Service power equipment before putting it away for winter

K-State horticulture expert outlines common chores

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The workhorses of the yard and garden – lawnmowers, tillers, garden tractors and such – are about ready for a rest. 

But before you put them away for the winter, Kansas State University horticulture expert Ward Upham says they need a little tender, loving care. 

“It’s important to run the equipment out of gas, or treat the existing gas with a stabilizer because untreated gas can deteriorate over time,” Upham said. “If you’re using a stabilizer, run the engine long enough for untreated gas in the carburetor bowl to be burned and replaced.” 

Other time-of-year chores include: 

  • Replace the oil (and filter, if present). 
  • Check and replace the spark plug, if needed. 
  • Check and clean air filters. 

“Then, sharpen blades, clean tines, tighten screws, replace broken parts and do all the things needed to keep equipment in good shape,” Upham said. “Though such maintenance takes some time and effort, it pays for itself by reducing frustration and lost time due to poorly performing during a hectic spring.” 

K-State Research and Extension has produced a video depicting on how to sharpen a mower’s blade. The video is available to view online

Upham and his colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticulture Newsletter with tips for maintaining home landscapes. The newsletter is available to view online or can be delivered by email each week. 

Interested persons can also send their garden- and yard-related questions to Upham at [email protected], or contact your local K-State Research and Extension office