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The Basics of String Trimming

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 12, 2012

String trimming and edging, two common tasks generally linked with mowing, are not difficult tasks. But there are a lot of ways trimming can be made less efficient - from abusing the string trimmers, making them more prone to breakdowns and failure, to not carrying common repair and replacement parts.

Before landscape companies even get onto properties, owners have to figure out which lawn equipment products work best for their operations and the properties they maintain. They're faced with a lot of choices in selecting professional-quality trimmers and edgers. For example, split-shaft machines can take attachments. Is that important to the jobs they do? Do two-cycle or four-cycle units work best for their jobs? Today's gas-powered, hand-held units are quieter and more fuel-efficient. For truly quiet operation, users can now find portable and relatively powerful electric trimmers.

Edging along walkways, driveways and other hardscapes gives landscapes a finished appearance.
For trimmers, the choice ultimately depends upon the size of the properties they maintain and what they'll be trimming. Mostly grass? Tough weeds? Equipment users should have some say in the product selection, as well. Users may find some units more comfortable, more reliable or easier to service than others. Workers will perform better with equipment that they find easiest to use. Trimmers are available with boom shafts, straight shafts, curved shafts and shafts with handlebars and shoulder harnesses. Each design has unique performance characteristics, those with handlebars and shoulder harnesses are designed to reduce strain on workers' backs.

There are more differences. Trimmers come with different head types: refillable spool and fixed-line being the most common. In some models you can replace the line with a metal cutting blade for really overgrown areas.

Taking a little extra time to find the best models for your particular needs is time well spent. Test out the models at J&J Small Engine Clinic. The unit's weight should feel evenly distributed or a bit heavier toward the top handle. Are the control buttons in a handy place? Do you need a model with a protective sleeve around the shaft? It's a good idea if your guys are going to be cutting a lot of weeds or tall grass.

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