Trimming with a straight shaft trimmer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by joed, Jul 25, 2002.

  1. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    I'd like to open a discussion on how best to trim with a straight shaft trimmer. These are the questions I'd like answered:
    1. If you're right handed and hold the trigger in your right hand, is it better to walk forward (left to right) or backward (right to left)?
    2. Should the trimmer be angled or level when trimming around beds, trees, etc?
    3. How far off the ground should the head be held?

  2. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    everyone ive ever seen went forward youd look funny walking backwards, im left handed so i walk the other way. I keep my trimmer mainly level just tilted enough to keep stuff directed away from my leg height depends on height of grass
  3. 2tall

    2tall LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    I usually walk forwards but on occassion I do walk backwards. Doesn't bother me, I just have to make sure nobody is behind me or any objects I can fall and trip over.
  4. HarryD

    HarryD LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,068

    the only time i trim walking backwars is along some fences . i have a little better control it seems . when i go forwards along iron type fences it pulls string into the fence
  5. AielLandscaping

    AielLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    when your using a trimmer, hold the unit so that your right pinky finger is controlling the throttle and your left hand supports the wieght. the trim head should be to the left hand side of your body, then walk backwards always in a counter clockwise direction and stand on the grass. that is the easiest way i've found to trim.. oh yeah trimmer line should be vertical for clean edges. once you get more control of the trimmer then walking in other directions will come more easily. the other way to do this if you just have got to walk forward would be to hold the trimmer the same way, but stand on the hardsurface or inside the flower bed, and walk forward. walking in the other directions will change which way the line strikes the ground and will cause the trimmer to move around and you will not get as clean of an edge. around obsticales such as trees or playground equipment, angle the head at about 15 degrees or so so that you don't have to get the mower quite as close. and the head should be held as far away from the cut as possible so your utilizing the most power.
  6. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Straight shaft trimmer with the head rotating counterclockwise (looking down from the top)
    Trigger in the left hand with the right hand controlling the cutting head.
    Walking and looking forward.
    I know it sounds backwards, I know I thought so when my old boss showed me this. It took me a couple weeks to get the hang of it but now It's easy.
    The clippings are thrown away from what your trimming along.(walls , mulchbeds ect...)

    Go to and they explain this system better.
  7. dr grass

    dr grass Banned
    Messages: 242

    as your standing in the grass. trim from left to right. angel the trimmmer slightly so it is only trimming on the string when it passes behind (on the left side as your looking down at it) the trimmer head. angle the trimmer back behind you so that your not catching any rocks or sticks on your shins, especially on those hot days when shorts are required! around trees, poles, and such, you'll have to keep the head of the trimmer more even with the grass. keep practicing, and your trimming will look as smooth as silk!

    Shep :)

    KDLAWN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    I am left handed and thisis how I trimm. the head on my trimmer rotates to the left. I hold the trimmer in my left hand, with the head on the left side of my body and walk to the left. since the head is spinning to the left and walking to the left you are accually gutting into the grass instead of away from the grass.

    this may not make since but I have tried walking to the right and it does not do have the job walking to the left does.
  9. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Ariel Landscaping hit it on the head - he's hired!!

    Go right to left - trimmer thows debris away from beds and into turf where its less noticeable. Also - always vertically trim around all mulch beds as it re-defines the bed edges w/ each cut - boy does it look clean!!

    As far as height - you should trim at height of mower blades - barely let the ball of the spool glide across the turf.

    Leave your blade guard w/ line limiter on always - and always wear your PPE (glasses and ear plugs)

    Always be aware of the discharging debris as you waouldn't want to shoot something at a fellow co-worker, client, car (parked or passing) and/or pedestrian.

  10. joed

    joed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    Thanks for the great replies. I learned a lot from your responses. I watched a few pros today. Most seem to walking forward (going left to right) with their straight shafts. I tried going backwards (right to left). It felt uncomfortable and the unit didn't seem to be cutting as well. Am I doing something wrong?

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