An important element of good gardening practice is to ensure that all tools are well cared for and serviced on a regular basis. As important as a sharp set of knives are to a chef so too can be said of gardening tools to a gardener.
In an ideal world tools should be cleaned after every use and whilst it is common practice to wash off used implements to get rid of soil and garden debris, it is not practical to do an intense clean of secateurs and shears after every use. However regular sanitizing is advisable to prevent the spread of disease. As a result, we set aside time in the off-season for servicing, to make sure our tools are in good working order and ready for the busy year ahead.
For demonstration purposes we have chosen the servicing of the trusted secateurs which you will never find one of our gardeners without.
Lay out all the equipment you require so it is near at hand. You will need; rags, wire wool, a spray disinfectant of some kind, a marker pen, a de-greaser, a clamp and a sharpening wet stone.
Firstly, you disassemble the secateurs as shown, wash and dry with a clean rag.
Then, spray all the metal parts with a de-greaser and leave for 10 mins to dry. The next step is to wipe off each piece individually with wire wool and then your blades are ready for sharpening.
Before placing the blade in a clamp, mark along the sloping edge with a marker pen.
Place the blade in the clamp and with a wet stone sharpen in downward strokes at a 45-degree angle until there is no trace of the marker pen left. This is a good guide as to how much sharpening is required. Smooth off both sides of the blade with some de greaser then re spray together with all the other parts and wipe with wire wool.
Reassemble the secateurs and spray with anti-bacterial spray.
You can use this procedure with shears and edging tools without having to take them apart as shown below.
It is important to remember, that frequent oiling will increase the life of your tools especially pruning tools.
Once all tools are cleaned and reassembled, they are ready for another year of productivity.