Weed Whacking – Do It Yourself

Until we moved to the California Central Coast about 6 years ago, I knew what a weed whacker was but had never used one. Since then I have gone from a novice to an expert or at least a skilled amateur.

Weed Whacking in Our Yard

Our property is a little more than a ½ acre, on a hill, in a Monterey Pine forest. We have no turf grass and very few irrigated plants.

During the short wet season, a multitude of wild grasses spring up and often grow to 4 feet tall or more. Many people would call the plants that appear weeds and some actually are. Thanks to a previous owner, daffodils and the occasional iris pop up in seemingly random locations.

In our County, homeowners and lot owners are required to clear their property of dried grass and brush each year.

Author's Yard Partially Weed Whacked (Right Side)Weed whacking in our yard entails trekking up and down through dry vegetation that is anywhere from 2 to 6 feet tall, avoiding vole and other critter holes, trying not to trip over dead tree limbs or the extension cord, all while wielding a machine that weighs over 6 pounds with a very fast spinning cutting device on the end of it.

I am more of a finesse weed whacker than a fast one. When I see a tree or native plant sprout, I stop, hand weed around it, and then continue. Weed whacking sessions usually last a few hours and are spread out over several weeks.

Weed Whacking Equipment

The odds of achieving good results are improved by selecting the right equipment for the job that fits the user. It is a good idea to read and follow the instructions on how to safely operate the equipment and maintain it good working order.

  • Author's Weed Whacking Equipment (weed whackers, extra line, extension cords, boots, gloves, sunglasses, dust mask, ear plugs, plastic tub, tongs, shovel)Electric Weed Whacker – for my first weed whacker, I chose a Black & Decker GH1000 Grass Hog electric model. It is light enough for me to carry and maneuver and powerful enough to cut through the tall and thick grass. My weed whackers run on renewable energy via our rooftop solar panels.
  • Extension Cords – two 100’ extension cords plugged together reach every place that needs to be weed whacked in our yard.
  • Shovel – for digging out thistles and other invasive plants.
  • Plastic Tub – a large party beverage tub with handles and a sturdy pair of kitchen tongs work well for picking up branches, pine cones, and other items one would not want to hit with a weed whacker.
  • Cordless Weed Whacker – a couple years ago, I added a cordless Black & Decker NST2118 Grass Hog with an adjustable handle to my equipment. It makes small jobs fast and easy, like clearing a path to our composters or bird bath.

Weed Whacking Clothing and Protective Gear

Wearing proper clothing and protective gear is important for comfort and safety while weed whacking. I always wear sunscreen.

  • Long Pants and Long-Sleeved Shirt – heavy duty materials provide protection from flying debris and prickly plants.
  • Socks – thick socks that wick away moisture keep feet cool, I like Thorlos.
  • Boots – a few years ago I bought a pair of Kamik Heidi rain boots to wear during the wet season and found they are good for weed whacking too. They are bullet proof.
  • Hat – keeps debris out of my hair and provides shade.
  • Protective Eyewear – I wear my prescription sunglasses.
  • Ear Protection – 3M foam ear plugs reduce noise and can be reused.
  • Dust Mask – a 3M dust mask with a valved respirator works well and can be reused.
  • Gloves – West Country Gloves rose pruning gauntlets that come up to the elbow make great gloves for weed whacking through tall grass and prickly plants.

Do It Yourself

Author's Yard After Weed Whacking (note the small trees and hilly terrain)I like weed whacking. It is great exercise and I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I feel when I look at our yard and know I did the work myself. I have learned new skills, like how to rewind the spool using bulk line and how to wind up an extension cord so it does not take 20 minutes to unravel it next time.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

2 thoughts on “Weed Whacking – Do It Yourself”

  1. After reading this blog, I would say you are a serious, well prepared, careful weed wacker. You showed the equipment you use and as you were describing the protective clothing you wear while “wacking”, I was reminded of getting dressed to go out in the snow. Fun to see the before and after photos.

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