Monday, August 5, 2019

Mower Maintenance Mid Season

Horticulture Hotline 08/05/19
By Bill Lamson-Scribner

The summer is going by in record speed. The football, volleyball, fall soccer and deer seasons are right around the corner. Soon we will be enjoying cooler weather! Soon your grass will not need mowing every 5 days! For now we are fighting army worms, chinch bugs, mosquitoes, fire ants, lace bugs, mice, rats, and many other Lowcountry critters. Love the Possum! 

There are still some things to take care of this summer. Try to find a source of gas for your lawn mower that does not contain ethanol. Use ethanol free gas in your small engines, boat motors, and generators (have you tested your generator recently?). Your mower will be happier next spring if you use ethanol free gas.

The mower blade needs to be inspected this time of year. Always remove the spark plug wire from the plug and tape it to the side of the mower to avoid accidently starting the mower when you turn the blade to inspect it (or remove the plug). The mower blade works like an old time airplane propeller if you spin the blade it will start the engine.

In the old days, we use to sharpen our mower blades ourselves. Now days, there is a lot of aerodynamics and engineering that goes into these blades, so you are better off buying a new blade. Be sure to buy a replacement that is suited for your mower. These blades move at high speeds, so be sure they are balanced correctly like the tires on your car.

You want a nice sharp blade that has not run over pine cones, small sticks, gum balls, the hose, or any other foreign object. A nice sharp blade will give your lawn a better cut (look) and the leaf blade will have less entry points for disease.

While you are checking out your mower, how clean is the air filter? If your air filter is not clean, a lawn mower can produce some nasty air pollution. Mowers do not have all the emission controls that our cars have, so a clean air filter is really important. I guess a dirty air filter would be like your mower having an asthma attack – the engine needs good air flow.

The other main thing to check would be the engine oil. When was the last time it was changed? Have you mowed enough hours that it is time to change?

If this sounds like a Saturday morning of fun, have at it. If not, take it to your local small engine repair shop!

Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations 481 Long Point Rd in Mt. Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Rd, in Charleston (766-1511). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at You can also call in your questions to “ The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1:00, on 1250 WTMA  (The Big Talker). The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at