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Old 11-07-2010, 04:07 PM   #1
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


Thinking of getting one for my large beds going on my backyard next year. I have stone and plastic edging around my house, but since the back yard bed is so large I want it to be more natural looking.

I don't want the string trimmer kind with attachments, just the nicer $300 ones with 4 wheels and you push. I wish I could afford the $2,000 edgers that I've been watching videos of, but that's way out of my price range. I borrowed my dads $300 Craftsman push edger today. It's pretty nice, but I do have questions for those that use these on a regular basis.

- After edging the flower bed, how often do you have to do it to keep it looking tidy? I live in Ohio so half the year is winter. I was planning on doing it in the spring then again towards fall to keep it looking tidy and crisp. However, I was watching a video and some people say you have to do it in between each mowing. I definitely don't have that kind of time especially since my beds are so large.

- After years and years of edging the same bed, won't you end up loosing all your soil? Meaning each time you edge, doesn't it make the bed 1/2 or so larger?

Sorry if these are such NewB questions, I just want to make sure before I buy one.

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Old 11-08-2010, 05:45 PM   #2
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


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just the nicer $300 ones with 4 wheels and you push
I'm not thinking that you will get a good one for $300 but I don't know your local market. Around here that's what a good stick edger will cost. Stick edger is similar to what you are talking about but with one wheel and more the size and shape of the string trimmers.

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After edging the flower bed, how often do you have to do it to keep it looking tidy?
To some degree this depends on what grass you have. If you do not have a creeping/spreading grass, then it should be infrequent- once or twice per year. Here in the south, I have an uncomplimentary opinion of anyone who wants a flower bed near a bermuda lawn. I have found that a good dose of soil sterilant around the perimeter reduces creeping stolens and rhizones from intruding.

And there are the misc considerations of the overall area, i.e. does debris tend to wash into or near the bed?

My personal practice is to cut a defining edge into the soil around the perimeter of the bed. In other words, a trench about two to three inches deep and about as wide as your foot. A three inch trenching shovel is perfect for this or a good square point shovel with good square edges. The difference depends on the particular bed: how wide a border you need, is the bed level with the surrounding area or is it a raised bed, etc.
The trench acts as a wall and the purpose is to hold the mulch in the bed and prevent it from migrating into the yard, across the sidewalk, etc. This keeps a clean and well-defined edge.

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Old 11-08-2010, 08:22 PM   #3
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


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Originally Posted by downunder View Post
I'm not thinking that you will get a good one for $300 but I don't know your local market. Around here that's what a good stick edger will cost. Stick edger is similar to what you are talking about but with one wheel and more the size and shape of the string trimmers.

To some degree this depends on what grass you have. If you do not have a creeping/spreading grass, then it should be infrequent- once or twice per year. Here in the south, I have an uncomplimentary opinion of anyone who wants a flower bed near a bermuda lawn. I have found that a good dose of soil sterilant around the perimeter reduces creeping stolens and rhizones from intruding.

And there are the misc considerations of the overall area, i.e. does debris tend to wash into or near the bed?

My personal practice is to cut a defining edge into the soil around the perimeter of the bed. In other words, a trench about two to three inches deep and about as wide as your foot. A three inch trenching shovel is perfect for this or a good square point shovel with good square edges. The difference depends on the particular bed: how wide a border you need, is the bed level with the surrounding area or is it a raised bed, etc.
The trench acts as a wall and the purpose is to hold the mulch in the bed and prevent it from migrating into the yard, across the sidewalk, etc. This keeps a clean and well-defined edge.
I checked the price of the stick edgers in the same store and brands like weed eater, black and decker, craftsman and a few others range from $50 up to around $150. I did see a few that are $400 for the stick edger, but for top name brands like Husqvarna. In stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Sears they have the push kind that I want ranging between $250-$300 with 158 CC 4 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine. They aren't the most powerful, but that's what most of them come with.

Garden stores and what not sell ones like "The Bed Edger" for a couple thousand. But ones like those are for commercial use only. I would only buy one of those if I did landscaping for a living.

This is one that I'm thinking about, it's by Troy-Bilt. I've had their products in the past and can't really complain. http://www.lowes.com/pd_230266-270-25B-554E011_4294857363_4294937087_?productId=1063755&N s=p_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_ sold|1&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_Power%2BLawn%2BEdgers _4294857363_4294937087_%3FNs%3Dp_product_prd_lis_o rd_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_sold|1

It's $269.00 here in Ohio. I really just need something that I can create a nice straight edge with. I don't need anything real fancy or expensive.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:58 PM   #4
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


If you want a good edger to do that home depot sells Echo brand kinda pricey but good stuff, you can a stick edger for about 250-300. If you want a decent priced cheap and good get a ryobi power head, and get the edger attachment for about 175 maybe 200 pending on size of engine.

The benifit of the stick edgers is they are 2 stroke will wind up faster and spin faster for cutting in the dirt. The 4 strokes have torque but the rpm's are lower and are belt driven so it may try to stop the belt or burn the belt up trying to get that edge cut. If you can get a try on a stick edger and a walk behind 4 stroke like the craftsman or other brand see what does better for your needs.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #5
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


I rent the nice bed edgers every two years to do all my beds. In the between years, I use the weed eater to trim them up and occasionally a straight shovel.

The cost to rent the nice bed edger around here is around $70/day. I figure it would take me many years of renting to pay for my own, and this way I dont have to worry about any maintenance or tie up money in something that will just depreciate.

I used to have a cheaper unit with a straight blade, but it ended up being a lot more work than the nice unit I rent...which I imagine is a $2k machine.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:49 AM   #6
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


When I was playing around with my Dads $300 Craftsman Edger, I had to go over the line about 3 times to get it deep enough/straight. That was only because of the clay soil and all the rocks I hit. After I got it to how I wanted it. I took the edger one last time and did it again as if I weren't digging a new hole, but touching up the edging on an existing hole and it was a breeze.

The only problem I can see with a stick edger is the lack of stability. I watched a few videos with those and they do the cutting very quick. One guy cut a 20 foot section in and out doing multiple curves. He did it so fast that when all was completed each curve was of a different size.

The down side to the push edger is that it does terrible tree rings. You almost have to pick the rear two wheels up and just let the blade touch the ground. Not a huge deal as I probably won't do my tree rings.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:43 AM   #7
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


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Originally Posted by ricksample View Post
I checked the price of the stick edgers in the same store and brands like weed eater, black and decker, craftsman and a few others range from $50 up to around $150. I did see a few that are $400 for the stick edger, but for top name brands like Husqvarna. In stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Sears they have the push kind that I want ranging between $250-$300 with 158 CC 4 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine. They aren't the most powerful, but that's what most of them come with.

Garden stores and what not sell ones like "The Bed Edger" for a couple thousand. But ones like those are for commercial use only. I would only buy one of those if I did landscaping for a living.

This is one that I'm thinking about, it's by Troy-Bilt. I've had their products in the past and can't really complain. http://www.lowes.com/pd_230266-270-25B-554E011_4294857363_4294937087_?productId=1063755&N s=p_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_ sold|1&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_Power%2BLawn%2BEdgers _4294857363_4294937087_%3FNs%3Dp_product_prd_lis_o rd_nbr|0||p_product_quantity_sold|1

It's $269.00 here in Ohio. I really just need something that I can create a nice straight edge with. I don't need anything real fancy or expensive.
The one in your link is exactly the one I bought a few years ago. It does a real nice job with edges along the sidewalk and driveway. It took a little getting used to and had to go back for service a few times...ended up having the fuel pump replaced on warranty. I tried it on garden beds and was not all that happy with it. Problem was that the "accuracy" of the line/edge that it cuts depends in large part on how even the ground is around the bed....when the wheels go over small bumps in the lawn...the blade moves around....side to side...up and down...etc. Angles are also tough to orchestrate sometimes. Last year I did all my bed edges with a good old fashioned hand edger...flat blade shovel type deal. perhaps a bit more time consuming but tried and true. Have thought about renting one of those industrial strength bed edgers/scapers but haven't yet...maybe next spring.
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Old 11-09-2010, 02:31 PM   #8
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


Very good point... I never thought about the bumps in the lawn. It's going to be a very tough decision. Not sure now if I should bet that push one at lows or try to find one of the "stick" edgers. The stick edgers might take curves better, but people have said that when doing a large bed it could get very tiresome. You have to put more force down on it where the push type has enough weight that all you would have to do is push. Seems like their are both positives and negatives to both.

When I tried my dads Craftsman (Same engine and all the same specs as the Troy-Bilt one above). It was very tricky when creating the edges. After a little work and a few different techniques it became fun. However, it is horrible in tight curves (i.e around trees). The way it's shaped, it just ins't meant for tight curves.

Anyone have or tried a stick edger for flower beds? Keep in mind that I'm going to use it once a year and on about 400 feet of beds maybe more.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:25 PM   #9
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


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You have to put more force down on it
With all due respect, if you have to force any tool, either you are using the wrong tool or using the tool the wrong way.

I do all the flower beds for a local parks department. When you do them right the first time, they are not a problem to maintain. I put 90% of my work in the preparation. If there is a problem with rocks when using an edger, then the bed was not prepped properly to start with. There should be no rocks in there to cause problems if it was rototilled good beforehand. Once you get the soil right, then cutting in an edge is no problem. With a good edge and proper mulching, very little edging is ever needed. When needed, a straight shovel cuts in and grass/weed fragments are removed by hand. Frankly, I have never used an edger on flower beds so I cannot give an opinion on which to use. I have used them on other areas and I don't like doing so. Dust and rock fragments in my face is just not my thing (with or without face protection before someone mentions it).
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:21 AM   #10
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


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With all due respect, if you have to force any tool, either you are using the wrong tool or using the tool the wrong way.
I believe what he meant to say is that a stick edger only stays or runs where your hands put it and keep it....as opposed to a walk behind edger that has the weight and stability of the platform and wheels to guide it. With a stick edger you MUST apply/maintain pressure to keep it where you want it to go...vs a walkbehind where you do have to do that a bit...but its mostly just steering it by pushing it along horizontally with little to no downward pressure needed....gravity does most of it. Applying pressure...or force...is required to operate some tools. Ever run a push model core aerator over a hard clay terrain with subterrainian rocks?? Now THAT's fun....
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Old 11-11-2010, 05:10 PM   #11
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Anyone use a power edger for flower beds?


I've never had to "push" a stick edger into the work, just guide it. I don't see that pushing/pulling a manually propelled tool is the same. Some people fight with a rototiller because they don't know how to use them. I can work the same bed with two fingers holding the clutch lever and standing beside it to avoid foot prints in the freshly tilled soil. But that's just me. Sure manual tools require labor to operate- hammers, hand saws, block planes and a plethora of other examples. What I meant was when you have to force a tool into the work because it is not designed for the job at hand, the operator is unfamiliar with proper operation, the blades are dull, or some other similar situation. But I think most of us know that already.

I think that the OP's best bet would be to rent a good bed edger for a day, do them right, and go on with life. Or maybe I just have good leprechauns!

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