How to Use A String Trimmer | Guide to Lawn Tapering, Edging, and Scything

Weeds can be annoying. Dandelion, crabgrass patches and tufts of clover that crawl out of nowhere to destroy nicely trimmed yards, can be any homeowner's nightmare. Weeds mostly like to grow where they don't belong, and you will need to know how to use the best string trimmer that fits your budget to get rid of them when the situation calls effectively.

trimming should be a part of your lawn upkeep

To get rid of weed, you can use a string trimmer (also known as a weed wacker or weed trimmer by some).

Trimming should be a part of your lawn upkeep, and using string trimmers will get the job done effortlessly.

This sturdy garden tool works by spinning a line on high speed, which stretches it out and makes it stiff due to centripetal acceleration. Read on to learn how to use a string trimmer and all the different types of trimmers you can choose from.

Types of string trimmers

Depending on where you stay you'll probably know this tool by either one of these names; weed eater (brand name), weed whacker, strimmer (UK and Ireland), weed trimmer, lawn trimmer, weed whip, whipper snipper (Australia and Canada), and line trimmer. Regardless of whichever name you know it by, it basically has the same function; to get rid of weed.

A string trimmer delves into tricky places a regular lawn mower finds difficult. Trimmers get rid of tall weeds or grass that usually clog mowers. This tool keeps the edges of your garden or walkway trimmed and perfectly manicured; it also works around fence poles and tree trunks.

There are two main types of string trimmers; the curved-shaft unit, and the straight-shafted units.

this type is specially designed for lawn edging difficult areas such as fence lines and trees

Curved-Shafted Unit: This type is specially designed for lawn edging difficult areas such as fence lines and trees. They are made from flexible drive cable; they cannot endure any other type of cutting attachments, or the cord will cut. They are not made for doing high-intensity jobs.

A curved-shaft means a shorter shaft.

This equates to a lighter string trimmer, which is good for long periods of trimming. Curved-shaft trimmers are more balanced, beneficial for tricky areas and easy maneuvering in closed spaces.

The reduced height and length of these trimmers make it an ideal option for shorter people as well as people with a smaller yard. It allows you to cover more ground with efficiency and speed. If you're taller, stay away from this type of trimmers; otherwise, you'll be bending over while trimming which can be uncomfortable.

Straight-Shafted Unit: This type of trimmer ranges from 21cc motor sizes up to a whopping 65cc. They might even be bigger motor sizes. However, bigger doesn't always equal better. The weight and fiscal size can change.

This design is more functional, because it tends to be longer, which means more extended reach. Taller people especially will appreciate this unit; you won't have to bend over, which means no back pain with prolonged use.

A level driveline will cause less vibration, and because of a lower gear reduction, a straight shaft trimmer generates more rotation.

this type of trimmer is more flexible and allows other attachments

This type of trimmer is more flexible and allows other attachments. The extra torque and power will enable you to fit the cutting head with different string gauges.You can use a metal blade to replace the strings, if you ever need to.You can remove the cutting head and replace it with a different attachment head such as pole saws, edgers, hedge clippers, as well as cultivators for tilling.

Power Types Of Trimmers

There are two main types of trimmers- gas powered, and electric powered (Corded and cordless) trimmers.

Gas-Powered Trimmers:  A gas weed trimmer is powered by fuel. Industrial-strength gas trimmers usually have four-stroke engines, which means they run solely on gasoline while two-stroke trimmers generally run on a mixture of gas and oil. They run on oil that is formulated especially for two-stroke gas engines. 

This oil comes in a small plastic bottle that is approximately 2.6 ounces in volume. This volume is intentional because the ratio of gas to oil in most gas trimmers is one 2.6-ounce bottle of oil for every gallon of gasoline. Gas-powered trimmers use a pull-string or rip-cord to start the engine.

these trimmers use combustion engines, so they tend to be louder than electric trimmers

These trimmers use combustion engines, so they tend to be louder than electric trimmers. The gas it consumes can cause emissions that can make you dizzy or give you cough if you inhale.

The engines shake and vibrate a lot, making it quite tricky to control gas trimmers.

You'll be able to move around more with these trimmers, because unlike the electric trimmers, you won't be restricted by a cord. This means you can walk around more without the restraints of a cable.  

Electric-Powered Trimmers: Electric string trimmers, are quieter and quite easy to use. You won't be pulling any string cord or mixing fuel to start this unit. The motor of this trimmer is in its cutting head, so it can start by the simple push of a button.

You'll need to use heavy duty extensions because light-duty extensions cannot carry the electric load of an electric weed whacker.  However, once this trimmer is plugged into a socket, you can use it for as long as you want (using the manufacturers recommended usage guideline).

There are also battery-powered trimmers that do not need to be plugged in to use, and you can pick the best cordless string trimmer for your needs. The downside of corded trimmers is that you'll need an extension cord that is about to 200-feet. Otherwise, your movement will be limited.

Even with the 200- foot cord, your movement might still be limited with an electric weed trimmer. With the battery-powered trimmers, you'll need to recharge every hour so and sometimes 30 minutes or less.

How to Use a Weed Eater 

Step 1: Now that you know the different types of trimmers and the power types, using a weed trimmer should be a little easier. You should either favor the curved-shaft or the straight shaft, depending on your height or need.Also, if you're using a gas-powered trimmer, pulling the drawstring a couple of times will start the engine while electric trimmers will need to be plugged in or battery powered.Most pros already know how to start a weed eater, so this step should be a breeze in the park.

you should either favor the curved-shaft or the straight shaft, depending on your height or need

Step 2: Most people find spinning direction tricky. A counter-clockwise spin trims better with the right side and discards dirt from the left side. Hence, if you're trimming along low fences keep the right side of your body close to the fence, to allow the head of the trimmer cut and discard dirt to the left. If you're working in the opposite direction, soil and other materials will be dumped into the cutting path and stack up where you've cut.

This pile can cause the trimmer to bog down, and it prompts you to cut excess grass blades- a process also known as scalping.

Step 3: Using a trimmer isn't as simple as hovering it over the grass, which can cause scalping. However, some cutting techniques can lead to better results, such as tapering, edging, scything and screeding:

•    Tapering: This is used along fence lines, garden beds, and curbs. It is done by holding the string trimmer in an angle that the strings strike in a slight angle. However, note that if the trimmer is not held parallel to the surface, the string diameter will cut a whole swath of grass.

•    Edging:  It is best to edge on parallel surfaces, such as between grass and walkway or driveway. You can angle your gas or electric trimmer so that the strings are vertical to the cut path to discard the debris quickly. If you're trimming a lawn that has not been trimmed in a while, you'll be removing rocks, dirt and other materials as you cut.

•    Scything: A scythe is done when there's an obstruction, you'll need to bring the trimmer in and out of work, using a U motion to maneuver the obstacle to make an even cut.

this works when you're working around weeds and grass that grow in the cracks of sidewalks, or driveways

•    Screeding: This works when you're working around weeds and grass that grow in the cracks of sidewalks, or driveways. You'll have to tip the trimmer in a way that the strings are directed into the pavement. Then move the trimmer into the weed base and cut.

 Make sure not to angle the trimmer too shallow, it will only eat into the string and won't cut.

Also, if the angle is too sharp, the string won't effectively hit the weed base.

How to String a Weed Eater

It might be challenging to put the strings back once the weed eater empty, especially if you don't know how to string a weed wacker. But once you get it, it will be a smooth sail from there. The spinning line is prone to wear tear, mostly due to rocks, or concretes in the way while you trim. It is easy to restring and maintain your trimmer with these easy steps.

•    You'll have to get the correct replacement size of a weed wacker string, which ranges from 0.0065 inches to 0.095 inches. Anything bigger than the recommended manufacturer size will cause the engine to wear out fast.

•    A replacement line that comes with 300 to 900-foot lengths will need to be thread through the guide by following the arrows on the spool.

•    You'll need to remove the spool cover, by pushing in and turning the spool in a counter-clockwise motion. Remove any security device, then take off the automatic feed button.

•    Clean out any dirt build-up, then push the spool down to release the locking tabs and pull the spool out of the chamber

•    Feed the line into the inferior deck in an inverted J motion to protect the end.

•    Put the spool back into its chamber. Thread the line into the left and right eye holes on the sides and snap the spool securely into place. Pull both ends of the line at the same time.

•    Secure the guard in its appropriate place

How to String A Weed Eater with Two Holes    

if you use a trimmer that uses a double trimmer line, follow these steps to learn how to restring a weed eater

If you use a trimmer that uses a double trimmer line, follow these steps to learn how to restring a weed eater.

   Step 1: Remove the unit holding the strings at the bottom of the string trimmer.

 Cut about 10 feet of string trimmer strings and insert each end of the string into the openings around the center of the unit that holds it.

•    Step 2: Pull the weed eater string at the tightest point around the inside of the holding unit. Leave one side about six inches longer than the other side. Pull them to face the same direction

•    Step 3: Use your index finger to hold it against the plastic holding unit. Using your thumb to keep one string down, use your middle finger to hold the other. Push the strings down gently, placing your index finger between them. Wind the stings slowly in the direction recommended on the top of the unit.

•    Step 4: Wind until its only 6 inches left on both sides. Slip one piece of string through the notch on the side of the holding unit, while holding the other string in place. Once you've inserted the one string in the notch, snap the other string through the other notch on the opposite side of the holding unit.

   Step 5: Put each string through the holes in the side of the bottom of the weed eater where the holding unit will fit it. Once you've put the strings through the holes, twist the unit back on the bottom of the weed eater until it locks in place.

   Step 6: Turn your weed eater on and see if the bottom unit flies off. If it remains in place, you've restrung it correctly, and you can now begin working. If not, repeat all the steps above.Once the string is on correctly, the holding unit will remain attached.