Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Katie Tuttle

Katie Tuttle, GCI


Cut the overgrowth


There’s more to trimmers and edgers than just making a yard look nice.

June 29, 2015

Edgers and trimmers are important tools every landscape contractor should have on his truck, no matter what size your company is. And while some contractors are probably using the same tools homeowners can pick up at any home supply store, it’s important to consider your options and what will work best for your jobs.

“There is a difference between a commercial product and a residential product,” says Linda Beattie, public relations specialist with Schiller Grounds Care, the parent company to Little Wonder. “There are some products that are built for heavy duty daily use which you might find with a landscaper or groundskeeper, but it differs from the homeowners who may trim their hedges maybe five or six times a season.”


CORE. MTD Products acquired CORE Outdoor Power Equipment in January of this year, and the company is offering CORE products, including the CGT400 Trimmer and the Elite E400 Trimmer.

“Now that we’ve been acquired by MTD, we’re trying to utilize their vast manufacturing,” says Lincoln Jore, co-founder of CORE. “We’re basically taking the same great technology we have and using all of MTD’s engineering and resources.”

The company has upgraded the motor platforms for both trimmers, which will probably become available sometime towards the end of this year.

CORE (Conductor Optimized Rotary Energy) technology features a power cell to provide the operator with a gas-free alternative to fuel. The CGT400 has a runtime equal to one tank of gas, while the Elite E400 has a runtime equal to two tanks of gas.

“It is truly made to displace gas,” Jore says.

DeWALT. If a job requires you to cut through a heavy amount of growth, you might consider DeWALT’s string trimmer, which features a gear drive transmission. When it gets into the tough overgrowth, the gear drive transmission increases the torque, allowing you to plow through without slowing down.

A feature that helps with that is a variable speed trigger and two speed settings. Users can set the trimmer to maximum performance with the push of a button for cutting through heavy growth. Then the user can die down to a lower speed for typical maintenance cuts that don’t require a lot of power, this extending the run time.

“What’s the most important for (users) is always the power, the run time and the durability,” says Product Manager Jola Wodka. “With the technology built into the string trimmer, we answer and manage all three of those.”

Another feature of DeWALT’s string trimmer is its flexible material. “Those tools get mishandled quite a bit in operation and transportation,” Wodka says. “They can take some impressive shock absorption.”

If a DeWALT string trimmer happens to fall of a truck, or if there’s some bending of the material, it will return to its regular shape and form.

Little Wonder offers hedge trimmers as either commercial electric or gas-powered. In the early to mid-90s, the company updated the technology of the trimmers, changing the electric motor to make it more dedicated for commercial use. The double-insulated housing of the engine now allows the trimmers to cut hedges up to a half inch thick. The gas engine trimmers can cut hedges up to a full inch thick, making both trimmers a good option for when a job requires more than just hedge upkeep.

STIHL. In 2014, STIHL launched the FF94R, a two-stroke mid-range trimmer. Prior to that, most of STIHL’s trimmers had four-cycle engines. “Some folks were not that comfortable with going to a four cycle machine,” says Marvin Mathwig, a product manager for STIHL. “We really want to make everyone comfortable with whatever technology they prefer.”

Because of this, STIHL now has three different technology options for its customers: four-cycle, two-stroke and lithium ion battery. “We’re trying to expand to all three to get the landscaper what they need, prefer, are comfortable with, as well as what their clients are demanding,” Mathwig says. “We really think it’s important for the landscaper to have different options in terms of what technology they want to purchase and what technology they want to use. We really want them to purchase the machine they’d be most comfortable using.”

STIHL’s new FF94R also happens to be the lightest weight trimmer in the company’s professional lineup.

STIHL also designed the The KombiSystem, which features 16 different attachments that hook up to the power head of one dedicated engine.

“We really have a lot of landscapers, especially the smaller guys, moving in the direction of our KombiSystem,” says Mathwig.

Along with both a 135-degree adjustable hedge trimmer and a 0-degree straight hedge trimmer, the system also features a mini-cultivator, curved lawn edger, straight lawn edger, 135-degree adjustable power scythe, brushcutter with four-tooth grass blade, line head trimmer, pole pruner, STIHL PowerSweep, blower, CFK shaft extension, shaft extension, curved shaft trimmer, bristle brush and bed redefiner.

The bed redefiner, or what some call a bed edger, was launched in 2013 and has seen a lot of success with the KombiSystem, which is the only way it can be purchased. “There’s just a lot of advantages to the whole system,” Mathwig says.



Little Wonder. The company’s stick blade edger features a four-cycle engine and is a wheeled unit, making it similar to a walk-behind.

“It’s a dedicated straight line edger for large commercial properties or along long walkways,” Beattie says. “It’ll edge up to 90 feet per minute. It’ll produce a nice, thick, clean edge.”

Little Wonder also has a bed shaper, a specific type of edger that’s able to handle curves and serpentine shapes. It can cut around tree rings and along oblong, arced beds, working at a rate of up to 100 feet per minute. Because of the concave blade, the shaper takes out one long strip of sod along the edge of the bed.

“Ours is more of a bed refiner, but it edges, it shapes, it also trenches,” Beattie says. “You can do it in forward or reverse. But the beauty of it is with the concave blade, you can have a strip of sod to throw in a truck and you’re done.”

The bed shaper also has an optional attachment of a blade shredding kit, allowing it to shred the edge and put it back into the bed as a sort of mulch.

Little Wonder’s edger also has the option of doubling as a crack cleaner for asphalt, making it a good choice for property maintenance around sidewalks. The operator removes the blade of the edger and replaces it with a wire wheel, which is then run along the cracks to get rid of weeds and debris.

The idea for the crack cleaner came about 10 years ago, when Little Wonder sold a less-durable wire bristle as an optional attachment to take care of weeds. The original bristles didn’t hold up well to asphalt, so Little Wonder redesigned the feature and tested it out to a positive response.

“While it’s not a whole new technology, it’s an opportunity for a landscaper to use the (edger) for multiple sources,” Beattie says.

STIHL has completely updated its edgers, with the first ones being shipped out in December and January. The highlight of the new machines is the weight-reduced gear boxes and reflectors.

“We’ve reduced the weight by about 9 ounces or so,” Mathwig says. “What that means is a better power to weight ratio, which is really important to our professional customers.”

Another updated feature of the new STIHL edgers is the switch from a closed guard to a professional design open guard on the curve chap machines. The pro chap units used to have a lip that prevented material from freely falling out. The open guard minimizes clogging.

STIHL’s edgers and trimmers both have lithium ion battery options. “In 2010 we got into lithium ion with the hedge trimmer,” Mathwig says. “In 2011 we got into lithium ion battery-powered units for string trimmers. Now the entire range of lithium ion battery tools has grown to 13 different tools, and that technology will continue to expand and grow.”

Turfco. The company introduced its Edge-R-Rite II Edger to the market in ______. The edger now comes with an optional 30-degree tree ring blade. The blade minimizes root damage as it makes a finished edge around beds, similar to an edge made with a spade.

“We started offering this option because a lot of our landscaping customers want to use the edger around existing flower beds and bushes,” says Will Haselbauer, regional sales manager for Turfco. “There are a lot of jobs you can use it for, depending on what blade you’re using.”

Along with the 30-degree tree ring blade, Turco also offers a right angle blade, for edging and installation around flowerbeds and baseball diamonds; a v-trencher, for removal of turf along hard/paved surfaces such as sidewalks and curbs; the circular blade, which cuts through overgrowth a rotary can¹t handle and a 3” sod cutter, which cuts a 3-inch strip of sod and is useful for installing concrete or wood edging.

The Edge-R-Rite II Edger features a Honda 4-horsepower engine and an oscillating blade, allowing the edger to cut without throwing debris. With the oscillating blade, clean-up is easier and the machine is safer in high-traffic areas.

“Our edgers are designed with commercial contractors in mind,” Haselbauer says. “(The Edge-R-Rite II Edger) is not a single-use product. It’s very versatile.”


Epic Benda Board

The pitch: Epic’s landscape edging profile, 1x4 Benda Board is made from 100 percent recycled feedstock.

  • Benda Board can be used as mow strip, rock garden definition, pathway borders, weed creep prevention, concrete forming, flower bed delineation and tree Rings.
  • It complies with LEED accreditation for recycled content.
  • It features a slip joint technology for coupling boards, and with no sharp edges, it has zero liability for municipal and pet/child sensitive landscapes.

For more information: Epicplastics.com


Sureflex Paver Edging

The pitch: Sureflex Paver Edging is a durable edging product that is cost effective and quick and easy to install.

  • Sureflex requires no cutting and can flex for curved applications.
  • It can be installed outside or underneath pavers, making it ideal for walkways, driveways and patios.
  • Sureflex is made from 100-percent recycled material.

For more information: Surefootedging.com


Permaloc CleanLine

The pitch: Permaloc CleanLine is a complete series of commercial grade aluminum landscape edgings designed to function in professional landscapes.

  • It’s engineered to allow for easy installation and creates a clean edge.
  • Designed with a stakeless connection system that snaps down to permanently interlock adjacent edging sections - eliminating horizontal separation.
  • Includes heavy-duty 12-inch interlocking aluminum stakes that securely anchor it into the ground, providing long-term retention and ensuring that your designs last.

For more information: Permaloc.com

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