As many of us will know if we own a car, it is recommended that a general service is carried out once a year to ensure everything is working properly, there are correct levels of appropriate fluids etc.
It may surprise many people to know that caring for your gardening tools requires similar attention, and just like a car if parts are not working correctly or properly this can lead to poor performance and even be dangerous in some cases. This article will examine things to watch out for.

Hand garden tools

These are probably the things you use most throughout the course of the gardening year, therefore maintenance is essential.
Ensure tools are clean: This seems a stating the obvious point, yet so many people forget or lose track of doing it. Wipe surfaces clean with warm water to ensure removal of all soil, grass, moss etc. Allow to dry.
Sharpen tools: Blunt tools are no help to anyone and can be dangerous. Generally bigger tools should be sharpened by a professional and in any case if you do not feel confident. Small tools such as pruners etc can be sharpened using a file or sharpening block to give a precision cutting edge. Wearing safety equipment is advised.

Electrical appliances

Many of us have electrical garden tools somewhere in our sheds or garages – whether this be cutters, strimmers or something else.

The first point to mention on this is inspect tools for damage and have them assessed and repaired by a professional if needed. Electrical equipment can obviously be very dangerous if faulty.

A further thing to check is not only the appliance itself, but its power source / supply. Check cables, flex and plugs to ensure no wires are showing or have been accidently chopped. Check all connections are safe / tight and you are happy with this. Again, seek a professional opinion if unsure.

With respect to blades and metal parts of the equipment, ensure these are all clean and apply a coat of oil to protect / preserve them. WD40 is normally a sound and popular choice. Take care to ensure that the oil reaches every part of the appliance (therefore powering it up will be required.)

Lawn mowers

A garden is not complete without a lawn, but then there is the requirement of having a good tool to cut it!

If you do not have an electric mower then chances are you have a petrol one. When wintertime comes, remember to use up the fuel before putting the mower away as having stagnant petrol is not a good idea.

Turn the lawn mower upside down (disconnect from plug if electric) and notice the build-up of cut grass, and soil etc. Get a stiff broom / brush and clean out the area, especially around the blades.

Once clean, apply grease / oil to the blades and work this in to ensure free movement and adequate lubrication.

If the blades appear defective in anyway or during the season you notice the grass is not cutting as well, ensure the blade is checked and sharpened by a professional.

Lawn mowers (particularly high tech and petrol ones) are quite complicated pieces of machinery, and regular servicing every year or two is recommended.

If your mower is electric, all other rules apply as for electric tools above.

General tips

It is a good idea to ensure all maintenance is done before the winter sets in, and be sure to be ready for spring.

Ensure all tools are dry and free of dirt for the winter.

Hang the tools up or store them away to avoid water interaction.

Plan ahead as to what you may need for the coming season and seek to buy things out of season while they are potentially cheaper.