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AlbertaDan
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 23 Alberta
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2009-05-21          162872


I am looking fo advice on which gas trimmer would be best. I have about an acre of grass surrounded by trees. The trees at the front just have grass around them but at the back and left side I have underbrush. Which one would best be suited for this?

The whole area is flat without any steep slopes to worry about.

I am looking for something that is easily maintained and has good reliability.

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2009-05-21          162874


It all depends on three things. How thick is the underbrush, how hard do you want to work at it, and how much money do you want to spend.

1. You can purchase an inexpensive (light duty) string trimmer from a box store that accepts interchangeable heads. You can also purchase a separate head to do light duty brush trimming. I would think you could trim up to about 1/4" diameter brush or up to about 3/4" diameter thistle and red or rag weed. The trimming attachment has a rough time if not impossible to cut if the stuff isn't green. I think a trimmer is about $120.00 + $75.00 for the attachment.
2. The same approach is available through Stihl. They have their own quick-change system which is more of an industrial/commercial grade. I would consider this to be (medium duty) and about 1 1/2 the cost of topic 1.
3. If you have really dense underbrush you may want to rent or purchase a DR trimmer. These can be heavy duty on two wheels for balance. I think they have models that will cut up to about 1 1/2" diameter wood.

I have option 1 and use an axe or machete to get the big stuff under control. The exercise is good for you (doing it the hard way) and keeps your heart rate up and keeps your arteries clean. ....

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-05-21          162875


Cut the brush and it will come back up. It's extra work to dig it out, but once done, the back trees will be like the front ones, and a plain string trimmer will suffice. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-05-21          162876


We have a consumer grade 'echo' line trimmer. I wouldn't buy another one. It runs and works fine but the fuel tank and corresponding fuel supply tubing is a constant source of leaks. I have to wear hip waders when using it to keep the fuel off my pants. New parts haven't helped.
....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-05-21          162877


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 162876
We have a consumer grade 'echo' line trimmer. I wouldn't buy another one. It runs and works fine but the fuel tank and corresponding fuel supply tubing is a constant source of leaks. I have to wear hip waders when using it to keep the fuel off my pants. New parts haven't helped.


Ditto on the Ryobi I have. Need more parts for same problem again. ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2009-05-21          162880


Buy a Stihl - many good models, great reliability, good service. ....

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AlbertaDan
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 23 Alberta
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2009-05-21          162882


The price is somewhat of an issue but not the main point. I would trather spend a little more now than have to buy a new one in a few yaers buut it couldn't handle the job. A little heavier now can save a few hundred later.

the brush is not thick and is mainly a woody type of bush. I'm looking mainly to keep it in the trees and not let it take over the grass.

....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-05-21          162883


Do you use such as Round Up to help control or only a trimmer. I find a combo such as Round Up makes for only light grass timming. That and a zero turn mower. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-05-22          162888


I gotta agree with KT. We probably hgave four or five dead string timmers in the back of the shed that need to go to the junkyard. If anything has ever caused me some loss of reigion it has to be those #@%&*@@@ trimmers. Roundup is the gratest thing since canned beer. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-05-22          162890


A lot of people ask me about turf maintenance, including trimmers.

I often get asked what trimmer is the best one, my answer is always the same; "none.".

Seriously, we go to a lot of trouble to have things arranged such that a trimmer is not needed. They are, IMHO, the single biggest waste of time, money and labour there is in turf care. Not to mention likely the most likely to injure a worker.

Mulch, edge, glcosulfates (Round-up, etc.), pave, anything except having to use one of those infernal contraptions.

Best of luck. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2009-05-22          162894


I don't use Roundup anymore per se, but I do use something I picked up at Lowes. It's good for a whole season, and they ain't kiddin'. In fact I put it on last year about this time and some of it is still working. Roundup takes too long to activate and doesn't last long--maybe a week or so. And it's not that much cheaper than the seasonal stuff.

Murf did I spel everthing right? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-05-25          162949


Quote:
Originally Posted by earthwrks | view 162894
Murf did I spel everthing right?


You shoor enuf did. ;)

There's a bit of a difference between Round-up and the other stuff.

Round-up (glycosulphates) were designed for agricultural use, i.e. to knock down vegetation prior to planting a food crop, therefore long life in the soil is not a desired result. It is intended purely to kill what it's sprayed on, then biodegrade rapidly.

If you want long lasting result there is other stuff much better suited for that.

Best of luck. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2009-05-25          162963


So I have to wonder, being the tinker that I am, what the perfect mechanical weed trimmer would be, if there is such a thing.

BTW, I experimented with replacing monofilament poly "string" with thin, stainless marine cable, and solid steel wire. I was amazed that neither lasted more than a few seconds around landscaping rocks. But it would be cool to use at night with all the sparks it made!

When I get some tinker time, I'm going to experiment with steel-corded rubber products as in car tires. My thinking is the poly string doesn't wear down as quickly on adbrasive things like rocks because it bounces off or absorbs shock before it has a chance to get abraded. With that in mind, I think rubber-encapsulated wire found in tire treads or lower sidewalls sliced thin in the shape of a flat, 2-bladed propellor may just work. I think it may be the best of both worlds--resilientcy(sp) of the rubber to bounce off rocks, and the constant sharpness of the wire inside to do the cutting. If you've ever ran your hand around a worn tire with just ONE exposed wire you know what I mean! ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-05-26          162966


The perfect mechanical weed trimmer would be a self-charging robot. It matters not whether it uses a string trimmer or a samurai sword.
....

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auerbach
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2168 West of Toronto
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2009-05-26          162967


For string work I go with the $99 cheapies because they all need service after two or three seasons, and for the cost of repairs/parts/adjustments I just replace it. Where I need a brush blade I use a high-end brand. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-05-26          162969


EW, those prefect trimmers have been around for years..goats. On Roundup, could be the applicator it sure last longer than a week for me. Normally we would have made an application earlier than we did but have more area we are spraying this year and then boy the rain. :-( We sometimes have to make a second application but that really is it. Realize our grass is growing from about Mid March to at least first of October. We do not spray until normally about first of May. Depending on what you are trying to control 2-4D does a good job also.


Murf, the soil killers or sterilizers; will they harm plants whose roots are where you place the chemical? Or will they only kill the band you spray?
....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-05-26          162972


Jeff, there's a trick to it, you need to either silver solder or braze the ends of the stainless steel cable before you use it in a string trimmer.

We have commercial walk-behind units that are made using a vertical shaft lawn mower engine and they run the same thing, very fine stainless steel cable with the ends soldered.

Kenny, I couldn't tell you, the only stuff we use is glycosulphates, mostly to kill off the fields before planting a new crop of turf.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-05-26          162977


Thanks Murf. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2009-05-26          162979


Murf when you "ends" --how much of it? Comparatively, how long does the cable last versus poly? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-05-27          162986


Jeff, about the last 1" of the steel cable is brazed or silver soldered. I've seen more than that done, but it looses a lot of it's flexibility, at that point it acts more like a pivoting bush hog blade than a piece of line.

You need big horsepower (3+ hp) to run that type of line.

They seem to last about a season if you can keep from hitting rocks or other hard stuff. Wood and brush doesn't seem to bother them much, but the hard stuff breaks up the hard end and they unravel.

Best of luck. ....

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JAZAK5
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 276 coxsackie,ny
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2009-06-03          163147


I love my stihl fs 85 !! between the bump head and the flail head there isn't much i can't take down !!!! Although the stihl flail blades are a little weak I replaced them with the shindiwa blades (thicker and more mass) or the stens poly blades with the metal inserts(normally use with my allen hover mower). ANY thing larger than that I use my old robin nb04/rebaged craftsman 42 cc brush cutter that is still running well since it was made in 1987 !! ....

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bvance
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 280 The Great Pacific NorthWet, Olympia, WA
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2009-06-23          163569


"I would trather spend a little more now than have to buy a new one in a few years...."

There's only one answer then in my opinion: Stihl. Good equipment, good dealers and good service.

Brian ....

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Earthsurfing
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 9 Johnson, VT
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2009-07-15          164096


Forget the Trimmer and the Round Up.

get a scythe!!

Seriously. If you get a good one, and have it sized to you, and use it properly, its actually alot of fun, and surprisingly, less work than a trimmer.

American Scythe Supply out of Maine will custom make you a good one.

Don't buy a bent wood piece of 'stuff'.

Besides- real men use these!


(Edited to make it 'G' rated by moderator Murf). ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-07-16          164103


Earthsurfing, two problems to me with your suggestions here:
I get enough flowers and such with the string trimmer and short string.
But the one that really worries me, my wife does a good bit of trimming and I sure don't want a scythe handy for her when I goof up..(visions of the grim reaper here). ;-)

Seriously don't think in my 55 years have ever seen one used here. I can remember when the ideal yard was a swept dirt one. No grass and used brooms made from broom straw to really sweep them. There is a house about two miles from me with that still. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2009-07-16          164104


EW, find you a real farm supply store (where farmers buy) for your chemicals. Better chemicals (read the percentage of the chemical) and better prices than Lowes at least here. Price the 2 1/2 gallon containers. Generics that are same chemical as Round up are as chemicals go cheap. Notice, have not priced any this year but have heard no one talk of major price changes. Here TSC is better than Lowes but again the real farm supply stores beat them. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2009-07-16          164112


I can't remember the name of the product right off the top of my heard, but the local Co-op elevator sells packets of dry roundup concentrate for three dollars a pack. That pack is the correct amount for a gallon of water. A full box is five packs for 15 dollars, that's enough to last me a full summer for my two gallon hand sprayer. Greatest string trimmer ever invented and cheap too. Frank. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-07-16          164114


The missus and the dogs and I were out for a stroll a while back and saw a guy up the road from here was trying something I've never seen before as far as trimming.

He was walking along the fence line (galv. chain link) with a big blow torch in hand, the kind roofers use to seal the cracks, 250,000 BTU propane fed by a 20 pound tank.

I stopped to ask him about it and he claims that just a few seconds of heat will kill the top of the grass blades leaving the lower part unaffected. He said he singes the tops one week, then comes along a week or so later after the dead part is dry and actually burns off the dead material. He claims it works even better than cutting because the burnt edge slows the growth rate of the remaining blade of grass.

Clever idea if it works I guess.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2009-07-16          164115


I use the propane torch method to knock off weeds on our gravel driveway. Works great.
....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-07-16          164116


I've seen (and done it myself) for weeds in driveways and patios and such, but never to control grass in a lawn.


Best of luck. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2009-07-16          164119


I have one of those roofer torches (I think it's 250,000 BTU).I tried it on the weeds we have. It takes more time effort and gas than it's worth. And it burns off only the growth that was exposed to direct and intense flame. Otherwise the weeds continue unaffected. Within a week they were growing back.

Murf, if flame-singing grass stunted growth, I wonder if the principle could be adapted to a wide, towbehind boom affair that would horizontally produce a controlled flame for golf courses greens. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7140 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2009-07-16          164125


Quote:
Originally Posted by earthwrks | view 164119
Murf, if flame-singing grass stunted growth, I wonder if the principle could be adapted to a wide, towbehind boom affair that would horizontally produce a controlled flame for golf courses greens.


I'm sure it would, but it would never give that perfectly clipped to pool-table flat look they demand.

We have one division that does nothing but get called in for extra support when golf courses are hosting big tournaments. It's not uncommon in those cases, especially when they're playing 'extended hours', early starts and late (sometimes under lights) finishes that we are asked to cut the greens twice a day!

Even the fairways get treated specially, we have special attachments under the mower called "stripers" that do nothing but make that 'ball diamond' stripe pattern. It can even be turned on & off so you can get the pattern perfect.

Best of luck. ....

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