June 28, 2006

Choosing a Hedger for Your Yard

Hedgers, or hedge trimmers, are wonderful if you have a lot of shrubs in your yard. Hedgers make quick work of your pruning chores, making it easy to cut a bunch of bushes to the same height or give them all the same shape. A hedger isn't exactly a must-have garden tool, but it is certainly a product of convenience that will make your gardening chores much more enjoyable.

are basically a long metal rod with wide teeth that allow you to give a shrub a haircut with ease. They come in single or double-sided blade varieties and can run on electricity, gas or batteries, depending on the model.

When looking for a hedger for your yard, it's important to consider blade length, the size of branches it can cut and how it is powered.

Generally, hedgers with longer blades are better for heavier-duty use. If you don't have a lot of hedges to trim, go with a 16-inch blade. For a little more power, pick an 18-inch blade. Heavy-duty use will require at least a 20-inch blade, and professionals and those with long rows of hedges will choose a 22-inch blade or longer.

Most hedge trimmerscan cut branches ranging from three-eighths of an inch to three quarters of an inch. If you have special trimming needs, check the manufacturer's specifications to find the hedger that is right for you.

We already covered power briefly. Electric trimmers are typically lighter and less expensive than other models. Gas models are heavier but also more powerful. If you don't have an outlet handy, a gas or battery-powered hedger may be your best bet.

Another issue having to do with power is a safety concern. If you have an [electric hedger], make sure that your cord is nowhere near what you are trimming. Cutting the cord while the hedger is in use can be very dangerous.

Speaking of safety, your hedger should have an auto-stop system that stops the blade in under half a second. You can also buy one with a locking starter that will prevent accidental startup.

Very small hedgers that are known as "detail trimmers" can be used for small areas of if you're sculpting a bush into an intricate shape.

The popularity of hedgers has gone down in recent years because many plant experts say plants do better when they are trimmed selectively rather than wholesale. But some people really like the neat, landscaped look of a hedge or row of shrubs that is neatly manicured.

If you are going to use a hedger in your yard, make sure you always wear safety goggles when the hedger is in operation, remove debris from the area before trimming, and make sure before you buy that you are comfortable holding the trimmer at the level you will need to trim and with your arms extended. If it's too heavy for you, find a lighter model. You certainly don't want to drop the hedger while it is running.

Filed under Pruning Tools, Hedgers by landscapeliving.
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