How to Cut Grass With a Weed Whacker

Mowing the grass If you don\’t have a lawn mower, you can use a weed whacker instead. Image Credit: gece33/iStock/GettyImages

Weed whackers (also called string trimmers) are one of the most-used tools for cutting grass and weeds. As long as the right precautions are taken and the instructions followed, weed whackers make short work of lawn chores. Many homeowners even use weed whackers for small yards, as opposed to a lawnmower.

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Weed Whacker for a Small Yard

While weed whackers cannot mow entire large yards, they are good tools for cutting grass in small quantities. Weed whackers are often called string trimmers because they cut grass and weeds using nylon lines that are wound onto reels. The engine spins the reel, and the line extends out horizontally as the user swings the weed whacker from side to side. The majority of string trimmers have automatic feeds, making them much easier to use.

Weed whackers are also great tools for mowing slopes and rock areas. Before using the weed whacker, remove large branches, rocks or any other loose debris in the to-be-mowed area. Otherwise, bits of dirt, soil or even rocks could get flung into the air and hit other objects or people. Some weed whackers are designed to be used on grass edges as well as grass patches, so check the manual first.

Tips for Using Weed Whackers

Hold the weed whacker handle snug up against your hip and make sure that it is at the right height. Keeping it level to the ground, use short, swinging motions to make passes over the grass. You can overlap as needed. Once a uniform length has been achieved, turn off the weed whacker. Rake up any cut grass and store the weed whacker until the next time.

Note that string trimmers and similar tools are not to be used close to tree trunks, as they could cut into the bark and kill the trees. When trimming along flowerbeds, rotate the weed whacker vertically. If there are obstructions like large rocks, hold the weed whacker's head so that it is level while working.

Choosing and Using Weed Whackers

If you are in the market for a new weed whacker, you can find gas-, electric-, battery- and propane-powered versions. Gas models have curved or straight shafts, and electric ones are quieter; however, with the latter, you will have to deal with extension cords. A corded tool limits how far the string trimmer can travel and can also complicate the trimming process as the cord can get in the way.

Battery-powered models are quiet and light but do not have as much power as gas weed whackers. Also keep in mind that curved-shaft trimmers are good for flower beds, while straight-shaft ones are better for reaching higher brush.

Safety is of the utmost importance when using weed whackers. Whenever using this or other yard tools, you should wear safety goggles (a face visor is even better), gloves and earplugs to protect yourself. It is also wise to wear long pants and shoes instead of shorts and sandals. Cut at an angle in most spots so that the weeds and grass are thrown in the other direction, and stay away from people, vehicles, windows and anything that could get hurt or damaged.