It’s that time of the year when the leaves are starting to drop, nightfalls creep in quicker, and the air is crisp and cool.
That’s right, winter is just around the corner, and with that comes a familiar problem for those of us who love to garden; How to store our garden equipment over the long cold winter months.
Rakes, brooms, shovels, lawnmowers, and cutters, the list goes on and on, but there’s one piece of equipment that has gained popularity in recent years but is rarely talked about; the humble grass string trimmer.
I’m sure many of us are guilty of throwing them in the garage or shed and leaving them there until spring rolls around and they’re ready to be used again; But surely there has to be a better and safer way to store our beloved string trimmer. Well luckily for you there is.
In this article, I’m going to share with you some tips on correctly storing your string trimmer over the long winter months, so next time you’re ready to use it again, it’s in tip-top shape and ready to go.
Let’s get started!
Time to Give It a Clean
As with any piece of gardening equipment, it’s essential to keep them clean year-round; many of them have motors and moving parts just like our garden string trimmer.
So before you store it in the shed or garage over winter, you’ll want to make sure you give the trimmer a thorough clean. Don’t worry; there’s no need to rush down to the hardware store to buy expensive cleaning products; everything you need is probably under your kitchen sink.
A bucket of hot soapy water, a wire brush, and a cloth will do the trick. Make sure to get all those tricky little places where dirt and grime have built up over the summer months. Once you’ve given your garden trimmer a genuine thorough clean, it’s best to leave it outside for a while, where it can dry naturally under the sun and in the cool breeze.
Now that all the dirt and grime have been washed away, it’s time to give your string trimmer a careful inspection.
Check for any small cracks that might be visible, or if any fuel or grease is in areas, it shouldn’t be. One of the most critical areas of the garden string trimmer to check is the shaft. Being the engine room or the “heart of the trimmer,” it can be an area that damages easily due to its constant wear and tear.
Finally, check to see if any grease or oil needs to be applied to the moving parts; this will ensure they don’t “dry out” over winter while stored in your garage.
When it comes to garden string trimmers, there are generally two types, battery-operated or electric and the good old gas or petrol trimmer.
If you own an electric-powered string trimmer, there are a couple of things you need to consider before storing it in the garage over the coming winter months.
Firstly, be sure not to keep the battery outside in the cold as the cooler weather can dramatically reduce the battery’s life.
Secondly, storing the battery inside should see that it stays within the recommended conditions, which is generally between 5°C–20°C or 41°F–68°F.
Finally, batteries can malfunction and deteriorate due to what is known as an “unwanted battery discharge.” The best way to ensure your battery stays in good shape over the winter is to make sure it’s at least half-charged before storing it away.; this should ensure its longevity.
Gas Or Petrol Motors
As with the electric or cordless battery trimmers, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure it stays in good condition and is ready to go once the winter passes over.
Firstly, make sure to check the level of the oil or grease is sufficient because the last thing you want is to start up your string trimmer next summer only to see the moving parts have seized up. One crucial point here is that if you are unsure, the next best thing is to take your trimmer to the local hardware store or dealer for a qualified staff member to check it out.
Secondly, Empty the tank of any gas or petrol that may be leftover from the years use. Storing gas or petrol can be dangerous, and the smallest incident could potentially lead to a fire that could cause catastrophic damage.
You can store the leftover gasoline or petrol in a specifically designed drum so it’s not wasted and ready to use when the spring rolls in.
Pro Tip: restart the garden string trimmer one more time and then patiently wait till it runs out of gas or petrol on its own accord; this step ensures the tank is completely empty and, therefore, safe.
Horizontal Or Vertical: Does It Really Matter?
You may not know, but in the world of professional landscapers and gardeners, the dispute of whether to store your trimmer horizontally or vertically is hotly debated.
Despite popular belief, gas or petrol string trimmers can be stored vertically; however, many believe this will lead to fuel, grease, or oil leaking all over the floor, but luckily this is rarely the case. Storing your trimmer vertically is as easy as installing some solid hooks to the plywood and securing the trimmer.
If the hooks are not appropriately secured, the trimmer might fall off and become damaged, which is the last thing any serious gardener wants. No one wants to open the door to the garage and find a $300 string trimmer lying broken in pieces.
Likewise, storing your string trimmer horizontally on a solid shelf is also an appropriate method. Again, as with vertically, ensure the trimmer is securely fastened or in a position where it’s impossible to fall off during storage.
We all love getting out in nature and enjoying the wonders it has to offer, and gardening allows us that pleasure.
We, serious gardeners, pay top dollar for our garden string trimmers, so taking care of them and making sure they are running in tip-top condition is paramount.
By following the steps outlined in this article, your string trimmer will be good to go for years to come. And if you plan on changing your tool or buying a new one, here’s a handy list of string trimmers.