String-trimming neatens up the ragged edges of lawn that a mower can’t access. It also levels weeds in beds and around trees. In this blog, we cover string-trimming basics: setting up the tool, operation fundamentals, and the standard pattern to follow.
With the tips provided in this article, the first-time string-trimmer can become a skilled operator, turning his or her yard from scraggly-round-the-edges to neat and defined. As with any new ability, string trimming proficiency develops with time. The first few passes might not produce Disney-perfect results, but with a little patience and practice, your trimming will become flawless.
Set Up Your String Trimmer
Setting up your string trimmer correctly will extend the life of the equipment and save you time and money.
Most string trimmers, or weed whackers, run on two-stroke-oil mixed fuel. Read the instructions in the owner’s manual to determine what fuel you will need. Using the wrong fuel can destroy the motor of your string trimmer.
The line (string) you buy is up to your preference. However, for residential use, a round line or square line will serve best. Hard to break and delivering a clean cut, these lines keep the grass from fraying while being strong enough to avoid breaking.
While string trimming, wear a long-sleeve shirt, long pants, protective shoes, and eye protection. Many a rock has been cast into the unsuspecting, unprotected eye.
How to Operate a String Trimmer
Holding the rear handle with your left hand and the front handle with your right, walk along the edge of the grass. The head of a string trimmer turns counterclockwise, so hold the head out in front of you, cutting a swath and throwing the debris away from your body.
Hold the string trimmer above the ground, keeping the line at the same height as the surrounding grass. Dipping below this level will cut the grass down to the roots, exposing a yellow color usually hidden underneath the green blades. Avoid this by letting the head glide along at the same height as the surrounding grass.
A common problem for beginners is moving too quickly. Taking your time as you learn will develop your skill and confidence, enabling you to speed up as you gain experience.
Use your arms and legs to compensate for your footsteps and practice in the backyard before upsetting your spouse with gouges in the front yard. For now, patience will get the job done. The first cut may be discouraging (string trimming is not as easy as it looks), but trust in your ability and keep practicing. Muscle memory will come.
Follow a Pattern for Efficient Trimming
- Standing on the street, facing the property, begin trimming at the front, right-hand side. Cut along the road and follow that edge around the corner and up the driveway.
- If there is a sidewalk, stick with the edge until you get to the property line, then cut the other side of the sidewalk, back towards the driveway.
- Follow the edge until you get to the house, and then cut the grass unreachable by the lawnmower, hugging the exterior walls.
- Move around the house and back to the uncut side of the driveway.
- Follow the driveway back to the street, and finish trimming the street edge.
- As you are walking this pattern, stop and trim around any nearby trees, hedges, beds, or ornaments, then return to your spot on the edge or house.
Using this pattern will allow you to cut everything in the yard that needs to be cleaned while avoiding unnecessary walking.