Get the Right Tool for the Garden

lawn mower

Pete Moss here to talk about garden tools. Are powered garden tools really worth the money, or are they just gadgets that will cost you more money in time and maintenance? Let’s take a look:

Hedge Shears:

Powered hedge shears, whether the common electric, battery-powered or heavy-duty gas powered are a big time saver. It’s so much easier and you get such a well-groomed hedge by using these compared to manual hedge shears. Also, your forearms will really thank you for using the powered version. What’s that? You say you only have two arms, then they’ll thank you twice as much!

Electric grass shears:

These are a gadget. You’ll spend more time charging them and trying to make them work than they’re worth. The simple, scissor-like grass shears work well, even though your hands may get tired with them. Better yet, use a string trimmer.

String Trimmer:

No, not a trimmer to trim string, a trimmer using string to trim grass! These are not gadgets but look closely as you buy one. Don’t get a model that you’ll spend more time re-wrapping line, untangling line, or re-charging than actually trimming grass. Electric trimmers can be great, but you will have to drag an extension cord all over your yard. However, avoid over-buying a large gas-powered beast for your small in-town yard. Don’t be like my neighbor. He spends 20-25 minutes trying to start his trimmer, then 10 minutes or so actually trimming.

Power tillers:

Depends on your garden, but I have to put these in the gadget you don’t need category. If you have a huge, ground-level garden then maybe, but only maybe, is a gasoline roto-tiller right for you. Remember, you have to store this about 99% of its life and there’s a fair amount of maintenance on them. I recommend renting one for an hour or two a year instead. Small tillers for raised-bed gardens look great in ads, but realistically, you can use a garden hoe just as easily, and they’re much cheaper and easier to store!

Electric Pole Saws:

This is a tough one. They’re basically a short-bar chain saw on a pole. They do work and can be handy for trimming a tree. However, they’re overkill for small branches which can easily be pruned with a hand-operated pole pruner. If you have branches that are large enough to require a chain saw, and they’re up high where you need to reach them on a pole, it may be time to call a professional tree trimmer. In the long run, this may be cheaper, and will keep you from ending up on YouTube with a large branch falling on your neighbor’s house!

As always, you know you can count on the Helpful folks at your local Ace Hardware store to give you more advice on these and other garden tools. Remember, there are times when a good hand-operated tool can be just as fast to get a job done. And you’ll get some exercise as well!