clean up leaves that fall in the autumn to help prevent grass damage from lack of light or from fungus developing in the lawn.
For The Mower
Prepping your lawn mower for the winter will help keep it in good shape so you won't have any problems with it next spring. Here's what to do:
Prep For Storage
Add a fuel stabilizer or drain the fuel before storage. Leaving fuel containing ethanol sitting around in your mower for more than 30 days can damage your fuel system and engine.
If you'll be storing the mower for less than 90 days, you can just add fuel stabilizer according to package direction. Otherwise, use a siphon to drain as much of the fuel as possible, then start the mower and let it run until the remaining fuel has been used up.
If your mower has a 4-cycle engine, this is also a good time to change the oil.
Clean Things Up
Clean the lawnmower thoroughly. Removing dead grass and dirt helps prevent rust. Since you'll be working under the deck anyway to clean the mower, this is a good time to sharpen the cutting blades.
Remove the air filter and spark plug, and clean or replace them as needed.
Store It Right
Store your lawnmower in a dry place, preferably one that's free of dust and where it won't frost. Do not store it next to a water heater, furnace, or device using a pilot light.
Don't use plastic to cover your mower – it can trap moisture. If you want to cover it, use fabric.
Following these tips will ensure your lawn and lawnmower get through the winter without any problems. When you take good care of your lawn and your mower in the fall and over winter, you'll be all ready to start back up with your lawn care and mowing next spring.