Keeping Your Lawn Tidy By Using Trimmers & Edgers

You can choose either a manual or a power edger for your lawn care needs. A manual edger is just that - powered by you. Manual edgers come in two types: stick or rotary. A stick edger has a half-moon shaped disk at the end of a long pole that you use to cut down into the turf, effectively slicing off bits of the grass to create a straight edge. A rotary edger has a star-shaped cutter that rotates along between the pavement and the grass to grind up a straight path between the two. Both take some muscle, so you may want to consider a power edger if you don't have the energy to tackle this by hand. The power edgers (whether gas or electric) are set up along the same lines as a rotary edger. A spinning wheel digs down to create that clean edge between pavement and grass. Just remember to wear eye protection as the power edger can kick up debris. If you're an edging fanatic, you'll want a power edger.

No matter what type of tool you use, you may find that you don't have to edge every time you mow your lawn. Some people choose to edge only at the beginning of spring to get a good line that they keep up with a trimmer during the mowing season. If you want that nice military look to your lawn, edge often to keep that grass in line.

Let's not forget about Trimmer machines! Just when you thought it was safe to walk back into the home improvement center, you're faced with yet another round of lawn machines to admire. Trimmers (often called string trimmers) have a length of plastic or metal "string" that rotates at high rates of speed to whack those weeds and annoying leftover grass tufts right into oblivion. Trimmers come in either battery or gas-powered models. Both are noisy, but nothing beats that big-bug buzz to let you know you're getting your lawn to a state of perfection.

The advantage to gas-powered models is that you can go virtually anywhere with your trimmer. They usually require a special mixture of oil and gas to run, so be sure to check the instructions for the correct ratios before you fill it. While electric trimmers are less of a hassle to run - you just plug in and go - you are limited to the length of the cord. If you have a large area to cover, a gas-powered model is probably a better choice.

Tip: Although we're discussing the work required after you mow, here's a novel thought - trim before you mow! The mower will cut up all those remaining clippings as you pass the areas you've already trimmed. If you trim after you cut, you may want to rake up the clippings if they're extra long so they won't keep the sun from reaching your grass. Don't cut off more than is necessary just because you've got a power tool in your hands. Trimmers don't have an automatic height adjustment like mowers, so keep an eye on how much you're cutting when you trim. Wear eye protection when you trim, because the trimmer can send up debris. Hold the trimmer at an angle to send the clippings away from you.

You can also trim the old-fashioned way - with shears. If you have a small area to trim, go ahead and cut away. There are also hand-held battery trimmers that will buzz off the excess grass with the efficiency of a good barber's trimmer. Both are tough on your back and knees since you'll have to get down close to the grass to do the work, but you'll get an up-close view of just what you're doing and you can trim with more precision.

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