My neighbors rely on a professional landscaping crew to maintain their yard while I prefer to do it myself. There’s no right or wrong here, I’m just a gal that likes to get my hands grubby. That said, I sometimes envy how perfect their yard look. Obviously, I’m not a professional, so on their break, I asked some of these landscape professionals for some pointers. The number one thing that they all stressed was the importance of having the right tool for the job and not just any tool but a high quality, sturdy tool. What is their “go to” tool? A string trimmer.
The crew recommended something from Echo, like the GT-225 curved shaft trimmer. It’s designed for moderate size landscapes and comes with ECHO’s i-30 starter system for easy starting and has a 21.2 cc powerful gas engine. It’s 55 inches long with a cutting diameter of 16 inches. Plus, it’s made for folks under 6 feet tall and since I’m no Sheryl Swoopes, I figured this size would fit me best.
Once I decided on the right trimmer for me, I wanted their professional advice on how to use it and they were happy to oblige. To use a string trimmer correctly to edge between grass and a driveway or walkway, turn the trimmer so the string is vertical and then walk it into the cut path. That way it will eject the cut material from the edged area, leaving a clean area.
Sometimes, you want a nice border, but it’s not necessarily a good spot for edging. Then you need to finesse the cut a bit by tapering, holding the trimmer so the string strikes the grass at a slight angle. Pitch the end of the string toward the object you’re trimming against. This will give you a tight, tapered border, cut less grass, and blend the grass with the height of the mown grass.
Use a trimmer to scythe when working in tall grass. Easier than using an actual hand held scythe for sure, just swing the trimmer in and out of the cutting area in a shallow U motion. Continue to overlap the U cuts to even out the area.
Their last great tip for using trimmers was called screeding. I had no idea what that meant so they explained that screeding is a method for cutting grass and weeds that are growing in the driveway, paths and sidewalk cracks. Who knew it had a name? Tip the trimmer so the ends of the string are just glancing off the pavement, then move into the base of the weed, cutting evenly against the pavement. This requires care, apparently. If you cut too shallow, you’re wasting string and not cutting effectively but if you use too sharp an angle, the string can’t hit enough of the base of the weed to cut it evenly.
All awesome information that will require a little practice on my part but the most important bit of information these guys gave me was to wear protective clothing. A string trimmer can spew out all manner of detritus that can seriously hurt, so wear protective glasses, long sleeves and pants and proper shoes…no flip flops! In fact, it’s very important that when using trimmers in the landscape to always keep the flow of debris directed away from yourself to minimize the risk of injury. It may also be a good idea to change the line head position as needed to redirect the debris, as this flows in the direction of the line head rotation at the point of cutting contact.