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Business Owners & Managers

Trimming tips from the UAG Professionals

The Users Advisory Group (UAG) is made up of landscaping and lawn care professionals. Occasionally the group will offer tips. We recently asked the group for trimming tips. Some vary from the basic to things that you may not think about as you safely start your job.

Check out the recommendations from the pros!

David Ovando from Mower Man Lawn Service said, "When trimming be sure to have a full gas tank to avoid running out of gas mid job. Always be aware of how much trimmer line is on your trimmer head to stay productive. Also be mindful of your surroundings as to avoid objects that may be in the way of your trimmer. Foreign objects can cause harm to your trimmer as well as to yourself depending on the nature of the object.

If you can trim an area with you back facing glass that may be on a property, this helps avoid breakage of any kind due to flying debris."

Brian Fullerton of Brian’s Lawn Maintenance offered his advice involving safety for not only the worker, but also for the clients. "One of the most useful and practical tools we use on a daily basis in the lawn care industry is our string trimmer. Nothing performs the final touches on a property to give it the perfect curb appeal then a string trimmer and a freshly detailed trimming job. Most Pro's will agree that a good quality trimmer is an essential investment into your arsenal of lawn care and landscaping tools. Whether you trim walking forwards or backwards, clock wise or counter-clock wise around a property, nothing replaces the role of a string trimmer on the job," he said.

Fullerton added, "Always remember to wear proper safety protection when using your string trimmer, including safety glasses, hearing protection, full length pants, and a high quality thick work boot or hiking shoe. Always keep an eye on your surroundings when using your string trimmer. Keep an eye out for other people in a 20' radius of where you're trimming. Watch out for young children, kids playing, and even adults enjoying their time on the property."

He ended by saying, "Don't feel uncomfortable to ask them to politely relocate indoors while you take care of their property. Folks always ask me what is my current favorite trimmer line, and that would be the .105 ECHO Black Diamond trimmer line. I love how it keeps the RPM's on my trimmer high, while providing a slicing and cutting of the grass second to none. As always, you get what you pay for, so evaluate picking up a high quality name brand trimmer to get the final details of a job done right! Remember, safety first, so always execute best practices and keep everyone around you safe."

Massey Landscaping’s Jake Lanier added his advice here in easy-to-follow steps.

  • Have on the Proper Personal Protective Equipment! The last thing you need is to get hurt and have an accident because you didn't wear the right Equipment so make sure you have: Safety Glasses or Goggles, Hearing Protection, Gloves, Boots and non-baggy clothing on!

  • For a Clean Cut, make sure that your trimmer blades are sharp and greased up with WD-40! This will assure that you get a great cut from your trimmer.

  • Take your time to cut it right. Shape it nicely by going over your shrub a few times to get any stragglers.

  • Clean up after yourself! Don't leave clippings all around your bushes. The bushes may look great but it will look like the work of an amateur if you don't pick up after yourself, and your client won’t be very happy.

Brent Catterson of Katter Kuts says to watch your steps so that you don’t add extra time to the job; "My tip would be to start at a certain part of the yard that will let you continuously trim without extra steps. Anytime you have to walk to the next area adds extra time to your trimming, so I find a certain spot in the yard that will let me just kind of flow from the different areas that need trimming without having a whole lot of extra steps."

Landscaping Employee Trap’s Keith Kalfas recommends trimming all shrubs, plants and trees on a quarterly basis. He adds, "It's very important to understand the risks of various fungal entities living on plant life. Some horticulturalist recommends cleaning the blades of all cutting and shearing tools with rubbing alcohol. It's possible to spread fungal infections from one plant to the next and from one property to the next."

Shawn of Spencer’s Lawn Care said it takes patience; "The best trimming tip I tell them is to take their time. The speed and even trim will come with time and experience. I notice it normally takes about 2 weeks for a novice to pick up these skills."

Spencer added, "I provide them with a quality trimmer and trimmer line. I show them how to trim, edge, and taper in the grass to the edge. I always tell them to trim a little below the grass height. I also tell them to never bump the head in the lawn or drag the head on the ground while trimming. This will leave bare spots that will brown out and look unprofessional. So with that being said. Remember to take your time."

Julio Tome of Lawn Care Business finishes out our trimming tips with both safety and working tips. "Trimming lawn areas properly with a string trimmer so as not to burn or scalp can be a skill that takes some time to master. Proper trimming can be the difference that gives a lawn that well-manicured look and can be a way to set yourself apart from the competition."

Julio suggests choosing the proper machinery for the job. "First you want to choose a string trimmer that will be comfortable to use throughout the course of the day. Choosing too big or heavy of a machine can cause fatigue that can lead to losing focus of the task at hand and inadvertently scalping an area. Also you want a machine that has comfortable rubber covered handles to help minimize the effects of machine vibration on your hands that can lead to a numbness and that pins and needles feeling in your hands. Second, you want to choose a high quality trimmer line engineered to provide the best results."

He also suggests checking the trimmer lines. "I prefer using trimmer lines that have sharp edges like the ECHO Black Diamond line to prevent browning the grass blade tips. It’s the equivalent to mowing with sharp blades versus dull blades. Another great tip is to pre-soak your trimmer line in water to give it added flexibility and prevent brittleness. This will allow the string to wear over a longer period of time."

"It’s important to remember to use all the necessary safety equipment including safety glasses, hearing protection, anti-vibration gloves and having guards properly installed on the trimmer," he added. He also said to start planning out the most efficient route with your movements. "I like to start by planning out the most efficient route. I start by trimming close to the truck where I’m unloading equipment, and plan a trimming pattern that allows me to follow the perimeter of the property while also trimming around any interior beds and working my way all the way back to my start point where the equipment can be loaded back up."

He concluded by suggesting that a user should focus on keeping the trimmer head flat for an even cut and to watch where you cut as the line can chew up bark on trees and cause damage to other items in yard such as wooden fence posts, mailboxes and so on. As Brian Fullerton also suggested, Julio recommends watching for clients, children and even pets while trimming properties.

Trimming can be a tedious, yet satisfying jobs to keep your lawn and property looking great year round. As you can tell, the tips from the UAG pros vary from tips for preparation to safety for those around your workspace. Remember to wear your safety gear and clear off the work area with a blower to add that finished look.