The rains have returned! This is a joyous occasion for the flora in your garden. For many, however, this is not an ideal time of the year to work outside. It’s not yet time to prune roses, and most of your trees and shrubs can certainly wait for winter time pruning for a little while. I like to take advantage of this time period to maintain my tools.
Often times, we neglect our tools during the growing season. This is natural! We consistently use them during the warm months, and they begin to show the tell tale signs of dullness. Dull tools can lead to injury and they don’t slice cleanly and can cause one to slip during a pruning cut, thus pruning the hand instead of the shrub!
Now, you are likely thinking that I am strictly talking about your hedging and pruning shears, here. This is not the case! The number one tool that I see sharpened at irregular intervals at best is the shovel. SHARPEN YOUR SHOVEL BLADE. If you have never done this, please take a moment to do it and save your back a tremendous amount of strain next season. Sharpened shovels slice into the ground like a hot knife through butter!
After your blades are all sharp, do not forget to lubricate any hinged tools. Many choose to use a liquid spray lubricant such as WD-40 for this job. I do not recommend it! Over the course of time, this can lead to gummier blades that, in turn, create a safety hazard. You should use a waterproof grease for this purpose. Also, make sure that your blades snap together the way you’d see a set of typical hand scissors work. Often times, folks keep the bolt too tight in the axle, creating more work for the user and poorer pruning cuts.
In closing, here is a video that shows how to properly sharpen a blade. BE SAFE!