Springtime puts a spring into the step of the garden enthusiast. It heralds the beginning of the growing season and often gives gardeners an uncontrollable urge to beautify their property with additions or begin near frantic restorations of their landscape. But gardeners should use great care to limit overexertion during this transitional time and slowly adapt to the rigors of outdoor work. Spring planting safety tips include protection from the sun as well as common sense care for physical health and well-being.
The temptation of bright sunshine might cause you to head outside for gardening chores without the benefit of sun protection. Sunscreen prevents burning and should be applied to exposed areas of the body. The sun also dehydrates you quickly when coupled with the typical exertion of gardening. Drink plenty of water before, during and after hard work, even during the cooler days of the spring.
The most diligent gardeners clean, sharpen and store tools for the winter. In reality, many of us simply chuck our tools in a heap after finishing with the gardens in the fall. Check that tool handles attach securely to shovel blades, trowels and rakes. Examine wooden handles for defects and potential splintering. Replace worn handles or dispose of tools that can't be repaired safely. Sharpen pruning and lopping shears in preparation for the major pruning many plants require in the spring.
Wear protective clothing when performing maintenance trimming on landscape shrubs and trees. Add protective goggles for all tasks involving chain or hand saws. The heavy calluses from last summer disappeared over the winter. Use a pair of high quality gloves to protect your hands from repetitive motions using shovels, rakes and pruning shears.
The sedentary lifestyle of the winter gets shelved quickly with the wealth of spring chores. Don't throw yourself into hard labor weeding, pulling and pruning without warming up first. Add 5 to 10 minutes of exercises such as jumping jacks, walking briskly or jogging in place to get the blood pumping to your muscles. Bend from the knees when lifting heavy objects and always stand as upright as possible when raking, hoeing or shoveling to protect the lower back.
Motor Driven Equipment
Motor-driven tools such as rototillers, mowers and weed eaters warrant the best safety practices around the home and garden. Protect pets and other family members from sharp tools with proper storage. Use leaf blowers, power washers and mowers with care and never when drinking alcohol. Keep clear of moving parts and perform regular maintenance on motorized equipment to keep it in top working order. Never work on any engine-driven machine while the motor is running.