Gardening Tips – Strimming

Strimmers are a high speed, fast cutting power tool. They can be dangerous however and because of this safety precautions must be observed to reduce the risk of personal injury.

Should the cutting tool come in contact with solid foreign objects such as stones or bits of metal, it may project them directly at the operator or bystanders. These could even result in serious injury to yourself or others. Never operate a Strimmer unless wearing suitable eye and ear protection and never strim if people are within a 15 metre radius. Always wear boots and long, thick or protective trousers.

Strimmers are also heavy and can cause back pain after prolonged use so make sure you wear the harness supplied and take breaks.

Drink plenty of fluids as on a hot day with all the PPE you need to wear you can became dehydrated very quickly.

Always allow the strimmer to cool down before you re-fuel as it will run very hot and with such a small engine the risk of fuel running onto the hot exhaust is high.

Ensure you use the correct petrol to oil ratio and have some pre-mixed fuel ready made up rather than have to mix the fuel after each empty tank. The Strimmer can be used to cut any grass that the mower cannot reach and any long rough grass and tall weeds. It is better to strim before you mow as the mower may help pick up a lot of the waste.

If you are going to strim up to the stem of a tree or shrub make sure you do not touch the line onto the plant as the line will strip the bark and could ring bark the plant. At best the wound will allow in disease.

Some people use the Strimmer to trim around the edges of a lawn; this can work sometimes, but nothing looks as good as doing the job correctly with edging shears.

Remember to let the machine work at its own speed, don’t try to walk too fast, or you will miss areas and only have to go back over them. There is absolutely no value in waving the head of the machine from left to right any faster than it can cut. A smooth, steady motion gives the best effect in the least time.

If you walk forward onto the area you wish to cut you will not trample the area down that you wish to work on. You will gain more control with practice, it could take weeks before you are using this machine efficiently.

The cord length from the hub is set by the guard; the guard should have a cutting blade on it to ensure the cord is not too long. A cord which is too long will cause the engine to struggle and lose revs; it could put a strain on the motor and cut very poorly if at all. A cord which is too short will cause the motor to over-rev and also cut very poorly.

A good indication the cord is a good length is when the cord makes a characteristic whipping / whisking sound when held above the ground and revved at full throttle. You will soon become familiar with this sound.

The Strimmer can be used for all the following tasks:

Cutting straight lawn edges – This is done by tilting the head to a vertical position, like a wheel, and allowing the line to slice downward to create a slight groove along the edge of the concrete or garden. Can be effective on some lawn edges but try using edging shears for a professional finish.

Mow lawns – (in places where conventional mowers cannot reach). Set the nylon almost parallel to the ground and systematically cut in swathes from left to right and about 2 meters wide. The downside is a poor, possibly uneven, finish.

Grass slashing – Generally, this is done when the grass is very long or you have large weeds in waste ground. You may decide to change the nylon head for a metal grass blade which will slice the grass at the bottom. This blade is not available on all strimmers and turns the machine into a brushcutter.

Scalping – (to remove unwanted vegetation from around trees). Use the nylon at a 30 degree angle to the ground and allow the cutting tip to strike the ground. This is a method you can use in rough ground but in a well cared for garden can look untidy and rushed. It will be far better to make a small ring around the tree to keep grass from growing right up to it.

Strimming grass along walls – This can be done by walking backwards and just touching the end of the cord against the wall. Be careful on paling fences not to groove the wood. One strimmer width should be sufficient for the mower to pick up the rest.