Properly Using a Weed Whacker

by April Reinhardt
(last updated May 18, 2016)

We have a fairly large lawn, and it is surrounded on three sides by two different types of fencing. While I can get my lawn mower fairly close to the fence, I need to use my weed whacker to trim the grass away from the fence entirely, or risk the wrath of my neighbor and the home owner's association. I used to have an electric weed whacker, but got tired of pulling what seemed like miles of cord around the yard.

Two summers ago I foolishly traded in my trusty electric model for a gas-powered model, and now I don't even bother using it since I cannot hold it still in the air long enough to pull the cord to start it. My husband feels enterprising enough every now and then to use it, but I've given up long ago. I now wish that I still had the electric model, because I'd gladly pull the electric cords around the yard now just to be able to cut down the tall grass along the fence line. And I'm pretty sure that my neighbor would like me better if I did.

No matter whether you use an electric-powered, gas-powered, or the new battery-powered variety, here are some great tips for properly using a weed whacker:

  • Make sure that you protect yourself. Consider wearing safety goggles or glasses, a dust mask, earplugs, gloves, close-toed shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Make sure that your weed whacker isn't lying on the ground when you start it, as you don't want to wind up with a bald patch of lawn. Hold the weed whacker away from your body and foliage while starting. Follow the instructions about how to start your weed whacker.
  • Once started, hold the machine by its wand and swing your weed whacker from side to side in a smooth motion. Don't hold the trimmer too close to the ground. I ruined the head of a weed whacker one time because I allowed the head to rest against the ground while I trimmed around our sidewalk. Hold the head at least two inches from the ground to avoid damage to the head and to avoid trimming away too much grass.
  • If you have very long weeds, cut them down using garden shears or hedge trimmers instead of using a weed whacker. Or, use your weed whacker, but trim in increments.

My current weed whacker requires that I use strips of nylon and plug them into each of three holes on the head, instead of twining the nylon around the head. My old electric model required me to wind nylon string around the head and then twist the head cap into place to secure it. My gas-powered model is more convenient to use with its nylon plugs. Still, it's highly inconvenient to continually insert plugs of nylon string when I run up against a fence or a weed that has a large base. Always try to maintain a good distance from fences, buildings, sidewalks, and tree trunks when using your weed whacker.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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