Speed. Getting the job done as quickly as possible. The faster you can do a job, the more jobs you have time to do.
Accuracy. Doing the job right the first time you do it. Having to do part of a job over wastes time.
Efficiency. Doing all parts of a job in a logical, convenient order, as well as using the right tool or a better tool.
Let’s apply these ideas to mowing and trimming a lawn. If you are like most gardeners the first thing you probably do when you arrive at a customer’s house is mow the lawn. Next, you edge and/or line trim it. Mow and edge, that’s what its called isn’t it? Yes, but the procedure is not efficient.
The edger is the first tool you should use. It’s used for trimming along hard edges such as sidewalks and driveways. It’s more accurate and leaves fewer divots than a line trimmer. With a proper length blade and an established edge, the edger is also faster than a line trimmer.
Next, use the line trimmer. Use this tool in such a way as to cause the trimmed grass to be thrown onto the lawn and not into beds, groundcover, and shrubbery. The line trimmer is the messiest of the grass cutting tools you use.
Finally, mow. Not only will your lawn mower pick up grass from its own activity, but it will collect a good deal of the trimmings created by the edger and line trimmer. This saves you raking, sweeping, and blowing time.
Some other ideas: Edge the entire perimeter of a lawn with the edger. Edge along hard edges as well as beds and tree wells. Since an edger cuts deeper into the soil than a line trimmer it’s more efficient at cutting stolons or runners on such grasses as Bermuda and Kikuyu. An edger can also create a clean crisp straight edge along beds. This is much more attractive than the typical wavy edge left by a line trimmer.
Don’t let grass grow up against fence boards, walls, or plants. By maintaining a narrow edge with your edger or line trimmer you can prevent damage to these features as well as using less line.
Don’t run your edger blade right up against concrete. Nothing works faster than concrete to turn your edger blade into an edger stub. Create an edge that’s at least a 1/2″ wide. Such an edge reduces wear to a blade and makes edging faster.
The line trimmer is the most dangerous of your lawn care tools. Line trimmers are notorious for the damage they cause to fence posts, sign posts, bender board, fence board, and stucco. Avoiding damage to these structures is easy. It’s simply a matter of trimming carefully and slowly. If time is important then you should create edges, borders or wells around or along these structures. A combination of proper edging techniques, plant growth regulators, and herbicides should do the trick quite well. Plant growth regulators can cut your edging and line trimming time by as much as 75%. Instead of trimming once per week you may need to trim only once per month.
The other landscape feature a line trimmer is dangerous around is trees. There is nothing more unsightly and amateurish than trees damaged by an inept line trimmer operator. This is the one aspect of line trimmer use that customers are concerned most about. Nothing can kill a tree faster than having its bark and vascular layers slashed by someone who doesn’t know how to use a line trimmer properly. A damaged tree is susceptible to insects, fungi, and diseases. In some tree species, this can lead to a quick death. When using a line trimmer around trees and other plants be very, very careful. Its always advisable to create at least a small well around any plant that’s located in a lawn.