tools not toxins

pontyrogof(8b)March 31, 2014

Help, I need to know about all the hand and power tools useful in removing invasive plants and staying out of trouble with neighbors.

I already ordered a bear puller weed wrench. I am good with loppers but don't know how to use a machete or which kind to get. I have a good electric string trimmer and am thinking about a good walk behind trimmer or cutter, but I am sensitive to gas fumes.

If we don't care about immaculate lawns, what is a traditional mower good for?

We want to get rid of as many invasive vines as possible, clear out from under good shrubs so we can nip the new vines, and NOT USE GLYPHOSATE.

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pontyrogof(8b)

more vines...hiding our storm water ditch...and probably shrub stumps that would jam a mower blade.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:36PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If you don't want to use one of the many week killers then look into one of the many models of weed eaters/string trimmers will get rid of most of it. If electricity is accessible fine, if not use a battery powered one. Link below.

Once you whack most of it you'll have to dig out the roots and stumps or it will just grow back.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot String Trimmers

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 6:45PM
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pontyrogof(8b)

I see evidence online that some kind of string trimmer would work well for me. I currently have a Ryobi 18v cordless and experience uncut vines often tangling around the shaft just above the spool. Is this grabbing rather than cutting problem caused by my technique or a trimmer without enough HP, etc? If I don't find workable tools soon, goats seem to be my next solution.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:00PM
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JoppaRich(7b)

It's a technique issue. You're trying to move too fast. Uncut vines shouldn't be getting close enough to the hub to get tangled.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:04PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree it is technique. Moving in too fast and in too close. The true cutting power is at the very tips of the cords.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:59PM
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pontyrogof(8b)

Yes, I kept the go slow advice in mind this time and am pleased with what even an entry level battery powered Ryobi can do. I was not giving the trimmer enough time to cut what was at the tip of the line.

But, my hand gets tired squeezing the trigger. Would that happen with any electric trimmer? Does the throttle on gas ones do the same thing to people?

Small problem however compared to the initial one with vines tangling on the shaft. :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:30PM
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pnbrown

If you want to be more sustainable (and invest in tools with a long like span) consider a bush scythe.

Marrug is a very good company and about the only remaining maker of quality scythes. The stuff in your pictures can be cut with a standard bush-blade. They also make a super-heavy bush blade which might be a better investment. Grass blades do a nice job on lawns, but you have to let the grass get about a foot tall.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 6:54AM
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lazy_gardens

You need a machete and a "reaping hook.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clearing brush with a machete

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:19PM
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lazy_gardens

But, my hand gets tired squeezing the trigger.

I hacked mine so it has an on-off toggle switch

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:21PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

But, my hand gets tired squeezing the trigger. Would that happen with any electric trimmer? Does the throttle on gas ones do the same thing to people?

There are gas models available with a lock-on trigger. Don't know about electric but you can always rig the trigger on with anything from string to tape or such. Just don't let it get away from you.

Electric/battery powered models will never have the power of a gas model and neither has the cutting power of a scythe - if you have the muscle to handle it.

Looking at those pics i can see where a chain saw, even a small electric one could be useful too.

Dave.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:52PM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

If you want to get away from toxins. Use the old fashion, well made hand tools that get the job done. I hear you about the fumes, I was using my brother's weed wacker that burns oil to cut my winter rye, I was literally choking on the white smoke... That's the last thing I want around my garden.

Anyways, I found a decent video of old fashioned hand tool(sythe) versus a newer, weaker, more polluting weedwacker, watch who cuts the strip off weeds the quickest. And weedwackers are supposed to be new technolgy?it seems like we are going a little backwards, shouldn't technology mean better built, more durable, less polluting? It seems like it's just the opposite now a days. Make everything as cheap as possible, when it breaks, throw this one in the lake, buy a new one.. The cheap shtt they make today just gets me so frustrated.. I like stiff done right..

Here is a link that might be useful: Weed wacker vs scythe

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:09AM
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wisbill

FWIW I deal with wild grape and blackberry vines every year. My go to tool is a Stihl brushcutter. It is like a souped up weed wacker but with a metal circular blade. You could clear that area up in no time with minimal effort. The blade will cut through vines quickly and easily. I use it to trim tree branches up to 2-3 inches thick. Mine is on a straight shaft about 4 ft long so its pretty safe too. I've had it for 6 years and absolutely love it.http://www.stihlusa.com/products/trimmers-and-brushcutters/accessories/trimmer-heads-and-blades/circularchisel/

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 5:21PM
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pontyrogof(8b)

Thanks so much everybody for suggestions! I got a machete and a reaping hook but they are better for upright stems. I really struggle with the thick tangle of vines where they were never cut back and don't belong in FL.

So I put a plastic blade head on the 18v Ryobi. Wow, it grabs vines much less, is much more likely to cut them then grab them.

I prefer motorless tools where possible, so thanks lazygardens and Natures_Nature. I am trying to strike the balance between getting control of bad invasive vines and avoiding toxins. For that matter I am also concerned about my effect on the birds, lizards, bees, spiders, etc. I prefer slower smaller tools that give the creepy crawlies time to get out of the way!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 5:47PM
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pnbrown

Don't try to use one of those old scythes that are at every antique shop, you'll never get those old pitted edges sharp enough, plus they are grass blades - useless for brush.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:40PM
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