Keep your mower performing at its best

FMG Stadium Waikato, Turf Manager

Karl Johnson

Waikato, New Zealand

The peak lawn growing and mowing season is upon us and a few simple maintenance habits can go a long way towards both giving your lawn the ultimate cut and maximising your mower’s performance and longevity.

Karl Johnson is Turf Manager at the iconic FMG Stadium Waikato, a ground which plays host to some of the best rugby teams in the world. Here, he’s shared the mechanical upkeep advice he applies to not only the John Deere turf care fleet at the Stadium, but also to the mowing equipment he uses at home to keep his family lawn in tip-top shape.

“Blunt mower blades damage the plant and are harder on the life of the machine.”

Karl’s tips for keeping your mower performing at its best.

When it comes to maintenance, where is the best place to start?

The first thing you should do is familiarise yourself with your mower’s operator’s manual. Once you know your make and model, you can use this to find out information on routine maintenance, as well as any operational instructions for your machine. Even if you have been mowing lawns for some time and feel experienced with turf equipment, it always pays to read the manual to ensure your maintenance program is tailored to your specific model.

How important is regular cleaning of mowers, is it true you should wash or blow out your mower after every use?

This is extremely important and goes a long way towards prolonging the life of your mower. It’s an easy habit to make, and it doesn’t take long to wash or brush down a mower after each use, and it’s especially important if you are mowing in dry and dusty conditions. When I do my regular clean, I also make sure to give the air filter a quick clean too. You can find out where the air filter is located in the manual, and it’s as simple as giving the filter a good blow out and securing it back into place (be sure to wear the appropriate PPE when doing so).

Any tips for fuel? Is it a myth that fuel left stagnant can expire?

This is not a myth, as old fuel can go off. It’s best to ensure your fuel supply is updated frequently to avoid this issue.

How important is it to ensure the mower blades remain sharp?

I can’t overemphasise how important it is that your mower blades are nice and sharp, as blunt mower blades damage your lawn and are harmful to the life of the machine. Would you cut your hair with blunt scissors?

What’s your best tip for someone who is new ride-on mower maintenance?

Consistency is key, making small habits like ensuring to read the operator’s manual when you buy a new machine, and washing out your equipment after each mow, can go a long way.

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