December is coming to a close and January is soon to be here: officially time to start putting some of your tools to bed and preparing your home for the cold months. Here is our winter-prep checklist.

Lawn mower

A mower that has been used all year round needs to be emptied of fuel at the end of the season. First, drain the gas tank dry. Depending if you have gasoline that has a fuel preservative, you need to either store it or use it up as soon as possible. Allowing fuel to sit over winter will cause the ethanol in the gasoline to separate and its other chemical components to degrade. Condensation may also form in the gas tank. You should give your mower a thorough cleaning before putting it in storage. Remove and sharpen the mower blade. Apply a light film of oil to it and reinstall. Disconnect the spark plug lead, tip the mower over and clean the underside of the deck with a wire brush and a putty knife.

Chain saw

Now is the time to give the saw a thorough cleaning, tune-up, and sharpening. To store your chainsaw, do not run it out of gas for the winter. Instead empty the gas out and pour in other ethanol-free gas/oil mix product and run it for a few seconds to completely coat the interior. This prevents interior seals from drying out and cracking. Lastly give the psark plug a careful inspection. The electrode on the bottom of the spark plug should be a slight gray color. A black, sooty or oily electrode indicates a incompletely combustion and can result from a number of things including improperly mixed fuel.

Other fall jobs

Apply fall fertilizer. Use a high-nitrogen blend that contains extra potassium, this will improve the grass’s cold hardiness and combined with nitrogen, it sets the stage for the grass to store carbohydrates over the winters so it can bounce back quickly in the spring.

Aerate the lawn. Provide some extra air for grass roots by aerating your lawn – it’s a low-cost maintenance and even if it’s the only thing you do for your yard, you should see improvement.

Rake and water. Drag a rake over the lawn to break up soil clumps and water the lawn with the garden hose, using a nice gently spray like rain. After that, keep the soil moist but don’t over-water it or let it dry out.

Do repairs now and avoid disasters later. Stock up on emergency supplies, have the boiler or furnace tuned, and make any repairs that keep the house safe and weather-tight. Contact your local lawn care professionals at Emerald Lawns Austin by calling (512) 990-2199, or contact us online for information.