Great Advice On How To Use Electric Hedge Trimmer
It might seem more romantic to pit yourself against nature, using good old-fashioned garden shears, but we don’t abide by that principle when it comes to cars, televisions, or toasters – why should hedge trimmers be different? We should see them only with gratitude and positivity.
How they work
There are two sets of ‘teeth’ in your average electric hedge trimmer which function in perfect synergy, each set being of a slightly different length. The result? A more consistent, comprehensive cut, although the overall length of the combined blades can vary in size and weight, so it is best to handle one in person. The wider the space is between each set of teeth, the bigger the branches you’ll be able to cut with it. Some models will come with a bar that runs over the blades so as to prevent any damage if it comes into contact with a tree rather than just leaves and thin stems. Others will incorporate a ‘catcher’ which can move cuttings away from the hedge, thus allowing you to make more progress as you go along. A hand guard will often come as standard for the same reason to move cut foliage away from you and protect your hands from prickly branches and/or the blades themselves.
Although many electric hedge trimmers are corded, battery-powered cordless versions have gotten progressively more powerful over the years. If you have a back-up battery you won’t need to worry about the power running out. Best of all, you’ll never need to worry about slicing through your own cord with the teeth, and will have no further need for an extension lead. It will help you to get into all sorts of angles without being limited by a trailing cord.
Step by step guide to using one
Firstly, never use your electric hedge trimmer when it is raining. Ensure, too, that you have the relevant goggles and gloves on to avoid any potential damage to your precious hands and eyes. Make sure you use a sturdy and high enough step ladder or harness if endeavoring to cut a high hedge or bush. Don’t be overly ambitious about cutting thicker branches; it’s usually best to use shears to handle those, only use the electric trimmers for the smaller stuff. You’ll also need to ensure you’ve sufficiently lubricated the trimmer before use, especially if you’re using it for the first time in summer. It can come in spray form, for your convenience.
Once you’re ready to begin, always ensure that the blade is held as far as possible from your body; it’s a potentially deadly weapon so you need to be fully focused. Begin by cutting the foliage at the base of your hedge, slowly working upwards, and not venturing too far into the hedge where the thicker roots are (this can end up damaging your expensive tool). You can lob some sort of a rope over your hedge in order to help you achieve a consistent line. Take regular breaks in order to give your trimmer a rest and avoid mechanical burn-out.
How not to use one (what can it cut/can’t it cut)
As mentioned, don’t use your trimmers at all if your hedge is wet. Don’t use old, blunted blades; these may end up damaging your hedge’s health. Completely avoid alcohol before using your electric trimmers; a fully intact torso and limbs are worth a few beers, aren’t they?! Don’t have the cord dangle around you but place it over your shoulder; if your machine slices through the cord you will have to replace it and may even trip the main fuse box in your house. Don’t perch on an unstable step ladder or have your electric trimmer anywhere above your head. There are long-reach trimmers on the market so it’s not worth the risk.
Don’t be walking backwards with your hedge trimmers in your hands; always be moving sideways and forwards in order to gain maximum control and avoid potentially lethal consequences. Don’t forget to switch it off and unplug it after you’re done with it – the thought of it getting into children’s hands is horrifying. Don’t try to cut branches or even thicker stems; always be a little less ambitious than you might, so as to maintain the sharpness and functionality of your trimmers. It’s worth employing secateurs, shears, or a long-reach trimmer, manual or electric, in order to complete the job and spare your electric hedge trimmer getting mangled and deformed.
Once you’re done it is best practice to lubricate your machine and store it away in a high, dry place, preferably a garage rather than a garden shed, which can suffer from dampness and freezing temperatures in winter. If you look after it, it should last you for years to come. You can look forward to having immaculate hedges for many years, thanks to this wonderful helpful device.
- Hedge Trimmers – Electrical Safety First