For neatly edged flowerbeds, flower beds or paths, there is only one tool you need: the edger or manual edger. Quiet and environmentally friendly, the edger is no less effective. In no time at all, your edges will be straightened without fatigue or backache. There are classic edgers with a half-moon head, edgers with a rectangular head for tight spaces or edgers with a round head for retracing long edges simply by moving the tool forward. In short, no matter what your garden style, you’ll need an edger!
WHAT IS A LAWN EDGER?
The lawn is a grass like any other, and its roots are constantly digging into the ground. As a result, your once neat borders and flowerbeds look like nothing because of the clumps of grass that have gotten in everywhere. Fortunately, there is a hand-held gardening tool that is perfect for straightening edges: the edger.
They come in three main shapes:
The half-moon: The half-moon edger is the most commonly used. It is a tool with a handle generally made of wood (ash) and a steel half-moon head. This half-moon head is beveled and sharpened on the semicircle and has a lip on top to rest the foot. Some half-moon edgers feature a polished, stainless steel head for use in very sticky soil, like this mirror-polished steel edger from Spear & Jackson.
Rectangular edger: this tool also has a handle (made of ash wood or composite materials) but… has a rectangular head that is sharpened on the underside and has a rim to rest the foot. The rectangular head allows you to work precisely in tight spaces. The rectangular trimmer from de Pypere is a good example.
The edger with cutting wheel: this is the type of edger that will be used for long distance edging. The handle is made of ash wood and the head is round and completely sharp. Simply push the head slightly into the ground and move forward following the line of the border.
There are also motorized edgers: a cutting head is attached to a brushcutter body with an internal combustion or electric motor. A wheel is added to guide the machine. This type of tool is heavy, noisy and expensive and should only be used in very large gardens or parks.
the motorized tool that looks like a kind of rotary wire brushcutter or rotofil is often called “trimmer”. It is a very useful tool for cutting the grass where the mower would have difficulty getting through: very narrow pathways, borders, very uneven surfaces, etc.
HOW TO USE AN EDGER?
In the case of classic edgers with a half-moon or rectangular head:
Hold your edger (half-moon or rectangular) straight in front of you and the blade right on the edge to be (re)traced;
Place your right foot (or left foot if you are left-handed or… whatever!) on the edge of the blade;
Press down on the blade with your foot to cut the lawn cleanly;
You can slightly lift the clump of earth by a small levering movement of the half-moon to detach the earth and the “weeds”;
All that remains is to remove the excess soil and grass.
Edgers with round, cutting heads:
Place your tool with the round head in front of you;
Push it into the ground a little by pressing on the handle;
Push the tool in front of you to cut the grass following the curve of the edge;
Push the tool in front of you to cut the grass along the curve of the edge; Remove the clumps of soil and grass.
In both cases, to obtain straight edges, you can use a line or a blade guide made of a simple straight board.