Grass-Trimming Tools: Memories of Handheld Grass Shears

By Laura Miller | February 23, 2021
Image by prostooleh
by Laura Miller
February 23, 2021

I cringe every time I see a pair of handheld grass shears. This reaction goes back to my childhood when lawn care was a family event. Although lawn care companies sprang into business after World War II, suburban lawn care in my parent’s neighborhood was still a do-it-yourself task in the 1960’s.

So was making kids do chores. Being the youngest, I was delegated the job of hand-trimming grass around the flowerbeds and trees. This entailed crawling around on my hands and knees, squeezing the handle of the handheld grass trimmer. I was elementary age and fearful I’d lop off a finger, I was given the dullest pair of handheld grass shears my parents owned.

Hand Trimming Grass

Exactly like my father showed me, I’d grab a handful of wayward grass and would then attempt to make a cut halfway between the roots and the grass blades in my hands. As I squeezed the handle of the handheld grass trimmer, the blades would come together in scissor-like fashion. The grass would bend and fold between the dull blades. 

Mostly, I’d rip and saw at the grass with the blade. This process was repeated again and again until all the wayward grass had been clipped and my hands were sore and cramped. To me, this was a time-consuming effort in futility. Even at a young age, I knew there had to be an easier way for hand-trimming grass. 

Handheld Grass Shears

Of all the grass trimming tools I’ve used over the years, handheld grass shears were the worst. But since it would still be a few years before the invention of the string trimmer, handheld grass shears were the tools of the times. Many homeowners, or their chore-ridden children, used these useless grass trimming tools. 

Like many children of the 60’s, I grew to loathe this futile tool and the chore it performed. So much so, I haven’t used a pair of grass shears in over thirty years. In fact, this disdainful gardening tool shouldn’t even have a place in my garage. 

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