Posts Tagged ‘spring maintenance’

It’s Time for Spring Mower Maintenance

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
Spring mower maintenance is essential for a great mowing season

If spring rains have suddenly made your lawn into a mess, it’s tempting to break out the mower and get it cut. But before you mow for the first time, it’s important to perform spring mower maintenance and do a safety check. Skipping it could mean costly repairs and could cause damage to your lawn.

First, do a visual check for problems, including wear and rust on cables, belts and brakes. Tighten any loose screws and bolts, and be sure that baggers and other add-on accessories are properly attached.  Check that handles on walk-behinds, and ROPS and seats on riding and zero-turn mowers, are in good condition and securely attached.

Next, perform basic spring maintenance. Replace any fluids or fuels left unused from last fall. Gas and fuels that have sat for months can degrade in quality, which makes the mower harder to start. Oil should be replaced, too, since dirt and other contaminants in the oil can cause engine damage. You should also replace filters, as dirty or clogged filters can lead to longer mow times and sluggish performance.

Clean your mower, especially if you didn’t clean it in the fall. Get rid of dirt and clippings inside and out. Use forced air rather than water to do this. A clean cutting deck provides improved air flow and capacity, which means improved performance and results.

Check the mower blades. Replace any that are nicked or cracked, and sharpen dull blades. Then be sure blades are straight and properly balanced. Unbalanced blades will cause ragged, uneven cutting, and knocking or excess vibration can damage your mower deck. Learn more about proper mower blade maintenance.

Finally, check the wheels. Look for permanent flat spots on tires, or worn and cracked tires, and replace these. For mowers with inflatable tires, check pressure and inflate as necessary.

Maintenance requirements vary from mower to mower. While we do our best to design mowers that require little maintenance, the needs of an Exmark walk-behind mower are different than those of an Exmark zero-turn. If you have questions about maintenance or would prefer to have a professional look over your mower, reach out to a service professional at your local Exmark dealer.

Early Spring Tasks to Get Your Lawn Off to the Right Start

Thursday, April 4th, 2019
Early spring tasks like aerating will get your lawn off to the right start

Check Your Lawn Mower and Perform Basic Maintenance

Late March and early April is a great time to start getting your lawn ready for another season. Early spring is the time to build a foundation for a lush, beautiful lawn. Take the time to complete these tasks and you’ll be looking at a healthy green lawn this summer

Now is the time go make sure your mower is in good shape and ready to go. Check to make sure it’s running properly and perform basic maintenance: Sharpen the blades, check the starter, belts, the air filter, battery, spark plug and tires. Replace worn or damaged parts now, rather than waiting until they fail.

The First Mow

For the first mow, set the blades about half an inch lower than you would normally set it in order to break up any light debris you might still have lying around your lawn. After that, you should raise the blade so the grass can grow tall enough to crowd out any weeds.

Check Your Irrigation System

Whether you have an installed irrigation system or just a hose and sprinklers, test those out, too. Make sure hoses aren’t worn and leaking, and that your irrigation system hasn’t been damaged by cold weather or rodents. Leaky hoses and damaged irrigation systems can waste water, driving up your water bill and potentially causing trouble if you live in an area with water restrictions.

Spring Clean Up

Take the time to tidy your lawn and inspect it for issues. Rake any remaining leaves and remove large sticks, and any trash blown onto your lawn by storms. Look for snow mold and the rings and dead spots that indicate fungal diseases, as well as bare spots you’ll want to fill. Note any issues with mole hills, as well as damage from water run off or animals, and make plans for fixing.

Give your lawn a good raking to break up the thatch layer and allow plenty of water and oxygen to reach the roots. If you had an unseasonably dry winter and your lawn is dry, you may want to water beforehand. Maintenance on dry soil can cause compaction, making root growth more difficult.

Aerating, Overseeding and Feeding

If you have a thick thatch layer, consider aerating or dethatching to help promote healthy root growth. If it’s warm enough, you may also want to overseed so new growth fills in thin spots and gives you a thick carpet of grass. If you notice bald spots from traffic or other damage as the grass begins growing, seed them as soon as possible to take advantage of spring growing season. The earlier you patch those bald spots, the more uniform your lawn will look when summer comes. And even if you don’t need to overseed or replant areas, you’ll want to provide your lawn with a good fertilizer to feed it during spring growth.  Early spring is also a good time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to keep new weeds from sprouting.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Tune Your Lawn Mower?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Believe it or not, this Friday is the first day of spring. Along with the blossoming trees and pretty flowers comes the growing grass. If you own a landscaping or lawn care company, your busy season is fast approaching. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a successful season of cutting grass is to service your mowers.

Exmark Engine Oil

Oil is the life blood of your engine, so it makes sense to start the season off with a fresh oil change.

Here’s a quick list of ways to know when it’s time to tune your mower:

Service Tip 1: A New Season
Before every new mowing season, you should take your mower in for a tune-up. This doesn’t just apply to lawn-care companies. Whether you mow hundreds of acres a day or do your own yard once a week, every mower needs a tune-up before a new season of mowing. Lawn mowers are the workhorses of any landscaping company and need to be in perfect condition if you want to stay profitable. Using old, worn-out, faulty, or damaged equipment will cost your company time and money; two things you can’t afford to waste.

Even if your mower has only been idle for 1 or 2 months, that’s enough time for fuel to go bad, oil to become contaminated, blades to rust, or other problems to crop up. Consult your owners’ manual for a list of seasonal maintenance items for your specific machine.

Service Tip 2: A Poor Cut
If you or your employees have been using the same mower for more than a couple of months, you are probably well aware of how it cuts as well as its overall capabilities. If you notice a sudden decrease in cutting performance — areas of the grass no longer looking uniform and smooth but appearing uneven or chopped — your blade could stand to be sharpened.

As long as the decrease in performance is not accompanied by a sluggish engine or poor power, taking your blade to be sharpened will return your mower to mint condition. Look for a more detailed story on sharpening and balancing mower blades here next week.

Service Tip 3: Engine Trouble
Your mower should have its engine serviced at least once a year. And while annual tune-ups are great, how do you know if something is wrong in-between recommended maintenance?

Pay attention to the way your mower’s engine sounds. A sputtering or uneven idle can mean the fuel-to-air mixture is not balanced properly. A decrease in power can mean filters are clogged. Excess exhaust smoke or strange smells might mean oil is mixing with the fuel, and could be a sign of larger issues inside the engine. Unless you know engines inside and out (literally), these problems are best left to the professionals.

Service Tip 4: Dirt and Debris
Is your fleet of mowers dirty? Are your mowers covered in mud, grass, branches, and other messes? If so, it’s time to tune and clean your fleet. When you run a landscaping business, maximizing efficiency and cutting extra costs are both musts. Excess dirt and debris, though seemingly insignificant, reduce mower efficiency. A bit of mud near the axles, grass stuck to the blade, and branches jammed in the bodywork will each have a small impact on how much fuel you use and how long it takes to mow a given lawn. Add up all of those small issues and you will see a significant increase in not just running costs, but also machine wear over the course of a season.

DIY or Send It In?
Depending on how familiar you are with your mower, you may be able to do much of the maintenance on your own. Here are just a few of the things you should be able to do at home or in your shop:

  • Changing your mower’s oil is a relatively straightforward process. Most mowers have an oil tank that can be emptied by removing a cap (in a process very similar to changing a car or truck’s oil). Just make sure to do this outside or over a cloth and bucket.
  • Changing an air filter is simple enough for anyone to do. Most mowers, whether commercial or walk-behind, have easy-to-access filters mounted near the engine. All you typically need to do is remove the cap, pull out the old filter, and insert a new one. Just make sure you insert it in the proper direction, and consult your engine owner?s manual with any questions.
  • Replacing a spark plug is easy, assuming you have a spark plug socket wrench. Just make sure plugs you install are properly gapped for your specific mower.

Scan the QR code on the model plate on your Exmark to be taken to maintenance schedules for your machine on

Scan the QR code on the model plate on your Exmark to be taken to maintenance schedules for your machine on

More involved maintenance is often better left to a qualified service professional. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling something on your own, don’t do it. You will lose more money fixing a mistake than sending it to the dealer to begin with.

Saving Money with Regular Maintenance
Here at Exmark, we make a wide range of modern mowers and lawn care tools that dramatically increase efficiency to help you get more work done using fewer resources. Whether you have a top of the line Exmark mower, or an older machine, maintaining what you have is one of the best ways to save money. Make sure you tune your mower this spring and repeat as often as necessary. Doing so will not only save you time and money, but will prevent more costly problems in the future.