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Edgers!
I dont understand them! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif
it is a mystical and mysterious art to me.. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif

Normally when I dont understand something I just go right to my good friend Google, who is always a big help.
but in this case Google is being a pain, because 99% of the results are for THIS kind of edging:





which is not what I want! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif

I want to do this kind of edging:







My wife and I plan to eventually have huge amounts of garden space in our yard..
the "pre-form" edging, plastic strips, concrete blocks, metal strips, etc. just arent an option.
(far too expensive for the hundreds of feet of edges we will have!)
the cheap stuff (black plastic strips) is ugly, and the nice looking stuff is very expensive.

So why not make edges the old fashioned way? by just cutting a clean edge between lawn and garden?

But I admit edgers confuse me, especially the powered ones, I dont quite understand how they work..
where does all the dirt and grass go?
can it be made to fly away in only one direction? (out into the grass for example, where it can just be
ground up with the mower) or does it fly 360 degrees from the spinning blade?
if it spits it out one-way, into the lawn, that would be fine..but you dont want dirt and grass bits flying
into the garden..

Google has helped me with some edger options..
manual cutters:






and the direction im leaning toward, power edgers:



I have also seen "weed wacker" style trimmers, the ones with the "fishing line" cutters,
that say they can be rotated to also act as edgers, but that doesnt sound very reliable to me.

I would probably use a flat spade to create the edge in the first place..
then once its created, I would want the edger (of some kind) to keep the edges neat..
so im looking for an edger more for maintaining edges, rather than creating them.

Im interested in edging mostly between mulched garden beds, somewhat raised or domed, and the grass of the lawn.

here is a photo of one of the edges in our yard:



that is right after I dug the bed last summer..so it looks fairly neat in that photo.
but we have a lot of "creeping charlie" in the lawn, that works its way into the beds..

Anyone have any experience with any edgers or edging like this?
any suggestions?


thanks,
Scot
 

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Scot,
i ahve an inheritted Electric Edger that came from my Grandfather that I hate. It's huge and heavy and bulky and loud (for electric) and basically not friendly to use. It makes a huge mess that I think is better controlled cutting the edge initially by hand with one of the tools you've shown. At our old house I would cut the edge next to the sidewalk about once every two years with a shovel and keep it trimmed back with the gas line trimmer. My two cents & your mileage WILL vary!

Chas
 

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Scot,

I have all the edgers you mention. That round spade or a flat spade is what I use to do heavy edging once a year or when I create the beds. In between I use a three wheeled gas edger between my walk ways, the driveway and the grass. This is fast and easy but does not work between the grass and the beds (impossible to push the wheeled edger thru my grass) I have a blade edger and string trimmer attachments for my gas hand-held edger. I actually prefer to turn the string trimmer on its side to edge the beds in lieu of the metal bladed edger. I have St Augustine grass and it cuts faster that way--the runners in St Augustine grass run on top of the soil rather than under the soil. Looks like crab grass ya'll kill up north. Yah looks like a weed, but grows like a weed. The down side is I have to edge my beds every week/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif, as my grass grows "thru the air" into the beds. I saw on "Ask this Old House" once that with most traditional lawns (blue grass, rye, bahia etc), if you initially edge down below the soil that the "air" barrier or gap keeps the grass from growing into the beds. Again doesn't work here in Florida--everything grows in Florida--whether you want it to or not, but may keep your work to a minimum.


Oh and by the way if you buy gas powered equipment--buy good ones. Everytime I purchased a cheepy Big Orange Box special-off brand, it died within a year, and they are cheeper than the labor at the lawn mower shop to fix. Read disposable!! That three wheeled edger mentioned above is an MTD that is now 18years old and going strong! I change the oil yearly, new plug and wash the air filter. I did have the cutting head rebuilt--$118.00 with parts. Lets see that is less than $10/yr--not bad, and the edger was included with my house purchase /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif.

Good luck,

Matt
 

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Scot,
First thing I would do is spray the yard and kill off the creeping charlie. That probably works best when done in the fall. It will take over your yard. Have a pro do it and in a couple years it will be gone. HOPEFULLY!!! With out a barrier of some type I would think it would be hard to keep the grass in a neat line as you suggest. Your right tho. The cheap plastic rolled stuff just doesn't stay in the ground.
 

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Part of the secret to maintaining the edge is to cut it at a slight angle back from the garden. A weed whacker (especially a gas powered one (not too big) will maintain the edge once its cut. There is no way I know of to keep the cuttings out of the garden. Do the edge before the grass gets too long and thick and rake in the clippings. Mulch helps slow edge growth but makes trimmig awkward.
Make sure there's an actual trench or moat behind the cut. Dirt backfilling will allow grass to reestablish quite quickly. Your garden example you posted would be easily maintained with a weed whacker. A model with a light head is easier to handle for this (Canadian Tire here in Ontario has a model on sale (1/2 price 29.95) this week with a rotatable head for just this purpose). Lay a string line to follow for straight sections. The no maintenance method, unfortunately, is to lay a brick or block course at ground level.

Do what the pros do. Pay a student minimum wage to do that work all summer.
 

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Dad used to use this style:



Actually, he used to send his sub-mineature son out to edge with that one. I wasn't much use on heavier digging :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks for the suggestions everyone!
please keep them coming! :)"

Posted By leonpete on 04/22/2008 2:35 PM
Scot,
First thing I would do is spray the yard and kill off the creeping charlie. That probably works best when done in the fall. It will take over your yard.


its too late for that, it has already taken over the yard!
spraying for that much creeping charlie is an impossibility..
(we have a half-acre)
plus it would just sneak back in from the bordering lawns (that are not ours to spray)
The people we bought the house from lived here 6 years..
we are pretty sure they did nothing to the lawn that entire time! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif"

im not much into heavy lawn chemicals anyway..and we have cats who enjoy the yard.
spraying isnt going to happen..
im hoping by encouraging the grass, it will compete better with the creeping charlie..
its working a bit..I think.

our entire yard is also a solid chunk of high-quality modelers clay! ;)"
the stuff they sell in art supply stores for sclupting..
charlie is fine with it..grass not so much.
we are building up raised (domed) beds for the gardens..to get plants above the clay.

Scot
 

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My ex-wife's neighbor does his edging with NAIL SCISSORS!!! (I'm serious) Then again he also cuts his grass twice a week so it looks like a putting green.

It used to seriously upset him that I took the attitude that if it's green, it stays. And cut it maybe every 10-14 days.... Last summer was dry and he wasn't allowed to water...his is STILL brown. The "weed patch" however is nice and green.
 

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The biggest tip to cutting in a natural bed edge is to do it prior to mulching. There are commercial bed edgers that actually cut out the "V" notch for larger jobs. The edgers you have pictured are great for sidewalks or maintaining a cut edge, but they only cut one slice, not the two needed to make a groove. On large jobs we use an edge cutter, but here at home I use a garden spade. It's a straight edged spade with a short handle, and about 6" wide, it's a landscapers best friend, I use it for everything. Do all the dirt work first, then mulch. As for keeping edges, we use string trimmers and angle them to throw the grass back to the lawn. When I cut them, I usually turn the trimmer up on it's side so I can cut down on the inside of the trench as well (same method used on tree rings). Of course, if you are talking trimmers, and you are looking to buy, do yourself a favor a buy a straight shaft trimmer, not a curved shaft. Using a curved shaft and trying to edge is very uncomfortable. A straight shaft is much more versatile and easier on the user.
 

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Here in West Texas we use grasses that predominately spread via runner and root.... San Augustine, Buffalo and all the various Bermudas. I utilize a chemical grass killer like Glyphosphate (Roundup) where I want to come back with something in a week or two, or Triox/Pramitol if I want it clear for 6 months to a year. I also utilize 20% vinegar for spot treatment of weeds and grasses, but many times it doesnt get the root. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif" border=0>
All of these will kill your good plants as well so you need to apply on windless days and do not water the pramitol or triox in...it will really keep the driveway and sidewalks clear.... Roundup/Glyphosphate goes inert upon contact with the ground, but anything it touches without a woody stem is a goner...../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif" border=0>
READ the destructions on application, and really,....really apply it that way, yeilds the best results and the best economics.... ;)" border=0>
Mark
 

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Susan always used 24D, Roundup and Lasso, depending on what she wanted to do:

24d kills broadleaf weeds, but not grass.
Lasso kills grasses, but not broadleaf plants.
Roundup kills everything.

Except one spring she wanted to get rid of the weeds up near the gate. She thought she had 24D in her herbicide sprayer, but she had roundup. "Suzie, you can tell by the smell. Roundup smells spicy and 24D smells like hose water."
 

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Scotty,




I've gone through many different edging tools over the years, and while the manual ones work great, they take a lot of physical effort and don't always trim the grass cleanly.









The easiest way I've found BY FAR is to use Black and Decker's battery-powered Grasshog String Trimmer. It uses the brick-shaped B&D 18V batteries and doing my complete yard uses less than half the charge on the battery.




Before you start laughing hysterically, I've destroyed DOZENS of gas-powered and electrical trimmers over the years by doing my best Pete Townshend impression with them when they frustrate me (my wife really really hates it when I do that). But the Grasshog is light, easy to use, easy to maintain, and there is NO electrical cord to get tangled up in nor any gas/oil to spill when you tilt it at odd angles. The string spool is VERY easy to exchange as well, and it automatically feeds line, so no bumping either. I use it as an edger about 75% of the time, and it works FANTASTICALLY! It's the best edger/trimmer I've ever owned, and I never want to do a Pete Townshend impression with it!!




I did buy extra batteries, (the Silver extra-capacity ones) from Lowes, and I've been so impressed by the Firestorm line of tools that my wife & have every single one! And without reservation, I love them all. The circular saw works great for general work, the drill/driver is the BEST I've ever used (it has so much torque that it sprained my wrist one time when tightening a lag bolt!), my wife loves the little hand-held vacuum, I've cut 20-lb railroad rail in half with the Sawzall, and so on. I love these things! The extra batteries are a boon, and I have the double-battery charger too. I rarely use anything with a cord and I don't even own anything with a gas motor on it anymore (I switched to a Bolens electrical mower, and it ALWAYS starts with the first push of a button!! No more fouled plugs, plugged carbs, etc... I love it!!).




Really, the Grasshog is a great edger & trimmer, and it simply blows the debris forward (depending upon which way you have the shield/guard facing)...so either it can get mulched with mowing, or you can use a blower (hey, Firestorm even makes a battery-powered one of these!!) to blow the debris out of the garden area back into your lawn.




Simple!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I went out and bought a trimmer!
a few months ago..I got the Echo SRM-210

more than I was planning to spend..but I figure its worth it in the long run..we have half an acre of yard and a lot of gardens..and weeds!

So about the edges and edging..
I have made some new edges around some of the new gardens..at first I used a "square spade" to make the edges at a 45 degree angle,
then used the trimmer to keep the edges neat by weed whacking the grass away from the edge after it has grown for a few weeks.

I have since discovered the 45 degree edge isnt so great, and now im making edges that are totally vertical..straight up and down, about two inches tall.
Using the big trimmer as an edger works ok..but its not very controllable, and its hard to hold the thing up while trying to go neatly along an edge..

so yesterday I had an idea..I need a wheel! :)
the wheel will hold up the end of the trimmer, giving it a more controllable ride as I move it around..
instead of me holding it up, with the head bobbing around, the wheel keeps it at a constant height and makes it easier to control..
with the wheel, I only have to concentrate on one direction (horizontal) rather than two directions without the wheel (horizontal AND vertical)

So I went out to home depot and scrounged around for parts..
after looking at various bit and pieces, I came up with this:



the parts are:
1" diameter U-bolt, to bolt to the trimmer shaft. (the U-bolt says 1/2" on the label..which makes no sense, because its 1" across)
a small wheel.
1 foot by 1/4" threaded rod.
various 1/4" nuts and washers.


the bracket bolted to the trimmer:



and the wheel in use:




total cost of this mod..7 bucks! :)

it works...ok.
better than without the wheel, but there is still room for improvement.
the height of the wheel keeps the string at a level that is 2" below the surface of the grass..because the edge is 2" deep.

the wheel needs to be bigger..a bigger wheel will roll over the grass easier.
maybe 4" to 6" diameter.

here is one of my new edges, after trimming:





remember, the edge is created with a shovel..a "square spade"..the trimmer is only used to maintain the edge once its made.

The big gas trimmer works ok for this kind of edging..but its really not the right tool for the job.
its too big, and too "coarse".. it works great as a trimmer though!

im considering building a new edger..

picture this..a smaller rotating trimmer head, with the nylon string, or perhaps a rotating sharp metal bar..(with a protective cover over the top!)
the rotating sting or blade only needs to be 5" or 6" in diameter..to "cut" down 2" below the level of the lawn..

build a short handle..so you can wheel it around while standing, like this:



get an old battery powered drill to use as the power head..or any kind of small power tool that rotates fast..
it only has to be powerfull enough to cut through grass.
mount the drill on the end of the handle, near the ground, with the rotating string..
wheel the contraption around the edges, while the spinning string whacks off the grass, making the edge "clean" again..

hmmmm...

Scot
 

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Scot,

They should sell an attachement that fits on the end of your string trimmer, as long as your end in removable. Mine has a knob half way down the shaft that unscrews and the metal blade edger slips on--it has the rotating metal blade, a guard and a large wheel that rolls along the ground. I got mine at Home Depot where I bought my Troy Bilt string trimmer. (Brand does not seem to matter in this moderate price catagory--I think most if not all of them are made in the same facotry in China--different labels is all).
 

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That's a great idea. I don't like string trimmers. I find them difficult to control. Your attachment helps make a nice looking edge.







Posted By Scottychaos on 07/27/2008 11:32 AM
So I went out and bought a trimmer!
a few months ago..I got the Echo SRM-210
more than I was planning to spend..but I figure its worth it in the long run..we have half an acre of yard and a lot of gardens..and weeds!
So about the edges and edging..
I have made some new edges around some of the new gardens..at first I used a "square spade" to make the edges at a 45 degree angle,
then used the trimmer to keep the edges neat by weed whacking the grass away from the edge after it has grown for a few weeks.
I have since discovered the 45 degree edge isnt so great, and now im making edges that are totally vertical..straight up and down, about two inches tall.
Using the big trimmer as an edger works ok..but its not very controllable, and its hard to hold the thing up while trying to go neatly along an edge..
so yesterday I had an idea..I need a wheel! :)" border=0>
the wheel will hold up the end of the trimmer, giving it a more controllable ride as I move it around..
instead of me holding it up, with the head bobbing around, the wheel keeps it at a constant height and makes it easier to control..
with the wheel, I only have to concentrate on one direction (horizontal) rather than two directions without the wheel (horizontal AND vertical)
So I went out to home depot and scrounged around for parts..
after looking at various bit and pieces, I came up with this:

the parts are:
1" diameter U-bolt, to bolt to the trimmer shaft. (the U-bolt says 1/2" on the label..which makes no sense, because its 1" across)
a small wheel.
1 foot by 1/4" threaded rod.
various 1/4" nuts and washers.
the bracket bolted to the trimmer:

and the wheel in use:


total cost of this mod..7 bucks! :)" border=0>
it works...ok.
better than without the wheel, but there is still room for improvement.
the height of the wheel keeps the string at a level that is 2" below the surface of the grass..because the edge is 2" deep.
the wheel needs to be bigger..a bigger wheel will roll over the grass easier.
maybe 4" to 6" diameter.
here is one of my new edges, after trimming:


remember, the edge is created with a shovel..a "square spade"..the trimmer is only used to maintain the edge once its made.
The big gas trimmer works ok for this kind of edging..but its really not the right tool for the job.
its too big, and too "coarse".. it works great as a trimmer though!
im considering building a new edger..
picture this..a smaller rotating trimmer head, with the nylon string, or perhaps a rotating sharp metal bar..(with a protective cover over the top!)
the rotating sting or blade only needs to be 5" or 6" in diameter..to "cut" down 2" below the level of the lawn..
build a short handle..so you can wheel it around while standing, like this:

get an old battery powered drill to use as the power head..or any kind of small power tool that rotates fast..
it only has to be powerfull enough to cut through grass.
mount the drill on the end of the handle, near the ground, with the rotating string..
wheel the contraption around the edges, while the spinning string whacks off the grass, making the edge "clean" again..
hmmmm...
Scot
 

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Scot,
I can't tell if the trimmer was running in the picture, but if it was I would suggest a pair of safety glasses. I had a friend that lost an eye from one of those when it spit something into his eye. I always think about that now when mowing or trimming and that puts me in the right mood to wear mine.

My wife was using one several years ago when a part of the plastic line broke off and wedged into her knee. Luckily, she was wearing long pants, so that slowed it down a bit. I wear my glasses, but refuse to wear long pants when it's hot, so I'm batting 50% I guess.

Mark
 
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Please use a combo of these, safety glasses (clear or shade) and a full face shield! I have made to many runs to people who have lost a eye or have something sticking out of there face.











Toad



Oh yes, I know several people who blew out there side windows on there vehicle! I though it was wild they could blow a window!
 
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