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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A customer wants a hillside cut down of weeds. It may be golden rod, I'm not sure. The stalks are about 5-6 feet high. The area is roughly 90 feet long, averages about 25 feet, bottom to top, and is steep in most places (barely able to stand).

I cut it down last Summer (July), but this year the growth is more than last season. I have a Stihl FS85C, and Stihl FC90R to use (either one). I used an 8 tooth blade last year. I'm wondering if another blade might work better. The 8 tooth design is the only one I've used.

Stihl has a couple of other choices:

http://www.stihlusa.com/trimmers/blades.html

The one I have is in the middle, but I see a 4 tooth grass blade, and a thee winged design weed blade. Does anybody have experience with either the 4 tooth model, or the 3 winged design? If so, is one of them better than the 8 tooth design.

I thought the 8 tooth model worked pretty well, but often took effort to make the cut. The teeth are very short (1/4-3/8"). I have them sharp.

Last year, it took me about three hours to do this job. I was hoping for a quicker and easier way. Just standing and keeping footing on the hillside is sometimes tricky, let along managing the trimmer.

Below are some pics:
1. The top edge, next to turf behind the house.
2. Closer look at the plants -- note the height.
3. Bottom edge of the area.
4. Another view of the bottom edge. Note the height may be deceiving because the hillside slopes upward to the left.

Ask questions if needing more information. Remember, my primary question: Which is the best blade for this job? Thanks.

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I use the Steel Brush Knife shown on the Stihl Website. I haven't tried the other blades, but it appears that you use them for matted type grass, not the tall stuff shown in your pictures. I've used the circular saw blade, but not for weeds. I use that for small saplings. I would rather cut those type tall weeds in the winter after they have dried up. The Echo SRM-340 string trimmer I have will cut fairly thick growth.
 

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I've used the 4-blade Stihl brush blade on an FS-110R and wasn't pleased with the results. Lots of jagged ends and not to my standards.

This year I've been using a Stihl HL-100K hedge trimmer with the 135 degree head. Works better than the 4-blade, but walk through it first to make sure you'll keep your blades from getting trashed. Finish any thick branches/stumps with the chainsaw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies so far.

I failed to mention in the earlier post a couple of things:
Any saplings will remain in place. There are only a couple, even though they don't show in the pics very well.

Any debris will be left in place, on the hillside. Nothing needs to be cleared an hauled away. However, this is one of the difficulties with these jobs -- the debris is cut, and continuing to work the trimmer head always has interference with the leaning/laying debris.

A couple of mentioned in above posts about hedge trimmer. I don't think it would work very well because of the angle. However, Stihl does make a power scythe. I've not seen one. The notes say for grass. I don't know how long, or the size of the teeth. If anybody has used one, what are the dimensions? Will it work for large weeds?

http://www.stihlusa.com/accessories/interchangeable.html

(fourth item down the list)

Thanks.

P.S. Snakes are not a problem in these parts -- thank you very much!
 

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I have the Steel Brush Knife (3 blade) and I really like it for anything too heavy for traditional trimmer line. I'm planning on getting a second one. It is a great tool that has saved me lots of time. I wouldn't even consider the fine toothed one for that type of cutting.
 

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Do you have a articulating hedge trimmer attachment? I'm willing to bet that it would work much easier then you think. I cut down a row of tall weeds and junk very similar to what you have. It wasn't on a hill but it was as tall and thick. It dropped it over with ease! Your taking a cut that is 3 times the length of a brush cutter. Being so tall, it should fold right over. As far as the sapling, just find them and keep a mental note on where they are so you don't cut them down.
 

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We do stuff like this all the time on shopping center retention pond slopes to steep to mow and have always used Echo shc210 hedge trimmers--fast--easy--minimum work--no flying debri---and very cost effective. We use one set of blades for the stuff likethis and then switch teh whole blade assembly for fine trimming of yews, etc.
 

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I will also vote for the Articulating hedge trimmer head or the power sythe. I think both are basically the same, the Sythe is just about 1/2 as long. I've seen one used for cutting tall wildflowers/native grass down. Cut like butter! Iv'e used the 4 blade type brush cutter and the saw type, not impressed with the speed that either cut, just too slow!

Nice thing about the articulating hedger attachment you can always use it for trimming tall shrubs too, and I believe it's pretty easy to swap the trimmer head for it. Cost wise, well it will eat into your profit for that job I'm sure.

Ditto on waiting till it's dead in the winter. I'd MUCH rather cut that when it's brown and crunchy. Ask if that's an option.
 

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of that i would run to the rental store... a walk behind brush cutter would be my tool. cant beat the speed i would have that done in 40 min. see if you can rent one and line a few jobs up.
 

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I do a lot of those jobs regularly, like every week, and you can save a lot
of time with an adjustable angle hedge trimmer. You can buy just the head
and mount it on your current trimmer easily, about $200.00. That hedger
attachment will save you tons of time, much quicker than a blade type. Do
keep your current blade attachment, there will be times when you need it also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for yet more replies. I wasn't sure if this topic would get any play. I'm seeing others have similar situations.

The articulated hedge trimmer seems to be a popular suggesting. I have a 0 degree hedge trimmer attachment. Having used this very effectively for trimming other things, I knew the 0 degree would never work for this application. But, the articulated one may fit the bill nicely.

For those suggesting a powered wheel device, the hillside is too steep. Also, it is pocked with groundhog dens, holes and mounds. They would be hard to navigate with a wheeled device.

I would wait until Winter, except the owner wants it cut down now. The property is For Sale, and his intention is to make the hillside look a little better. Not clearing away the debris doesn't make it look very pretty, but ....

Thanks again for your help.
 

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of that i would run to the rental store... a walk behind brush cutter would be my tool. cant beat the speed i would have that done in 40 min. see if you can rent one and line a few jobs up.
Yep....get the Billygoat it will take that right down. We cut a field the other day that was over 6 ft tall in places with lot of grasses and thet Billy goat went right thru it. I am very very impressed what those machines will do.
 

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I really dont see what the issue is here! Just put a blade (even a 4 tooth) on and go for it. I would start at the bottom and work my way up and down and from the side so there is room for debris to fall from then on.
As far as how it looks when finished, they cant expect miracles. Just cut as low as possible.
 
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