Five years ago you bought cheap, gas-powered weed trimmer from a Big Box store. The trimmer was good for what it cost. It started easily up into the day it died. It was a little underpowered, but nothing horrible. Sure, you hated re-loading the spool but doesn’t everyone?
Today, you began thinking about what to buy next and your research led to confusion. Today’s post is designed to clear up some of your confusion and get you back to happily eating weeds. If you ask ten people which weed trimmer to buy, you’ll get ten different answers. My system is always to trust the brand not the Box selling the equipment.
One brand that has a good reputation for turning out good weed trimmers is Husqvarna. Their 125L weed trimmer is a good mid-priced, entry commercial/super duty home owner model. Another good choice is the Echo SRM-225. Stihl is a brand with a stellar reputation in chain saws, but how does the company fair when it comes to weed trimmers? The Echo is a very good trimmer for light use but it a less powerful trimmer. The Stihl FS55 is a bigger machine and more powerful. Personally, I lean toward Stihl as a brand, but I have read a lot of online complaints about the company’s middle of the road trimmers. Stihl’s commercial-grade, straight-shaft units, which, undoubtedly, are much more expensive, seem to get a passing grade. Still, the Echo line appears to have better average comparative acceptance from the cursory investigation I did online. If budget isn’t a constraint, than either the Stihl commercial grade or the 4-Cycle Honda weed trimmer our machines to seriously consider, but, since cost is a restraint for most homeowners looking to do a little trimming, in the final analysis, the Echo brand seems to hold an edge over Stihl.
Whether you spend a little more on Stihl or save a few bucks buying Echo, I’m fairly certain your weeds will be satisfactorily devoured by either machine for years to come.
Every experienced gardener knows that leaves make great mulch. And in the autumn they fall free from the sky. Unfortunately, they tend to be dry and blow around in the wind, so chopping or shedding them before application is a must. Why? As leaves decompose they adhere to each other; thick layers of entire leaves, especially of maples and oaks, can form a soggy mat in winter and spring which can impede the new growth lawn grass and other plants.
This fall I’m considering putting a leaf shredder in my garden tool shed. My neighbor has this leaf shredder and it is one cool tool. Would I be better off with a small, portable machine that only handles leaves like my neighbors or bigger more powerful chipper/shredder? Leaf shredders suck leaves and material off the ground, shred it, and blow it into an attached collection bag. Some of these machines are also self-propelled. However, for my purposes, I want to chip up more than leaves. I want to toss leaves, straw, brush, end-of-season plant remains, and small tree branches in the contraption with no problems. Of course, the type of shredding I’m talking about requires the power of at least a 6hp engine. Due to budget constraints, it has to be one type of machine or the other, not both. Chipper-shredder prices are all over the board, but they typically start at $200 for small electric models that shred leaves and very small branches. The heavier-duty, 10 to 18 horsepower, gas-powered models run from $1,500 to $3,000 or more. There are stand-alone types, and models that can be towed by lawn or garden tractors.
After careful consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that a wood chipper is a more versatile tool than a leaf shredder and maybe a better overall value as well. With a low-powered portable shredder, almost every twig that gets sucked into the machine will jam the works, which means I’d have to constantly free it. After a while, it isn’t worth the bother. A leaf mulched is basically a leaf blower that works in reverse to suck in leaves, shred them, and bag them. The cons of using a leaf shredder are added cost (i.e., bags), limited utility, and increased hassle (to empty the bags). The Weekend Gardener agrees, “A shredder-chipper is one of the best ways to quickly turn huge piles of leaves and twigs into small mounds of mulch, and the best part is that it is an easy to use piece of garden equipment.”
With a gas-powered chipper/shredder, I will have enough chips to mulch my flower beds and under my fruit trees and shrubs. Of course, if your only interest is in shredding leaves, you will be better off with the lower-cost, more maneuverable leaf shredder.
In this post, we are going to explore the features of the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper and the Corona Clipper SL 7180 Forged Dual-Cut Bypass Lopper and tell you which one you are better off buying. We will also cover both products’ features, show you Amazon’s bundle deals with these tools, and other essential information to help you decide which of these tools should go in your shed. You can read a full review of the products below or if you would prefer to check out the best discount we could find you can click here or here to view the products on Amazon.com.
The Fiskars PowerGear Bypass Lopper is 32-inches long, with a 2-inch cutting capacity and lightweight aluminum handles. It uses unique gear technology to deliver three times more cutting force than a single pivot lopper. The blade is non-stick and corrosion-resistant, and the tool comes with a lifetime warranty. The Corona Clipper SL 7180 Forged Dual Cut Bypass Lopper is also 32-inches long with a 2-inch cutting capacity. It is made of steel, designed to be strong. At the ends of the handles are shock absorbing bumpers for comfort while cutting.
The Fiskars Lopper has an average customer rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon. Overall, Amazon customers seem happy with it and comment that the blades are strong and long-lasting. The Corona Lopper has an average customer rating of 4 stars. The Amazon reviews comment that it was comfortable to use, but a number of customers complain that the blade bent or broke easily.
The Corona Lopper might be a good option for those who tend to get blisters on their hands while using tools. For a similar price, however, the Friskars Lopper is probably the better option, as the blade will last longer and give you more use. Amazon is currently giving a 20 percent discount on the Friskars Lopper, bringing the price down to approximately $36. For added value, you can buy the Lopper together with the Friskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears for under $50.
Whether a tree falls down in your landscape or you need to cut one down, there’s going to come a time when you’ll need a chainsaw in your gardening tool shed. For instance, I have a large Oak that is dead and has to come down. Lots of other trees need to be thinned out. Luckily, I have gone through the purchasing process having purchased a Stihl saw seven or eight years ago, and learned some lessons that I’ll share with you here.
A chainsaw is one of the most complicated tool purchases for the average gardener to make. You’ll hear a lot of claims from dealers about which chainsaw is best or which saw gives you a bigger bang for your buck. When I went searching for a new chainsaw, a dealer told me I’d get more for my money if I traded in my old Stihl and get a Dolmar 5100 with a 20″ inch bar for $300. My problem was I didn’t know anything about the Dolmar brand other than what the dealer told me. I did some research and talked to some “tree guys” about their experience with the brand. The Dolmar 5100 is a great chainsaw by all accounts in the 50cc class, but so are the Stihl 260/026 and Husky 346XP. They are all pro quality 50cc class saws. The Dolmar 5100 may run a little better, but it didn’t make sense to trade a good working Stihl 026 for a 5100 plus $300. It’s not a good economic choice because a good working Stihl 026 can fetch $200 conservatively. A new Dolmar 5100 goes for less than $420. Besides, the 5100 is best suited with a 16″ bar. You can run a 20″ on it, but it runs better with a 16″. The same goes for the Husky 346xp and Stihl 026/260.
So, what to do? A lot of the tree guys I spoke to suggested that I should get a second chainsaw that can handle at least a 20″ bar. The Stihl MS361 is one of the real favorites for a 20″ saw. It turns out that Stihl, Husky, and Dolmar/Makita have some excellent saws in that size. For instance, the Stihl MS361 has great power for its weight. If even more power is required (depending on what you are cutting), you should start to look at the 75cc saws: Stihl MS440/441, Dolmar 7900, Husky 372. I was told that the Dolmar 7900 is great bargain for that class. However, machines of that size can get tiring for all day use. Another option is a rental saw. If you only have a one-time use, going the rental route makes a lot of sense.
Cutting plants as part of gardening dates to antiquity in both Europe and East Asian topiary, with specialized scissors used for Chinese penjing and its offshoots – Japanese bonsai and Vietnamese Hòn Non Bộ – for over a thousand years. In modern Europe, scissors only used for gardening work have existed since 1819, when the French aristocrat Antoine Francois Bertrand de Molleville was listed in “Bon Jardinier”, as the first inventor of secateurs. During the late 1890s, secateurs were sold all over Europe and the US. Nowadays every pro- and semiprofessional gardener, vintner and fruit farmer uses secateurs.
In today’s world, we’re blessed with pruners that can be used even by gardeners with Arthritis. Commended by the Arthritis Foundation for ease of use, Fiskers Micro-Tip Pruning Snip makes quick, precise cuts virtually effortless. The tool features an easy action design which opens the blades after each cut to reduce hand strain. The stainless-steel blades features a precision-ground edge that stays sharp longer and cuts all the way to the tip for clean, healthy cuts on plants. The Pruning Snip also include a handle with Softgrip touch points for a secure, comfortable grip.
To find out which pruning bundle deal is being released with Fiskers Micro-Tip Pruning Snip, click here.
To see the Fiskers in action, view this video: