MILWAUKEE, WI (June 16, 2016) – As the first official day of summer is fast approaching, now is the ideal time to take preventative steps to guarantee a healthy and green lawn. As the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment, Briggs & Stratton wants to provide homeowners with the right advice on how to adjust lawn care maintenance to fit the demands of the season. By following these four steps at the start of the summer homeowners can save themselves the pain of spending the whole season keeping up with the impact of high temperatures on their lawn.
- Lawn Mower Maintenance
First and foremost, make sure outdoor power equipment is ready to use. Lawn mowers will likely see frequent use throughout the summer months. A lack of proper lawn mower maintenance can exacerbate lawn care problems, and can provide an opportunity for diseases and pests to takeover. Whether using a push mower or ride mower, the following tips will help ensure your yard stays healthy.
- Sharpen Lawn Mower Blades: Dull blades rip and pull grass, leaving ragged tears that can promote disease. A sharp blade not only cuts clean, it helps reduce lawn mowing time. Make sure to remove the spark plug before sharpening, or changing the lawn mower blade.
- Change the Air Filter: A lawn mower's air filter keeps dust and other particles from entering the engine. The mower filter should be replaced to keep the lawn mower engine and parts running smoothly
- Change the Oil Regularly: There are two reasons to change the oil. First, through the regular running of the engine, the oil heats up, causing it to breakdown and create sludge. And second, debris gets into the oil, causing it to get dirty. In order to maintain good engine health, Briggs & Stratton recommends changing oil after 25 hours of use in a heavy mowing season.
- Change the Spark Plug: Changing the spark plug is one of the easiest things to ensure the lawn mower starts easily. Replace the spark plug every season to avoid stalled starting.
- Add Fuel Treatment and Stabilizer: Gasoline goes stale in about 30 days, making starting the engine more difficult. Plus, over 90% of gasoline in the United States includes up to 10% ethanol and ethanol attracts moisture, which is bad for all gasoline-powered engines. One way to prevent the damage is to add Briggs & Stratton’s Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment and Stabilizer every time you fill up.
- Fertilizing the Lawn
Putting down fertilizer sooner rather than later is key. It’s important to only feed the lawn when it’s actively growing (like at the beginning of the summer) and never during a drought (like the middle of the summer). Adding fertilizer during drought conditions or hotter temperatures will stress out the lawn even further since it will have to work overtime to try and soak up the extra nutrients.
- Mowing the Lawn
Mowing height can surprisingly have a vast impact on the health of grass. Be sure to only cut off one third of the grass’ length at a time and to cut it no shorter than three inches tall. Cutting grass too short leaves it vulnerable to insect invasion and disease. It is recommended to keep the blade height at about 3 1/2 inches. The taller grass will allow for deeper roots and provide more coverage from the sun, preventing evaporation. Another useful trick is to keep the mowing clippings on the lawn; this will provide extra natural nutrients and shade to the grass.
- Watering the Lawn
If it’s not restricted, be sure to water your grass and maintain a regular watering schedule. The ideal amount is about an inch of rain per week. Too much water will prevent the soil from absorbing the moisture and too little water will dry out the grass’ roots. Water in the early morning when it’s most efficient, before the sun and heat has an opportunity to dry up the water.
To make start of summer season maintenance easier, purchase a lawn mower tune-up kit for all the necessary components
The start of summer is the ideal time to implement new tips, revisit some of the most common mistakes from the past season, and get the correct answers when it comes to lawn care and lawn mower maintenance. Remember, grass may go brown or dormant to withstand extreme conditions. Do not attempt to over-incorporate the above techniques, but continue to follow the four steps routinely.