How To Use a Weed Wacker Like a Pro

Here’s how to use a weed wacker like a professional landscaper. No matter if you call it string trimmer, weed wacker or a weed trimmer, the tips in this article will explain spin direction, trimming and edging plus a few extra tips and tricks to make using your weed wacker easier. Learn how to avoid scalping the grass, slicing off your favorite clematis, or scarring valuable trees and shrubs.

Is a Straight Shaft or a Curved Shaft String Trimmer Better

The main difference between a straight shaft and a curved shaft string trimmer is the mechanism involved that causes the head at the end of your weed wacker to spin. In both cases, a drive cable runs through the shaft that turns the cutting head. With a straight shaft weed wacker, the drive cable doesn’t need to bend to match the curvature of the shaft. Remember, the head is turning at very high RPMs and if the cable is turning when bent, this can cause the drive cable to deteriorate faster than a straight shaft weed wacker. As a bonus, we’ve found that using a straight shaft string trimmer is easier to control when you’re using it under smaller trees, around shrubs, and other hard to reach areas.

String Trimmer Rotation:

Does clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation matter when using a string trimmer? The answer depends on which way the debris goes when you’re cutting. The main thing to think about when you’re operating your weed wacker is which way debris will be going.
. Counter-clockwise: Great for right-handed weed wacker user operation. If debris ejects from the left side and cuts best from the right, the line spins counter clockwise. So keep your right side closer to the work as you move along a fence or curb. This way the weeds and grass you’re cutting will eject out of the cutting path instead of into it.
Edging_with_string_trimmer. Clockwise: Great for left-handed weed wacker user operation. If debris ejects from the right side and cuts best from the left, the line spins clockwise. So you’d keep your left side closer to the work.

Weed Wacker Operation 101

After you’ve determined which direction you want your weed wacker to turn, user the operator’s guide that came with it to learn how to properly turn it on. And always wear safety equipment including proper length pants, shoes that cover your toes, safety glasses and proper gloves.
Once your weed wacker is on, you don’t want to scalp the grass, so just hover the string trimmer over the grass and let it cut.
When using the string trimmer, always start by positioning the string trimmer a few inches above the grass level and slowly lower it to the desired length. This ensures an even, controlled cut.
Remember, the end of the strings is where the cutting power is.

Using Your String Trimmer to Trim, Edge, Taper & Scythe

When used properly, your string trimmer can be used for multiple jobs around the yard for tough to reach areas and for finish jobs.
. Trimming is best for cutting or trimming grass. Hold the string trimmer so the strings hit the grass at a slight (5-10 degree) angle. Move side to side.

. Edging is a great way to accentuate the borders of the lawn to make it look cleaner. To do this, hold the tool vertically to the ground (90-degree angle) and move along the edges to remove the top layers of turf.

. Tapering is cutting the edge of the grass at a 45-degree angle to blend the edge with the mowed height of the grass for a nice, clean look.

. Scything is handy when in tall grass or against an obstruction. Move the string trimmer in a “U” motion into and out of the work.

Additional Grass and Weed Trimmer Tips and Tricks:

• Always wear safety gear when operating your string trimmer.
• The tip of the string does the bulk of the cutting.
• Be aware of what’s around you. Flip the guard down to avoid damage to trees, plants, bushes, fences, sprinkler heads and decorative rocks or stones.
• Always have extra trimmer string/line on hand.
• The Mantis Cordless String Trimmer is a fast, easy way to do the grass trimming and edging.



  1. I’ve had a mantis string trimmer for several years. I appreciate your tips. I’ll try to utilize them when summer arrives.

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