Eight tips for getting your garden and garden tools perfectly through the winter
When the last leaves fall from the trees in November, it’s time to get out in the garden once more. That's because the garden – and the garden tools – need to be made winterproof before the first frost comes. Garden tools that spend the winter untended in the garden shed are especially susceptible to frost and damp. Patrick Pflegler, Category Manager Garden at Einhell Germany AG, knows what needs to be done in the garden now.
Tips & tricks
Tip 1: Lawn care
During the fall months, lawn growth begins to decline little by little and, as winter sets in, gradually comes to a halt. “It needs to be mowed one last time well before the temperatures first drop below zero. The cut should be set higher than you might usually have it so that the stalks still get enough light even in the dark time of the year,” Pflegler advises. “You can also now carefully dig out the edges of the lawn again. This prevents the grass spreading into the beds in the spring.” To winterproof the lawn completely and avoid brown patches in the early months of the next year, all the foliage has to be removed. Pflegler goes on: “That won’t take long with a leaf blower or vac. Anyone looking for cordless mobility will find a battery-operated tool such as the VENTURRO 36/240 from Einhell the best option.”
Tip 2: Cut hedges
To protect nesting birds, hedges and bushes can only be cut back sharply from October 1st. What is important here is the outside temperature: “To ensure that plants are not harmed, you should not cut them when the temperature is below minus five degrees Celsius, as the cut surfaces will be unable to heal properly in the frost and will suffer damage as a result,” Pflegler explains. To bring hedges and bushes into shape again before the winter, therefore, it makes sense to cut them back ideally between the middle of October and the start of November.
Tip 3: Clean tools
Once the lawn, hedges and bushes have been prepared for the winter, it’s the turn of the tools. All garden equipment, not only lawn mowers, scarifiers, hedge trimmers, and saws, but also spades and rakes, need to be cleaned thoroughly. Grass and soil that is stuck to wheels and other surfaces of mowers or scarifiers, for instance, should be removed. Coarse dirt is best scraped off with a wooden or plastic spatula, but for finer dirt a brush or damp cloth will suffice. When cleaning the catch basket, particularly if it is made of textile, it is important to let it dry out thoroughly after being cleaned with a garden hose, for instance, as a wet catch basket will otherwise allow mold to form. Garden tools must be completely dry before being stowed away in the shed. This is particularly important for wooden handles so that they do not swell. When cleaning the tools, it is a good opportunity to check that they are working properly and that electric cables are not damaged. “If you are to get a clean cut profile next spring, you must also clean the blades of the lawnmower, if necessary re-sharpen them and then oil them,” the Einhell garden expert advises. “Take care, though: To avoid injury I recommend wearing sturdy, protective gloves. And to care for metal and cutting surfaces, rub them with biodegradable oils such as linseed oil.”
Tip 4: Protect batteries
Before battery-operated garden tools are finally put into their winter quarters, the batteries must be removed. The batteries should be stored in a dry, frost-free place at a storage temperature of between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. Usually the ideal place to store batteries is the cellar. Pflegler: “Although modern Einhell batteries don’t require any special care, it's still important that they are kept dry, protected from the frost and not completely discharged prior to going into storage. Before storing them, then, check the current charge level of the batteries. In the optimum case it will be between 30 and 60 percent. Ideally batteries will be stored separately, not in the charger,” the Einhell garden expert adds.
Tip 5: Make petrol engines winterproof
The requirements for petrol-driven machines are significantly greater. The oil level has to be checked, and an oil change carried out if necessary. Check and clean the air filter while doing so. It is also advisable to empty the petrol tank completely before the winter break. “The tank has to be emptied completely so that the carburetor nozzles don't clog up and the machine doesn’t lose its ignition capability,” says Patrick Pflegler. “The ethanol in the petrol also has a hygroscopic effect, which means that it precipitates from a certain level of water saturation, forming a highly rust-promoting water-alcohol phase at the bottom of the tank.”
Tip 6: Care for chainsaws
Chainsaw servicing is another important maintenance job that needs to be done before the winter break so that it stays in a good condition even in cold temperatures while being stored over the winter. Both the chain and the cutter rail should be disassembled and cleaned with compressed air. Resin and other dirt on the housing can be easily removed using petroleum ether. “After cleaning, it makes sense to sharpen the dismantled saw chain and inspect it for damage,” Einhell garden expert Pflegler advises. “Damaged saw chains should be repaired or replaced immediately.” The saw chain is greased again after cleaning and assembly. With a petrol chainsaw, as with a lawn mower, it is advisable to empty the tank and carburetor, top up the oil and check the spark plug. You should also clean the air filter, inspect it for wear and replace it if necessary.
Tip 7: Isolate the water supply
The effects of frost are often under-estimated, even when the temperature is not much below zero. That is why it is important to check all garden tools that are connected to a water supply. “When water freezes, it expands, which can cause enormous damage,” says Patrick Pflegler. He recommends working through a checklist systematically. “The most important thing is to isolate all external water taps. You should also empty watering cans, rain barrels and garden hoses so that ice does not cause any cracks or lead to damage.”
Tip 8: Empty submersible pumps
In the winter, what applies for watering cans, hoses and rain barrels is true even more for the garden pond and the technology used there. Anyone using pumps for filling ponds or watering the garden, for instance, must always make sure they are turned off over the winter. The water needs to be drained off so that it does not freeze in the pump and burst the housing. “Again, it makes sense to clean this equipment thoroughly before the winter, removing algae and foliage residue especially,” says Einhell expert Pflegler. “Only a deep-well pump can remain in the well pipe, as it is below the frost line.”
About Einhell Germany AG
Einhell is a leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art tools and equipment for the house and garden. From its headquarters in Landau/Isar (Bavaria), the internationally successful company has continuously expanded its innovative rechargeable battery platform Power X-Change and is now the market leader in the area of cordless tools and garden equipment. For many years Einhell has set new standards in terms of endurance, performance, and safety. Einhell customers appreciate the freedom of cordless operation for all their DIY projects, as well as the excellent value for money that Einhell products represent and the first-class customer service offered by the company.