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Question for the guys who say an edger is more productive than using a string trimmer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coolluv, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,755

    When I started this business I used an edger like everyone else. My neighbor is an LCO and has been one for years. I told him that I seen others using a string trimmer to edge with and he said yeah that's all we use. I asked him to show me how to use a string trimmer and he instructed one of his guys to show me on my own driveway and side walks and curb area. With some practice and time I have become very good and fast with it.

    The problem that I have with using an edger is I have to go forward and then backward to get all of the grass. If I just go forward it leaves uncut grass that sometimes can't be seen until I finish blowing everything off. Then I have to go back to the truck and go back over all the spots that it missed. But if I use my string trimmer I don't ever have to go back, it cuts it all very cleanly.

    I don't know if its the Bermuda grass or the uneven edges of the concrete due to chips and breaks or if I'm doing something wrong. It doesn't matter if its a new blade or not. It gets worse as the blade wears out. After becoming proficient with the string trimmer I find that it is much faster and cleaner with a trimmer. I have read on here where some say that they can run with a stick edger and are much more productive than a trimmer. They also say they get a better looking edge with an edger. But I disagree. I seem to get a nicer, cleaner, better looking edge with the string trimmer. Plus I edge around all of the bed areas with my trimmer so I don't have to go back to the truck to switch tools.

    I just do everything with the string trimmer and it looks great. I have had my customers compliment me on how nice my beds and edges look. It seems that most LCO,s in my area use the trimmers and don't use edgers. Now I will say that if the edge has not been done in a while it is easier with a stick edger. But that is rare. Even if it is somewhat overgrown my trimmer handles it well.
    It is faster and easier for me to use the trimmer.

    Is it the type of grass down here? Is it the uneven and chipped concrete? I don't know. Also my blades seem to wear down faster than what others have said they get out of a blade. I tried to adjust the height to the highest level and as the blade wears lowering it down but I still wear them out fast. I tried tilting it towards the concrete and then tilting it away from the concrete but it still leaves uncut grass behind. I find that I'm way more productive with a string trimmer. Not to mention trimmer line is cheaper than edger blades. I would like to know how you guys run with an edger and still get a clean cut. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. What's my problem?

  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I always found it strange how folks would use an edger to cut grass with, that to me is not the purpose of such a tool...
    But it is a strange tool also, it is one of the few in the industry that makes one wonder, what does this thing do?

    The fact that it does cut off some grass so happens, but to me the edger is something used to cut out dirt, to create those little trenches and as they say for defining the edge (or in some cases creating it).

    That is, soil has a way to grow up over curbs and what have you,
    the edger does a fine job at trenching through this, but once the
    edge exists it is with the trimmer I maintain said edge.

    The one advantage the edger has over the trimmer is when cutting vertically,
    the edger kicks objects such as rocks and pebbles with much less power
    and hence a far shorter distance away, whereas the trimmer when held
    vertically can fling those things a long ways and even through windows...

    So that's just how I've always done it, I probably create or re-define the actual edge about twice a year,
    the rest of the time I just use the trimmer.
  3. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Posts: 1,415

    For the initial cut you can't beat the edger. Makes a nice trench that prevents stuff from growing directly next to the road. Tilt the thing a little towards the grass to prevent the trouble you're experiencing (works easier with a solid drive edger).

    I would'nt try an initial cut with a trimmer, string is used up in record time but afterwords it's all go for the trimmer.
  4. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,421

    Look, A string trimmer just doesn't do the same uniform, perfect edge that an edger does.
  5. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I weedeat backwards, I edge backwards it works better that way. I like the edger because the guard keeps rocks from breaking windows. When you flip the weedeater on its side the guard doesn't completely cover and windows get broken I have a $ 700+window going in in about 2 weeks because of that thanks to guys not following directions. I will take the extra time to avoid my clients having to look at a shattered or duct taped window for a month. Pella windows take forever.
  6. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Posts: 1,818

    I agree with you that an edge can look just as nice and be done just as fast (if not faster) with a string trimmer...but most on here will argue all day on this subject. On 90% of my lawns, a string trimmer does just as good of a job and I do not have to go back to my trailer and start another handheld. Like said, nothing beats the stick edger the first time but after you have a nice edge going there is no reason you cannot maintain it perfectly with a trimmer. We have some very large companies around here that service all the high end residentials and whatnot and they all use string trimmers. Granted they are told to weedeat one way and edge one way but they still use trimmers. I just think a professional lco should have both and use each to its own.
  7. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,755

    I feel for ya. I had to replace the biggest window in a customers house last year due to my trimmer slinging a rock through it. Cost me $500.00. I have found that if I trim in the opposite direction of the house or cars or whatever, if you do catch a rock it will fly away from the house. You have to trim in the opposite direction of things that could get damaged. When using your trimmer upside down to edge.

  8. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,755

    Do you have a problem with uncut grass with your edger? Are you faster with your edger?

  9. freshprince94

    freshprince94 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,449

    I always use a stick edger. St. augustine grass looks terrible if edged with string.
  10. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    if the edger is leavig stuff uncut you need to angle your head a bit, well not YOUR head, the edgers... Hold the top (engine) slightly towards the lawn rather than straight up and down. Now, twist the head slightly so the blade is hitting the concrete in the front. Yeah, a little hard to explain, but that's how I hold mine. I'm tall so I hold the edger totally differently than shorter folk do anyway. For me, the edger's wheel never touches the ground. I hold the whole thing more stright up and down verticle, rahter than the 45 degrees or so it was designed to be ran at. I have to deal with more bermuda than I'd like here too, and with the techinique I use I can get 99% of it cut. Once in a while there's a sprig that just won't cut, and I'll bend over and snap it off when I'm blowing.

    Oh, ans as for using an edger or a string trimmer... I use the trimmer about 75% of the time. Some places I always use the trimmer, others I will use it every other time and use the edger inbetween. If it's been raining and the ground is muddy I prefer to not use the edger, the mud isn't much fun to clean up.

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