If you have ever noticed while mowing that the paths of the mower are uneven, this can be one of two things. One is improper tire inflation and the other is that the mower deck is out of level placement.

The first can be remedied by properly inflating the tires. Check you manual for recommendations, as the front and rear tires usually require different pounds of pressure.

For the second, the deck needs to be leveled. Once you have inflated the tires as stated above, you will need to be need to be sure the mower is on a hard flat surface, such as a driveway or garage floor. You will need a ruler to check the blade heights from side to side, as well as front to back. Rotate the blades to where the tips are at 90 degrees with the mower. Check tip height with the ruler. If they are not even, the deck can be leveled with adjustments found on each side at the back of the deck. Once this is done, rotate the blade 180 degrees (horizontally) with the mower in order to check level front to back. If the blades aren’t level, this adjustment is usually made at the front of the deck. Your mower manual should show you where to adjust the deck.

By taking the time to do these simple tasks, you will have a more perfect mowing machine, as well as a more beautiful lawn.

Gary Dobbs, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas  A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Have you ever noticed, while mowing that some of the grass is randomly left sticking up?

Your first thought is usually that the mower blades need sharpening. While you have the blades off, examine the back edge of the blade. If this portion of the blade shows considerable wear and tear, then the blade needs to be replaced. This is the portion of the blade that gives lift and vacuum to the mower so that the blade is able to cut the grass more evenly. On a double-bladed mower, this wear pattern will cause a narrow strip of grass to be left between the blades.

By paying attention to this technique, you will have a more evenly mowed lawn.

Gary Dobbs, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Now that cool weather has arrived and our grass is no longer needing mowing-and if you are finished mulching those leaves that are so profuse here in East Texas, it’s time to think of putting your lawnmower away for the winter. By taking a few easy steps to prepare your mower for storage, you can prevent a lot of trouble in the spring when it’s time to mow again.

  1. Empty the Gasoline. Gasoline left in an engine for long periods of time tends to become “gummy” and can clog your carburetor. To prevent such clogs, either run your mower until the gas tank is empty or add a gasoline stabilizer to the fuel. (Stabilizer can be purchased at most hardware stores.)
  2. Change the Oil. It is best to do this while the engine is still hot, so an excellent time for oil changing is just after mowing or running out the gas. (It is advisable to change the oil at least once a year whether you store your mower or not.)
  3. Clean the Air Filter. If you have a foam-type filter, remove it and clean with hot, soapy water. Before putting it back, squeeze a couple tablespoons of clean oil onto it. To clean a paper filter, shake it gently or blow on it. (If you mulch with your mower or mow in dusty places, you should clean the filter each time you mow-or sometimes even during mulching.)
  4. Oil the Spark Plug. To protect the engine from corrosion, remove the spark plug and pour a tablespoon of clean engine oil into the hole. Replace the plug and crank the engine a couple of times to distribute the oil. When you start it again next spring, you may see some white smoke as the oil burns off.
  5. Clean the Engine. You’ve cleaned the inside; now clean the outside. Wash off with water, being sure to get any dirt or grass clippings off the underside as well. Clean the cooling fans using an old paintbrush. Also check the blade. If it’s dull, sharpen it or get a new one.

Taking these precautionary steps now will ensure that your mower will start with no difficulty when spring comes around again.

Don Gill, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Tools and Equipment