Green-fingered Brits are being advised to clean their garden tools ahead of Spring in order to get the best gardening results.
Experts at GardeningExpress.co.uk have named their top tips on how to keep gardening tools in tip-top condition for many years to come.
Garden tools and equipment can be expensive, so it’s important to clean, sharpen and maintain them regularly.
Green thumbs should ideally clean their tools after every time they use them, and it’s especially important to give them a deep scrub at the end of the season.
If this chore is avoided then the tools will become rusty and won’t perform well, which may cause injuries to both the user and the plants.
Using unhygienic tools may also lead to spreading diseases like Phytophthora, which is a soil based disease that can kill a wide range of plants.
Proper storage of garden tools is also important, as many items need specific conditions to avoid rusting or developing mould growths over time.
Chris Bonnett, the founder of GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “Properly cleaned and stored tools will last longer and work more effectively than those left neglected.
“By regularly cleaning them, you are removing dirt, debris, plant matter and other residue that could eventually lead to rust.
“Sharp blades are key when working with any type of cutting tool used in gardening, as it’s not only safer, but it also helps ensure accurate cuts every time which leads to better-looking results in the garden or landscape.
“Taking these steps to look after your tools will help protect your garden against diseases while providing you with an improved overall gardening experience and better results.”
Here are the top seven tips for maintaining garden tools from the team at GardeningExpress.co.uk:
- Remove soil and debris after every use
It’s important to remove the soil and debris from tools in order to prevent rusting and maintain the efficiency. Getting into the habit of hosing down the tools or wiping them off with a damp rag after each use will make it easier to manage the maintenance process in the long term.
- Don’t leave tools wet
Gardening tools should never be put away wet, as it will lead to the development of rust and corrosion. Wet gardening tools also create a favourable environment for mould and mildew to grow which is both unpleasant and unhealthy. It’s essential to ensure all garden tools are wiped down with a dry cloth before being stored in order to extend their lifespan and keep them in good condition.
- Wipe the metal parts with oil
To prevent corrosion and rust developing on the metal parts of the tools, it’s good to wipe them with a bit of oil. Because oils help to create a protective barrier, it’s also good for preventing the spread of plant diseases. Furthermore, wiping tools with oil prevents dirt and debris from building up on the tools’ surfaces and improves their aesthetic appeal.
- Sharpen at least once a year
Sharpening cutting tools as well as the blades of shovels and spades is essential for keeping them functioning at their best and making gardening an easier task overall. Sharpening reduces damage to plants from dull edges and improves accuracy and efficiency.
- Hang the tools in a dry and protected area
Never leave the gardening tools outside, as exposure to moisture can corrode metal tools, ruin wood handles, and rust blades. Keeping the tools away from rain, snow, and humidity will help to preserve them for longer. Ideally, tools should be stored inside a dry garage or shed, preferably hanging on a wall.
- Disinfect to prevent diseases
It is essential to disinfect gardening tools in order to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and diseases. Use rubbing alcohol and pour it into a spray bottle for easier use. If you’re working with diseased plants, you may want to keep a bucket of chlorine bleach and water with you to easily disinfect the tools before moving on to the next plant. Additionally, proper sanitation of tools reduces the chances of weeds being brought into the garden environment.
- Thoroughly clean tools which have been used for chemical applications
Take extra care when scrubbing any tools which have been used for chemical applications, as fertilisers and other chemicals corrode metals extremely quickly.
For more information about maintaining gardening tools, visit: