If you have a garden or land around your property, it’s pretty much essential that you own and use a weed wacker to keep the lawn looking neat and tidy.
Weed wackers are fantastic for cutting grass on smaller patches of land and for getting close to the edges where a mower can’t reach.
Some powerful models on the market will also make light work of cutting down really thick weeds and brush.
If you need to learn how to use a weed wacker, then you’re in the right place, as we’ve prepared an easy step-by-step guide below.
How to Use a Weed Wacker
If you’ve never used a weed wacker before, also known as a string trimmer, then prepare yourself for a pretty shaky experience!
Weed wackers vibrate quite strongly, and it can take a minute to adjust to how they feel when you’re operating one.
Don’t let that put you off, though, because a weed wacker is an extremely useful tool to own. In fact, many find them fun to operate.
Before we launch into our step-by-step guide on how to use a weed wacker, read through our safety tips first to ensure you can operate this power tool safely.
The first thing you need to know about weed wacking is that it kicks up a lot of flying debris.
Mostly, the debris will be made up of grass and weed cuttings, but from time to time, you may catch a piece of wire, grit, or small rock hiding in the deep grass.
This is why it’s so important to dress appropriately for the task, as well as stay aware of your surroundings.
1. Wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
You should always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes when weed wacking. Many people also like to wear ear protectors, as some models can be very loud.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants, as well as boots or closed shoes, to protect your limbs and feet from flying debris.
If it’s warm out, then you should also consider wearing a hat. Those who suffer from hay-fever almost certainly need a face mask, too.
As you can see, this is not the kind of gardening job you can do while topping up your tan!
2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Due to the high potential of projectiles launching from the weed wacker, you should also stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
Check if there are any other people or animals around you and maintain a safe distance.
You may also want to back your car off the driveway to make sure you don’t accidentally damage the paintwork with flying grit.
Weed Wacking in Four Easy Steps
Now that you’re dressed and ready to go, follow these four easy steps for safe and efficient weed wacking every time.
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With the Tool
Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the weed wacker by practicing holding and moving with it.
It is also advised that you find out where all the important buttons are before you start.
Some will just have a trigger, and others will also have buttons that release string and so forth, so read your owner’s manual to find out what you’re working with.
Step 2: Prep and Power Up
Load your string or cord, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check that you have enough gas in the machine or that the battery is fully charged before switching it on.
Also, make sure that there is sufficient string (around six inches) hanging out of the trimmer head.
Depending on the model you have, you may have to press “on” and hold down the trigger to start it up or crank a start cord.
Step 3: Start Trimming
Slowly lower the head of the weed wacker to approximately one inch off the ground.
You don’t want to go any lower than this as the string may accidentally hit the ground, causing you to burn through a lot more string than necessary.
When weed wacking, you’ll be moving the tool from side to side, about a foot at a time, while slowly moving forward.
Notice the direction the string is spinning, and be sure to move forward while the tool is spinning in that direction.
For example, if your string is spinning clockwise, you’ll step forward as you’re moving it from left to right.
Step 4: Releasing More String
If you notice that the weeds aren’t cutting as well as they were, it’s probably time to release more string.
You have to remember that it gets gradually worn down as you work.
Some models have a bump knob, whereby you simply bump the trimmer lightly on the ground to release more string. Others may have a button near the trigger.
When a new string is released, your weed wacking should be able to resume as normal.
Top Weed Wacking Tips from the Pros
Here are some top tips from weed wacking experts to help you achieve a more perfect finish every time.
When you’re tackling thick weeds or very tall grass, you’ll need to move forward a lot slower than usual.
Aim to cut particularly overgrown areas with just the last inch of the string, as that is where the most power will be.
If you try to go too fast through dense weeds, you’ll be in danger of overloading the engine.
If you want to edge your lawn, but don’t have an edging tool, try turning your weed wacker on its side, creating a 90-degree angle.
This will angle the string vertically so that you can create neat edges between your lawn and pathways.
You won’t be able to achieve quite the same level of perfection as you would with an edger, but you can get it looking really good with some practice.
Weed wackers are very simple tools to operate, but you may need to take regular breaks if your arms start to feel a bit tired or tingly from the vibrations!
The main things to remember are to move slowly in the direction of the spinning string, and if the tool stops cutting well, it’s time to release more string.
Most models are cordless these days, and the weight can vary quite a lot between gas- and battery-powered units.
Choose a battery-powered model if you’re at all concerned about the weight or noise.
Now, get out there and wack those weeds!