I'm sure some of you lawn owners out there are wondering exactly when your grass will stop growing allowing you to pack away those mowers and accompanying strimmers. Well to be honest, here in the West of Ireland our lawns usually continue to grow right through autumn and winter albeit slowly. In fact, if the ground conditions are correct you could actually take your mower out for a spin around your lawn before your Christmas dinner. Of course, the ground conditions must be dry, as mowing a lawn on wet or soggy soil will cause compaction which leads to poor grass growth and eventually moss.
It is the soggy soil in late autumn, which is the reason that most people store their mowers away in garages amongst the piles of faded newspapers and half bags of cement. If you want an exact date to carry out a final mowing, I would suggest you mark the first week of November in your calendar. In the few weeks lead up to this, it will benefit the lawn if you raise the height of cut by 1cm above your summer mowing height to give you an ultimate mowing height of 3cm (1 ¼ inches). The reason why you raise the cut to this height is to allow for the slowing of grass growth and to provide some buffer growth against harsh frosts and snow.
The lowered temperatures of winter can cause the over-wintering petrol in your mowers carburettor and piping to partially solidify or gum up. When you go to restart the mower in the spring, there will be poor petrol flow to your engine and it will not start. If you receive a rowing machine as a Christmas present, don't forget to ask for the receipt. As pulling the starting cord of a contrary mower gets your heart rate up more than any piece of exercise equipment ever could. You can avoid all this by following a few simple steps to over-winter your lawn mower. You can do it yourself, but ensure that you are wearing gloves and take safety precautions to avoid any injury to your hands.
· The first thing to do is to remove the petrol in the tank. You can do this by siphoning the contents into a can. Store this away from sources of ignition, possibly transfer it into the your cars fuel tank (petrol only of course). Start the lawn mower and run it until the remaining fuel is completely consumed and engine stops on its own.
· Clean the undersides of the lawn mower using a plastic spatula to remove all grass and dirt attached to the blades and under-body. Follow this by scrubbing the underside with a plastic pot scrubber and water.
· Dry the body and spray on a protective solution like WD-40 to the underside.
· Finally, wheel the mower to its dry, winter resting place.
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