Having the proper tools makes every job easier. Winter is the perfect time to tend to landscaping tools like pruners, shovels and even trucks. I recently spent a weekend learning the proper ways to keep my tools in top shape and am pleased to report that about half my tools are now ready for another season of vigorous activity. I will clean and sharpen the rest of my tools before the winter is over. After all, a landscape girl has to have something to do during the dark, cold, short days of winter.
Pruners were first on my list since they are used daily during the growing season. We cleaned the sap and dirt off the blades with steel wool and WD-40. Once cleaned, they were sharpened on a belt sander. We applied a finish coat of oil to keep the blades lubricated and to prevent rust. While I had access to a large belt sander, a hand-held one will do or you can use a whetstone. In some cases, blades might need to be replaced. This was the case with my pruners. Like me they were tired from daily use.
Once we sharpened the pruners, we took the same approach with shovels and loppers. Oil, clean, sharpen, oil. Repeat! I have to say the process was satisfying. Sort of like cleaning the house, but better, because we are talking gardening tools, not vacuum cleaners and dusting cloths!
My wheelbarrow needed a different kind of makeover. I was constantly pumping up the tire, which was time consuming and exhausting. Installing a flat free tire was the perfect (and a permanent) solution. I no longer need to take a portable tire inflator with me to jobs.
My most treasured tool is my beloved Ford Ranger. This vehicle carries plants, debris and tools and so far, it has never let me down. It gets extremely dirty during the season but each January I have it detailed and then store it in the garage connected to a life-supporting battery charger. ‘White Lightning,’ as my truck has come to be known, gets charged up for a couple months and is ready to go come spring.
Even if you don’t have a landscaping business like me, it’s still important to take to care of your tools. Sharpened shovels, pruners and loppers make gardening tasks easier and more enjoyable. And who doesn’t want to ride around town in a beautifully detailed vehicle?