Your Guide to Buying a Petrol Hedge Trimmer

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Your Guide to Buying a Petrol Hedge Trimmer

A hedge trimmer is specifically designed to aid in the neat and efficient pruning of hedges, shrubs, and abundant foliage. Also known as hedge cutters, trimmers are available with three power sources, all of which have advantages and disadvantages:

Type

Pros

Cons

Cordless (rechargeable battery)

Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.

Limited battery power.

Electric (mains-powered)

Light, easy to manoeuvre with a steady power source.

Use is limited by the length of the cord.

Petrol

Suitable for larger areas and more overgrown foliage.

Weighty and requires regular maintenance and refuelling.

Blade Size

Hedge trimmers use blades which move rapidly in a sawing action. Single action hedge trimmers use one blade and then tear the growth; double action hedge trimmers use two blades to slice the growth, naturally providing a cleaner edge. The blade width, also known as tooth spacing, indicates the interval separating the blade teeth and thus the maximum thickness of the hedge branches that can be effectively pruned. For example, a 20mm blade will be able to cut a maximum hedge branch thickness of 20mm. The measurement of the blade, from housing to tip, will determine how fast the hedge is cut so the basic rule is that the bigger and denser the hedge, the longer the blade required. The right size of blade can then be calculated by visually estimating the size of the hedge in question:

Size

Measurement

Small hedges

46cm or less

Medium hedges

47cm to 56cm

Large hedges

57cm or longer

Engine Size

Every hedge trimmer should be assessed by analysing the battery amperage or engine size in relation to the task planned. To aid this analysis, manufacturers rate the units according to the specific properties of the power sources:

Type

Description

Cordless

Classified by amperage (amp) or volts (v), both of which delineate the electrical power produced. That is to say, battery-driven hedge trimmers with a larger listed amp or volts, work faster.

Electric

As the power originates from an electrical source, corded trimmers are also graded by their amps or volts. Again, the trimmers with the bigger numbers are more powerful and, therefore, cut faster and more efficiently.

Petrol

Petrol powered trimmers are classified by CCs, which are commensurate to the engine power available. The bigger the number, the mightier the trimmer’s power.

How to Trim a Hedge

Very overgrown hedges will obviously require drastic pruning to bring them back to an attractive and healthy condition, whereas well established hedges will only need to be trimmed twice a year. Initially they should be pruned during the spring when new growth is beginning to be seen, and then again during the summer months to maintain the preferred shape.

Check-list

Description

Mark out the desired height of the finished hedge with strings and poles.

Cutting a uniform shape will be difficult to complete by eye alone. Using markers will ensure that the finish is even.

Start at the top.

Cut the top of the hedge to the height of the guide line, if necessary setting up a guide line that spans the top of the hedge in order to keep all pruning absolutely plumb. Make sure this area is satisfactorily completed before moving the guide lines and working down towards the ground in sections.

Cut off all dead or visibly damaged twigs and branches, cutting as close to the main stalk as possible.

This will permit light and sunshine to reach the inner branches, prevent the spread of disease, and will encourage new growth from the middle and bottom of the plant.

Tip-prune all new growth to encourage branching.

Cutting each branch at a 45 degree angle ensures that water does not gather in the raw end. Tip-pruning stimulates growth and thickens the foliage. It also increases flower production, improves shape, and plant health.

Remove all debris.

Brush off all offcuts from the top of the hedge, and lightly clear from the sides as any detritus will rot into the bushes and can cause damage to the roots and health of the plant, as well as causing disease and pest infestation.

Use fertiliser after pruning.

Feed the roots of the hedge with specialist plant food to encourage growth and health. Due to the dense nature of hedgerows the roots compete for sustenance so applying a fertiliser designed for hedges, then adding a thick layer of mulch, will help to sustain the hedge and, again, encourage growth.

Although debris should always be brushed away and disposed of, taking cuttings from the tip-pruning means that any gaps can be filled with new growth, immediately as they appear.

Power Sources

Determine the best power source for the work to be done.

Cordless

Fitted with a rechargeable battery, cordless hedge trimmers are not restricted by proximity to a power socket, although their power storage will be limited. Electric Mains powered hedge trimmers have no power limitation, although distance and range of usage will be restricted to the length of the cable attached.

Petrol

Petrol hedge trimmers not curbed by cable length or battery size, and are categorised by ‘stroke’; two stroke engines fire once every revolution, whereas four stroke engines fire once every other revolution:

2 Stroke

4 Stroke

A simple construction with no valves.

Due to a dedicated lubrication system, a 4 stroke unit is arguably longer lasting.

More lightweight.

More fuel efficient.

Double the movements (or strokes) per revolution equates to double the potential power provision.

Less smoke, noise, and pollution during use.

Maintenance

In order to ensure safe and effective usage, and a timely awareness of the necessity for any repairs, regular visual checks of the hedge trimmer are required.

Maintenance

Description

Oil the blades.

Foliage and debris can stick to dry blades causing jamming and reducing efficiency. Consult the manufacturer’s instruction manual for the recommended type of oil and method of application as not all machines can be treated in the same way.

Inspect the air filter.

Remove the cover and check that the filter has no impediment to air flow. If it is dirty or clogged, clean or replace it.

Check all fittings and housing connectors.

Inspect all fasteners to ensure they are in place and tightened securely and that the housing itself is undamaged.

Ensure that the fuel reservoir is full before use.

Check the fuel tank for leaks and ensure that the fuel is compliant with any manufacturer’s recommendations.

Safety

No matter the scope of the task planned, when using any powerful equipment or engine propelled gadgets, all actions should be carefully planned. There should always be an anticipation of potential injury, and, therefore, protective gear should be worn and safety precautions observed:

Safety Measures

Description

Consider the conditions

Do not use a hedge trimmer in wet weather. The damp will endanger the user, and wet leaves, and debris underfoot will make the user’s stance unstable.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions

Each appliance will have a set of recommendations to be adhered to. Ignoring these instructions will endanger the user and put the efficiency and safety of the machine’s operation in question.

Clear the area

Ensure that children, animals and all obstructions are removed from the site of operation before starting work.

Safety goggles

Safety goggles are highly recommended in order that flying debris does not injure or obscure the operator’s vision.

Footwear

In the same way that debris may affect vision, falling foliage or a dropped unit may injure the operator. Suitable, firm grip, and protective footwear should be worn before commencing pruning.

Usage

If using a corded appliance, make sure that all excess cabling is behind the operator and away from the blades. If a petrol unit is to be used, follow the maintenance check list before turning it on.

Freeing jams

Before attempting to free jammed foliage, make sure that the trimmer is switched off and the blades have stopped moving.

How to Buy Petrol Hedge Trimmers on eBay

Although the search bar shown at the top of every eBay page is always available for a specialised search, for a broader range of options go to the eBay homepage, then click on the All Categories tab, then select the link for Home & Garden. Click on the dedicated Garden tab, followed by Power Tools & Equipment from the resulting drop down menu. Hedge Trimmers will then appear in the left hand menu. A further filter will become available, so click on Petrol and the full range of item listings will then become visible.

Conclusion

Also known as hedge cutters, hedge trimmers are available with a rechargeable battery, a fixed cable or an internal combustion engine. Tooth spacing, or blade width, is an indication of the interval between the blade’s teeth and the corresponding density of wood that can be cut. Hedges should be trimmed twice yearly, using poles and string to set up guide lines and aid uniformity, and all resultant offcuts should be swept off the hedge and disposed of. In order to stimulate growth, fertiliser and mulch should be applied after any pruning. Regular maintenance should be undertaken and protective gear worn to ensure safe operation.

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