Gardening: Gardening Tools for Winter – Cross Timbers Gazette | Denton County South | mound of flowers

By Karen Gibson, Denton County Master Gardeners Association

Winter is the perfect time for preventive maintenance of garden tools. This includes cleaning and disinfecting tools, sharpening blades and maintaining power tools.

Supplies needed

  • Safety glasses and thick gloves to protect eyes and hands
  • Milling file, carborundum stone and vice for sharpening
  • Penetrating lubricant that displaces water to remove and prevent rust and lubricate moving parts (examples, WD-40, 3-in-One Multipurpose Drip Oil)
  • Turpentine to remove plant sap
  • Boiled linseed oil to preserve wooden handles
  • A wire brush and a putty knife to remove soil
  • Sandpaper for smoothing wooden handles and steel wool for polishing fine metal surfaces

Step 1: Clean and remove dirt and debris. Use the wire brush and/or putty knife and soap and water on hand tools (shovels, trowels, pruners, etc.). Remove plant debris from under the mower deck, trimmer and other power garden tools to eliminate weed seeds.

Disinfect the blades of pruners and pruners to eliminate the spread of disease. This should be done after each use.

Use steel wool or wire brush to remove rust from metal surfaces.

2nd step: Sharpen the edge of secateurs, lawnmower blades, etc. Sharpen the edge of shovels, trowels, etc. If you are not comfortable with the task of sharpening, many local hardware stores will sharpen the tools.

Step 3: Wipe down all metal surfaces with lubricating oil to remove and prevent rust. After cleaning and sanding the nicks, wipe the wooden handles with boiled linseed oil.

Step 4: Follow the owner’s manual for power tool maintenance. This typically includes tightening loose screws and nuts, removing fuel from the tank, changing oil, checking and replacing spark plugs as needed, and replacing damaged or worn parts.

Step 5: Now that your tools are in perfect condition, store them in a clean, dry place. During the growing season, keep a wire brush or putty knife nearby to clean tools as you store them. Disinfect cutting blades after each use. With proper care, your tools will last a long time.

For more information on gardening in North Texas, go to

Happy gardening!

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