Lawn Care Tips

As a lawn care provider for 20+ years, my aim here is to provide some helpful hints, tips and advice to those who want to increase the health and appearance of the lawn they care for. Whether you are new to lawn care or an old hand, you will find information here that will save you time, money and wasted effort. Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, March 31, 2005

Grass Trimmers or Weed Whips

Today I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing what is commonly known as a weed whip or grass trimmer.

The first thing I’d like to mention is that this power tool is commonly available in two slightly different styles. One style of weed whip incorporates a long shaft that curves slightly down at the “business end” of the trimmer. Over the years, I have found that this particular style will not hold up nearly as long as the second style. This second style, which costs a bit more, incorporates an entirely straight shaft and is sometimes referred to as a gear-drive shaft. When it comes to the longevity of these two styles, the straight or gear-driven shaft will outperform the bent flex shaft of the less expensive model every time. This wouldn’t be worth mentioning as most people understand that you get what you pay for, but I have recently noticed that sometimes the difference in price between these two models can be as little as $10. So if you’re looking for a weed whip that is built to hold up over many more years, always go with the straight shaft trimmer.

I also want to include here just a few suggestions with regard to using a power grass trimmer. ALWAYS wear eye protection - preferably safety glasses - while using this tool. Also, due to the nature of the cutting action, it is highly recommended that you wear long pants while weed whipping. And as it is always possible that small objects can be thrown very quickly and some distance from the business end of this tool, other people and pets should be kept at a distance.

One more thing. Because the plastic filament “blades” of this tool spin so quickly, they actually become invisible. Care must be taken not to run these filaments too aggressively along your house, a fence or - especially - a living tree or shrub. This tool, when used too aggressively, can remove paint, cut into dried wood, and kill a tree by cutting into and girdling the cambium layer just underneath surface bark.

NEXT TIME: The Ideal Time To Plant Grass Seed


At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Pat O'Farrell said...

I was just getting ready to purchase a string trimmer and was debating about curved vs. straight shaft...then I saw your article. Thanks. A question, does a 4 cycle start better than a 2 cycle? I've had so much trouble with my 2 cycle trimmer that I'm thinking of a 4 cycle. Any advice here?

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Hi Pat. A well tuned and properly adjusted 2 cycle engine should not be hard to start (and it should smoke very little while running). Check your users manual. The advantage to using a 2 cycle engine over a 4 cycle engine, for a string trimmer, is the power to weigh ratio. Any string trimmer made with a 4 cycle engine would be much heavier and likely cause user fatigue. Also, a more “eco” solution might be to alter you landscaping (if possible) to make using a trimmer no longer necessary. All the best, Paul.


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