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Cutting with Caution - Lawn Mowing Tips

By Bill Klutho, John Deere's Grounds Keeping Guru

(ARA) - Everyone seems to spend more time out in the yard these days -- dining on the patio, gardening, playing with the kids; but keeping your yard at its best also means more time spent cutting the grass. And with everyone else outside, it's a good idea to remember the basics of mowing safety:

Mower Safety

  • Read the manual. Your owner's manual provides safety tips, operating procedures and maintenance schedules for your lawn mower.
  • Check all safety guards and shields. Mowers have safety features built in to help protect the operator. Make sure safety features are in good repair and learn their functions.
  • Know the equipment. Inspect your mower before and after cutting the lawn. Knowing how your mower ideally works and looks will help you see or hear any possible damage. Also, be sure to securely fasten all attachments.
  • Wear proper clothing. Mowing your lawn calls for a specific outfit to maximize safety: long pants, eye protection, tucked-in shirt, work boots with traction, no loose jewelry or clothes, heavy gloves when handling blades.
  • Keep children away from mower. Outdoor power equipment and kids just don't mix. Children should be inside or under another adult's supervision while you mow. Before you start cutting, inspect and clear the lawn of children's toys, tools or any other debris that could get thrown by mower blades.

Mowing Tips

  • Mowing hills with a walk-behind mower. When mowing a slope with a push-mower, move from side to side (horizontally).
  • Mowing hills with a riding mower or tractor. When seated on a lawn tractor or riding mower, John Deere recommends mowing from side to side (horizontally). Starting from the bottom and working upwards to the top allows the operator to turn the mower upwards as he/she switches directions. Turning the mower downwards encourages the machine to pull towards the bottom of the hill and should be avoided.
  • Try not to mow in reverse. Reverse mowing with a walk-behind increases the chance of your feet slipping under the mower deck. When using ride-on equipment, always look behind you before and while you are backing up.
  • Eliminate dangerous areas. If the hill is too risky to mow, consider covering that section with a ground cover or natural area to eliminate a mowing hazard.

Mower Maintenance

  • Clean the mower. Clear built-up debris from the mower deck after you mow. If something gets caught in the discharge chute, be sure to shut the engine off and make sure the blades are stopped before trying to clear it. Disconnect the spark plug wire and use a tool or stick to clear the clog. Never clear the deck or chute with your hands, and never place your hands or feet near the blades.
  • Perform regular mower maintenance. Follow the recommended maintenance guide in your owner's manual. Your manual will detail schedules and tasks for basic maintenance like changing the oil, replacing the air filter and sharpening the blades. Always perform maintenance with the machine off, the engine cool and the spark plug disconnected.
  • Have a professional perform annual maintenance. Tune up your mower and have major repairs done by taking it to a professional equipment dealer. Or let one come to you -- John Deere offers a Ready to Mow service that comes to your home to perform basic mower maintenance.

Following these basic tips will help you have an enjoyable, safe time outdoors. Mowers, start your engines!

For more information, visit www.johndeere.com.


Authors Website: http://www.aracontent.com/

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