The spring is upon us very soon, and that’s the season when we look to our gardens and start preparing. There will be plenty to do; from clearing away the leaves, twigs and other debris that has fallen from the trees during the winter storms, to weeding the borders and getting things ready for planting you will be kept occupied without a doubt! Then there are your hedges. They will have lain dormant during the winter, but be aware they will come back to life in style during the next few weeks. Once the final frost has passed, they will start to grow again, and undoubtedly will need tidying up.
Of course, if you have a hedge trimmer – and it is a gas model – you will need to get it out of storage and give it a good look-over to see what needs doing for the new season. There shouldn’t be much, but there is always something that needs attending to with tools such as this that have been standing a while. Let’s have a look at some handy maintenance tips for your gas hedge trimmer, so you can make sure all is in order when it is needed, and we also found a useful resource at traditionalgardening.com which covers hedge trimmers and more.
We’ll begin by looking at what you should do before you start using your hedge trimmer. The first thing to do is to have a good look at the machine and see if there are any obvious signs of damage or leaks. Check the casing to see if it is loose and tighten it up if necessary. This is a job that should only take you a few minutes.
Make sure you wipe away any dust that will have gathered during its time in storage – a damp cloth all over should do the job – and next, take the spark plugs out. You can either clean them, use a knife for any hard stuff that has formed, and a dedicated spray to clean the rest, or you can buy a new set. The latter option is often a good idea if you haven’t used your trimmer for some time, as it gives you better running and more economic results.
You also need to check the blades; this is a very important aspect of maintenance as sharer blades mean better performance. If you want the best results, take them to a hardware store that offers blade sharpening services, and they will do the very best possible job. The sharper your blades, the better your hedges will look, and the easier the job will be.
Next, you should refresh the fuel if there is any left in the tank; it needs to be removed as it will not be suitable. It’s always best to start with new, freshly mixed fuel for the best results, and once you have this in place, you are ready to go! A quick start-up and check that all is running well, and you can get down to tackling those hedges right away!
After Each Use
There are some simple maintenance routines you can attend before and after each time you use the hedge trimmer. For example, check that the air intake is clear of debris – it can gather there when you are cutting hedges and will inhibit the performance of the machine – and also adjust the carburetor for smoother, finer running. Both of these will give you greater fuel consumption, too.
Your manufacturer instructions will have advice on when and how to lubricate the blades; this will differ from machine to machine, so if you have bought a new one, don’t assume its maintenance routine will be the same as the last one you owned! Always follow the prescribed instructions for the right results.
These easy and quick maintenance tips are essential if you want your hedge trimmer to do a good job, so don’t overlook them. One last thing: always give your hedge trimmer a good look over before you start it, as that may reveal obvious signs of damage, leaks, or other problems, and always use the safety precautions provided.
After the Season
Once we have completed the yearly cycle and return to winter, it is important you put your hedge trimmer away correctly. If you want to preserve the fuel in the tank, you can buy special stabilizer fluids that allow you to do so, and it is strongly advised you do this or empty the tank – that’s one less job to do next year!
Give your trimmer a good wipe down with a cloth and remove any debris on the blades, in the air intakes or elsewhere on the body and shaft. If there are any manufacturer instructions relating to maintenance before storage, have a good read and follow them as instructed, and your hedge trimmer will be ready for use as when you next need it.