Just as I was researching how best to maintain my replacement-type lawns (clover and creeping perennials), the tool guys at Black&Decker offered me a spanking new 24-Volt Cordless String Trimmer/Edger to review and boy howdy, did I say yes.
In trim mode I needed it to shorten the groundcovers along the stone pathway and it accomplished that easily, even using the Normal power setting (there’s also a Boost setting). Then in edger mode I wanted to trim around all the stepping stones, which were completely hidden by plants. This was also easy but actually fun because it uncovered my long-missing fieldstones.
Before and after shots above, and below is a little video demonstrating both trim and edge modes.
Next, I tried the trimmer out on my neighbor’s Liriope spicata (right), which in its vigor was obscuring her stepping stones, and again it did the job easily. This is really good news because us Lawn Reformers can promote these plants as super-low-care alternatives to lawns, with no mowing required. Just a couple of trims each season can, I think, keep lawn-like but turfgrass-free spaces neat and navigable.
B&D also asked me to comment on comfort and weight and I can say I was totally comfortable using the thing. I did put on hard clogs for the job – Safety First! – but then proceeded to do the job with my legs bare – Safety Not So Much! Like too many customers, I didn’t read all the safety precautions, but I just bet that covering your legs is one of them.
Now having used a corded electric lawnmower and hated that damn cord with surprising intensity, I’ve gotta say the cord-free nature of this tool is fabulous. What freedom! I used the trimmer for about 30 minutes on a single charge and I assume it’ll last longer than that, but don’t know yet exactly how long.
How Green is It?
That’s the question everyone’s asking about everything – fair nuf – and it’s not a slamdunk in this case because some amount of electricity IS required, though not much for just a path. The point is, it’s far better than any gas-powered cutting device because it produces no emissions.
And keeping in mind the many gardeners who need power tools, we don’t point fingers at their use, responsibly done. Count me in as a Boomer desperately seeking ways to garden standing up, not kneeling and bending over. Ouch.
So what ARE the human-powered tool alternatives? One option is the old-fashioned sycthe, but the motion is a wide side-to-side affair, which is good at whacking down meadows but not for fine trimming in the garden. For edging only, there are nonpower tools for that and I hope to try one out soon.
How to Win One
If you’d like one of these handy tools for your own lawn – alternative or regular – just leave a comment to win one. Tell us why you need a cordless trimmer/edger, what you’d do with it, how crappy your yard looks without it – you get the idea. Entries accepted til 6 p.m. EDT Sunday June 27.