As much of the UK and Northern Europe is covered by a blanket of snow or frost, now is a really good time to make sure your tools are ready for the growing season ahead. Preparing for the spring is something that will pay dividends once the cold weather lifts a little and gardeners can get back outdoors again.
Looking after your tools is an easy but important job and shouldn’t take too long if done properly. So here at Bulldog Tools we’d like to offer a few helpful hints to keep your precious garden tools intact.
1. Clean off your tools before putting them in the shed or garage for winter. It may be a little late for this advice now, but for future reference clean, dry tools will last much longer than those put away dirty or damp.
2. If you can use a little oil on your tools it will help to preserve them better. Cutting tools like shears, secateurs and loppers can be wiped over with an oily rag, whilst wooden handles benefit from a little linseed oil to prevent them drying out and finally, to protect spade, fork and hoe heads simply fill a bucket with sharp sand and then add a small amount of oil and push your tools into the bucket up to ten times each so they have a very light sheen.
3. Use this time of year to make any repairs that are needed. Over a year’s frequent usage your garden tools may sustain wear and tear, this is normal but problems should be rectified early to prevent any further damage. Contact the tool manufacturer directly if you need replacement screws, springs or blades and they should be able to give you any advice you need to fit the spare parts. Replacing a handle is more complicated, but if you don’t have the skills or equipment required to fit a new handle many traditional blacksmiths offer this service, often at a very reasonable price.
4. Make sure that the blades of your cutting and pruning tools are nice and sharp. Acquiring a good sharpening stone or tool will allow you to make sure all your garden shears, loppers and secateurs are razor sharp for the up-coming season. If you have an old fashioned pruning saw that can be sharpened, then take it to your local hardware store as they will normally offer this service (or know of someone else who does). Sharp blades are not only easier to use, but reduce the possibility of damaging your plants when you prune with them.
5. Finally, consider using a horticultural (environmentally sensitive) disinfectant on your cutting tools. Once your tools are clean and dry using a horticultural disinfectant will reduce the chance of spreading diseases on cutting blades. This is particularly important for pruning saw and lopper blades which can spread disease from infected trees or shrubs to healthy stock.
These simple precautions shouldn’t take you too long to complete and will pay dividends in the long term, ensuring that your valuable Bulldog Tools will last even longer!