There is nothing worse than heading out into the garden to chop that one branch that has been bugging you for days and then realising that your garden tool is blunt! By doing a couple of extra steps at the end of gardening you will be ready to go next time.
Storing you tools properly will ensure they last for years. Store you tools in a shed or garage because leaving them out in the elements for long periods of time will mean wooden tools will dry out and become brittle and metal tools are likely to rust. If your tool came with a cover or case make sure you store it in there for added protection.
Always clean and dry your garden tools before putting them away. By doing this you will prevent rust from forming and if you have been working with infested plants it will also stop contamination. A spray of the hose may be all you need but if you have sap or dried plant matter on your tools you may need to use some warm soapy water. Make sure your tools are completely dry before storing.
You can sharpen your tools using a file. Be sure to secure your tool first then push the file in one direction until the edge becomes shiny. For small tools such as secateurs, use a diamond stone to sharpen in the same manner as above. After sharpening apply a small amount of grease to the sharpened edge to protect your tool from corrosion.
Keep your wooden handles in good shape by regular sanding and application of oil, such as linseed oil. By doing this it will prevent the wood from drying out, cracking and splintering. If rust has formed on your tools, use a suitable rust-remover to clean them up. You should also apply lubricant to any movable parts on your tools to ensure easy operation and it will also prevent rust from forming. If your tool has moving parts, it most likely has nuts and bolts which not only hold things together but create tension between parts. Check that the tension is correct and that nothing is loose as this may cause the tool to not function properly. As a rule of thumb the pivot should be tightened slowly to the point where the tool ceases to function, then release back very slightly.
For further information on gardening tools care and maintenance refer to any instruction manuals you may have received with your tools. By taking a little time to look after your garden tools you will have them with you for years to come and it will make working out in the garden that little bit easier.
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