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Garden Tool Maintenance and Care

November 7, 2014 | By | Reply More

garden tool maintenance

The “after shot” and they are sparkling!

Before you start thinking that just because I’m a passionate gardener, all of my pruners and trowels are gleaming, sharp and clean enough to eat with, I need to confess to you that this is so, so far from the truth. To me, the biggest buzz kill of a successful day in the garden is collecting all of my garden tools and marching my sweaty, dirty self to the shed to give them a proper cleaning. It’s just not fun.

But, garden tool maintenance is necessary if you don’t want to purchase new tools every single year. I learned my lesson this year when I was given some beautiful hand pruners last Christmas and they are already nearly non-functional. I have seen the light and I’m now committed to proper garden tool maintenance. Like most things, it’s much easier to maintain the function and good looks of your garden tools than to try and bring a tool back from the dead. So, do as I say, not as I (used to) do!

garden tool maintenance

After a season of neglect

Garden Tool Maintenance Tips

Keep your tools clean. When you finish working in the garden for the day, spray them off with the hose and use a brush or rag to dislodge any stubborn dirt. Dry tools thoroughly before storing.

If you’ve been pruning sick or diseased plants, it may also be necessary to sanitize your pruners to avoid spreading the disease to other plants. In this case, combine about 2 teaspoons of bleach into a gallon of water and soak your pruners for a few minutes.

garden tool maintenance

Scrub with a brush and rinse well

A great tip for garden tool maintenance is to fill a five-gallon bucket with sand and add enough linseed oil to the sand to moisten it. Work your garden tools in and out of the sand a few times to really get them clean and sparkling. It’s a kind of like a conditioning exfoliator for your tools. You can even store your tools in the sand if you wish. The linseed oil is good for polishing and conditioning wooden handles, too.

Don’t let your garden gear lay on the ground or even on the floor of your shed or garage. Hang them up or put them on a shelf off the ground. Moisture is the enemy for garden tools, so keep them high and dry.

If the pivot point on your garden pruners or loppers becomes stiff, use a small drop of lubricant like WD-40 on the pivot point only.

garden tool maintenance

Storing my tools in oil-moistened sand

If you need to bring a garden tool back from the dead and remove years of old dirt, dried sap, and plant material from them, use mineral spirits. Once you have them clean, follow a regular cleaning regimen for maintenance so you don’t have to use the spirits again.

Invest in a whetstone to periodically sharpen your pruners and loppers.

Garden tool maintenance may not be quite as glamorous as say, shoveling a steaming pile of rotted cow dung onto your garden. But, great tools will help you maintain a beautiful garden more easily for years to come!


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Category: Enviable Ideas, General, Home and Garden

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