You might see hedge clippers in a grass-cutting discussion and wonder if the world has gone mad. Can you cut grass with a hedge trimmer, and if so, when does it make sense?
Can You Cut Grass With A Hedge Trimmer?
You can cut grass with a hedge clipper. If you’re looking at a waist-high mass of lawn grass, going at it with a hedge clipper will cut it down to the point where a lawnmower can handle it without bogging down.
How To Mow Grass With A Hedge Clipper
You mow grass with a hedge clipper in the same way you would use it to cut down an overly large bush from the horizontal position.
You can use any number of cutting tools to cut down high grass, such as a machete or a scythe (because that would be entertaining for the neighbors).
But a good hedge clipper will make the work much easier and more efficient.
Before going into some tall, overgrown grass, the most important thing to know is to protect yourself and the extension cord—unless you have a battery-powered one.
Wear gloves to protect your hands, and bring plenty of bug spray.
Mosquitoes aren’t the only horrible things hiding in the grass. Ticks and redbugs are especially troublesome and can wreak havoc on you quickly.
- Make sure the trimmer blades are well-oiled and sharp
- Dress appropriately (long pants and sleeves with heavy boots)
- Ensure sure, you have plenty of cord, and tie it off where it plugs in
- Don’t bend over to cut, as it will kill your back
- Make solid, left, and right swaying motions without cutting too fast
Prepping The Blades
You can probably get away with moist oil types to lubricate the blades on your hedge trimmers. However, it’s best to stick with the recommendation from the owner’s manual.
If you no longer have the owner’s manual, some 3-in-one oil is your best bet.
Apply the oil directly to the blades. You can run the hedge trimmers a few times to make sure that the oil is well worked in before you start trimming grass. Once you start trimming, it will be a mess pretty quickly.
Because of the bugs mentioned above, the especially nasty ones that are relentless when disturbed from their grassy hiding spots, wear long pants and sleeves.
That will help protect you from the worst, but some extra bug spray for exposed skin wouldn’t hurt.
If you’re marching into some heavy grass, you’ll want to wear solid boots, preferably high-tops. Like bugs, snakes also prefer tall grass for concealment, and the higher your boots, the more protected you are.
Trimming The Grass
Most hedge trimmers have their plug-in outlet on the back, and you should tie a standard knot—with the extension cord to the handle—before you plug it in.
This will keep the extension cord from popping out as you move farther away from the outlet.
With the hedge trimmers in a horizontal position, make wide, slow arcs back and forth. This will ensure that the blades have time to cut because you’re not swinging too fast. Try not to bend over too much; even a young back can quickly become strained.
Cut the grass as low as you’re willing to go to come back over it with a regular lawnmower later.
How To Trim Low To The Ground
All of the above applies, except that you will have to get down on your knees, low to the ground. Then, cut back and forth slowly and methodically with the hedge trimmers held out in front of you horizontally.
Of course, large bulky lawnmowers can’t access everything, so occasionally, it may be a good idea to use hedge trimmers to cut grass that isn’t too high for a lawnmower, just inaccessible.
It’s vital to keep the cord out of the way when cutting low. You don’t have as much leeway and freedom to shift the cord around when you’re down on your knees, and you don’t want to cut your cord accidentally.
One thing to look out for is how low your blades are cutting. You don’t want to hit the dirt. While dirt might not affect the trimmers immediately, it can have a long-term detrimental affection how well the blades slide back and forth in their grooves.
When Is It Best To Cut Grass With Hedge Trimmers?
The best time to cut grass, including weeds and unsightly overgrowth, is when they are nice and dry. Cutting wet grass with hedge trimmers is a recipe for disaster.
Instead of instantly slicing through the overgrowth, the plants will bend because they are too pliable.
When they bend due to being saturated, they tend to run up inside the grooves that house the blades. When they do that, it’ll either jam up the hedge trimmer completely or bog it down, making it work harder to cut.
Ultimately, it could burn out the motor, and you’ll be stuck with a soaking wet paperweight that’s covered in grass.
This is also true for vines, another unwelcome grass, and tree-choking plant that grows everywhere.
The best way to get rid of the vines is to poison them. So if there are a lot of vines in the grass that you’re looking to cut, you need to be sure that they are completely dry.
Vines have a wider stalk that holds more moisture than grass, so they tend to bend before cutting and are worse at tying up your blades than grass is.
If you have a patch of lawn with high grass and a lot of vines, you may consider using poison on them. But unfortunately, not even weed eaters like to tackle vines, especially the thicker varieties.
It’s best to do any of your cutting mid-morning after the dew has burned off but well before the sweltering heat of the day arrives.
This way, you will be cutting dry grass without worrying about a heat stroke.
Can You Use Cutting Shears Instead Of Hedge Trimmers?
You can use cutting shears, and they can be as effective as hedge trimmers, albeit a bit slower. After all, cutting shears are designed to cut similar things.
The only problem with cutting shears is that you must ensure the blades are razor-sharp.
Though you’re cutting the same thing, the closing blades of a cutting shear are nowhere near as fast as the mechanized blades within the groove tracks on a hedge trimmer.
While cutting sheers are designed to cut hedges, cutting grass is not as easy.
However, if the blades are well-sharpened, they will work just fine. If you’re getting to a place where it’s tough to keep cutting grass with the hedge trimmer, bringing out the cutting shears may be your best option.
They also have one advantage that electric hedge trimmers can’t compete with. Cutting shears won’t break down or bog down if dirt or debris gets on the blades.
They will function for as long as your arms are willing to pump them open and shut.
Between cutting shears and hedge trimmers, there shouldn’t be a whole lot that you can’t cut. Both are effective cutting instruments and—if the grass is nice and dry—will be more than enough to take care of any excess overgrowth you have to deal with.
Just remember to keep the blades clean and well-oiled, and you should have no problem tackling any lawn.