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By Sara Rae Lancaster HOMES PLUS CORRESPONDENT Divide perennials. Plant fall bulbs. Edge the garden and flower beds. Those are common items on any gardener's spring to-do list. But if that list doesn't also include bring- ing your tools in for a spring "tune up," then you aren't quite ready to begin the 2016 gardening season. "The longevity to a piece of equipment will definitely be extended by routine seasonal maintenance," said Joe Nelson, president of Nelson Brothers Power Center, Inc., Menomonee Falls. "Yes, you're putting out a lit- tle bit of money each year, but the trade-off is you get some extra years of usage out of it. So in the long run, you find that you spend less money than if you had to replace the equipment altogether." Changing the oil, replacing the spark plug and cleaning or replac- ing the air filter in engine-pow- ered equipment are among the common tasks many gardeners overlook, but should be done sea- sonally. "If you can do your mainte- nance ahead of schedule, it makes the whole season a lot less painful," Nelson said. "Not doing it makes the equipment difficult to function or, if it does function, it functions poorly." Fuel isn't what it used to be Another culprit that can rob equipment of operating in peak condition: old fuel that is left in the tank or stored in the garage over the winter. "Our biggest challenge today, without a doubt, is fuel," Nelson said. "Over 70 to 80 percent 248978005 C O N T E N T S Stay sharp in yard, garden care with tools that are honed, tuned Better toilets by design improve efficiency ■ Prepping your home for climate change has immediate benefits ■ Home design tips with baby boomers specifically in mind Make tools last longer, work better with maintenance See SHARPER SPRING/Page 11 A publication of the Waukesha Freeman and Oconomowoc Enterprise • April 2016 Special Edition Special Edition Spring Home & Garden Submitted photo Sharpening the pruning blade edge so that it shines in the sun will make spring maintenance easier and push tool replacement further down the road.