This compensated post is sponsored by the WD-40 Company and 3-in-1 Oil. Views and opinions are my own.
I can’t believe how unseasonably warm it’s been, here, in Nebraska! Are you guys enjoying an early Spring, too? It has me itching to get our in the garden, though I know that is likely a HUGE mistake, as there is no guarantee we are done with freezing temperatures. For now I have had to content myself with flipping through seed catalogs, collecting planters and prepping tools. It occurred to me that I had never talked to you about why it’s important to sharpen garden tools before you begin work this spring, so here’s a quick tutorial. Hopefully, it will help satisfy your garden work urges, just like me, while you wait patiently for the officially safe date for planting in your area.
Having sharp garden tools is actually important for your efficiency, but also for the health of your plants. If you’ve never tried to sharpen garden tools, before, you have likely experienced the problems that arise from using dull shears or pruners. Actually, spades, hoes and shovels can and should be sharpened each season, too. Sometimes, it’s necessary to sharpen garden tools more than once a season, depending on how often they are used. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on shears and pruners, though.
My kitchen and garden shears are most often used for cutting herbs and snipping stems, while the pruners are used on shrubs, hedges and more woody stalks. If either one is dull, the problems are identical. Dull blades tend to mash and tear, almost shred the ends of the stems and branches you are cutting. That has some serious implications for your plant, beyond just looking bad. It stresses the plant and is much more difficult to scar over and heal the way a smooth, sharp cut can. Those shredded ends also provide even more exposed surface area for disease to enter into your plant and to attract insects that can do damage. Knowing how to sharpen garden tools and keep them in shape to do their jobs most efficiently will save you time and help protect your hard work investment.
How to Sharpen Garden Tools
- Start by being certain the tools are clean. Use a wire grill brush to remove any stuck on dirt or debris. Don’t use water to wash metal tools, since this will encourage rusting and your tools will wear out more quickly. If you need to wipe them down, use some rubbing alcohol on a dry cloth. The alcohol will evaporate quickly and reduce the risk of damaging tools.
- I use a simple farmer’s file from my husband’s work shop to sharpen garden tools. It’s the same file I would use to sharpen a hoe, shovel or spade. It’s great for manual hedge trimmers, too. I’m pretty sure David uses it to sharpen up lawn mower blades. The most important thing to remember is to follow the original bevel of the blade as you file.
- Follow the bevel and run the file all the way to the tip of the blade. The bevel will get shiny and clean as you sharpen. Continue until you achieve the sharpness you desire.
- Flip the blade over and use the file to remove any burs that may have been raised up during sharpening. That’s it! You have a fresh, clean blade to provide the maximum protection for your new plants.
To finish your tool care and maintenance, add a drop of 3-in-1 Oil to each joint or movable part of your tools. Work it into the joint and wipe away the excess with a paper towel. 3-IN-ONE is made by the WD-40 company and is a versatile multi-purpose drip oil that I rely on to lubricate moving parts, penetrate rust and to clean and protect my tools. I like the easy-to-use drip spout so I can get the oil exactly where I want it. Besides being excellent for my garden tools it’s nice for hinges and bicycles, too — anything with moving parts, really. You can visit 3inone.com/shop for a location near you that carries 3-IN-ONE Oil products. In my little town, I can grab it at the hardware store and at Walmart.
Now, get those tools ready and start your seed shopping! I’m not going to be able to hold out much longer. I’m going to be sharing, soon, about plants that prefer cooler weather, meaning it’s almost time to get our first crops in the ground. Plus, be sure to enter the generous giveaway that 3-in-1 Oil is sponsoring for a $25 Walmart Gift Card! Have a blessing-filled weekend!
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