How to Treat Planting Materials


Planting materials range from the tools you use to the seeds and plants which are planted. It is important to treat all your planting materials properly in order for your garden to thrive and for the tools you use to last long. In addition, it is imperative that you keep your planting tools clean to help prevent any possible disease from spreading in your garden.

Step 1

Clean fiberglass and plastic parts in a gallon bucket of water and about a teaspoon of dish detergent. Use a rag to clean them and rinse them well. Do this about once a month and after working with diseased plants. Between regular uses, wipe off excess soil, rinse and dry your tools.

Step 2

Keep any metal clean on your garden tools, such as shovels and spades. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with coarse sand and add a quart of motor oil. Stick the metal end of the shovel in the bucket in and out several times after each use to clean it. Wipe off excess sand with a rag. The oil helps prevent against rust. As necessary, scrub the metal with a wire brush to remove stubborn dirt or light rust. You can also use vinegar to help remove rust, as well as steel wool.

Step 3

Clean clippers and shears after each use by wiping them off with a rag to remove any dirt and plant debris. Use WD-40 when necessary to keep the hinge working properly. Only sharpen straight blades, not teethed blades. Use a sharpening tool designed to sharpen your tool. You may have to dissemble the tool to properly sharpen it. Always follow manufacturer directions.

Step 4

Sand wooden handles about once a year with fine sandpaper. Then, rub linseed oil on the handle with a rag and let it soak in for a half hour. Repeat until no more oil is absorbed. Wait another half hour after the last coating and wipe off the excess oil.

Step 5

Store planting tools out of the weather, such as in a garage or shed. This will help them last longer.

Step 6

Wash garden gloves between uses, if possible, especially if you worked with diseased plant materials.

Step 7

Keep unplanted trees, bushes and flowers well-watered and in partial to full shade until planting. Wrap wet burlap around bare roots, if necessary. Plant as soon as possible.

Step 8

Store seeds in a moisture proof container in the refrigerator or freezer. Dry first for six hours in temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (oven set on low with open door) so they will last for years.

Step 9

Store bulbs until planting. Each kind of bulbs has different storing needs, but in general, most bulbs prefer storage in a cool, dry location, such as your garage, attic or even refrigerator (away from fruit) and in an open container or mesh bag.

Things You'll Need

  • Buckets
  • Water
  • Dish detergent
  • Sand
  • Motor Oil
  • Rags
  • Wire brush
  • Vinegar
  • Steel wool
  • WD-40
  • Sharpening tools
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Linseed oil
  • Burlap
  • Moisture-proof container
  • Open container or mesh bag


  • Garden Tool Care
  • North Carolina State University: Summer Flowering Bulbs
  • Colorado State University: Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds
Keywords: treat planting materials, clean garden tools, care plant materials

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with the script, "Homecoming," currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.