Learn / Ask The Landscape Professional
Last week you wrote about taking care of pots before winter. Is there anything special I should be doing with my tools?
Tool care is very important and fall is a
great time to work on them. There are five
things you should do: Sharpen, Repair, Oil,
Clean and Sterilize.
Keeping your tools sharp is very important.
Pruning with a dull saw or shear can cause
lots of damage to a plant. A clean cut lets
the plant heal properly and is much less
susceptible to infection in the wound area.
You can either sharpen your tools yourself,
or bring them to a professional sharpener.
Generally hardware stores and garden centers
can provide these services. I prefer to use
diamond files when I sharpen my hand pruners.
They come in a set of 3 with different levels
of coarseness (Coarse, Fine and Extra Fine).
We sell these at our office if you're interested.
Check and tighten any loose screws or nuts on
all of your pruning equipment. Check the handles
on all of your rakes and shovels. Are there any
cracks or are they loose? Replacement handles can
be found at hardware stores or garden centers.
Keep the moving parts of your equipment well-oiled.
Use WD40 or other lightweight oil on the joints
and metal surfaces of your hand pruners and loppers.
This both lubricates them as well as inhibits
rusting. Apply a thin layer of linseed oil to wood
handles to help prevent them from drying out and
Cleaning and Sterilizing
Bacteria and other pathogens can hitch a ride
from an infected plant to a healthy plant on your
blades, spades, trowels or rakes. When pruning,
you're creating wounds and if you're using infected
blades then those diseases can be passed directly.
Regularly disinfect your tools to help control the
spread of disease throughout your gardens. After
finishing work, clean the debris off and rub down
your tools with a clean cotton ball and rubbing
alcohol. Use steel wool to remove any rust and
always store tools in a clean, dry location.
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About Linda Lillie
Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier
landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry
service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of
Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national
award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.