How to use a Fiskars Stand-Up Weeder

The Fiskars Stand-Up Weeder makes weeding a pleasure instead of a chore. Much better for your back than constantly bending down and standing up with traditional weeding tools, it is quite straightforward to operate. Here are a few tips from Fiskars to help you get started.

Video by Fiskars

3 claw 2

In the image above, you can see the 3 stainless steel claws that grab the weed by the root, the foot platform used to force the claws down to the root of the weed, and the ejector handle used to eject the weed into a garden bag.

Place the weeder over the centre of the weed:

stand up 1

Stand on the foot platform, to force the blades into the ground:

stand up 2

Pull the handle forward, to engage the blades:

stand up 2

Pull the weed out, and push the ejector handle to release the weed into a garden bag:

stand up 4
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And you’re done! No need for pesticides, or back-breaking labor. Have a look at our reviews of garden weeders for more information.

How to prepare for your first hike

Here are a few hints and tips to help you prepare for your first hike. A little preparation beforehand can help make your hike more enjoyable, relaxing and safe.

(Video by Expert Village)

Before setting out on your first day hike, there are some essential items to pack, and actions to take:

1. Water bottle

camelbak water bottle

According to the National Park Service, you need to drink ½ to 1 quart of fluids every hour that you are hiking in the heat. Have a look at the reviews and prices of Amazon.com's range of water bottles.

2. First Aid Kit

first aid kit1

You should take a first aid kit on any hike. Some items will be used regularly (e.g. band-aids for blisters), while other items will be rarely used but essential in an emergency. Idaho State University has a list of recommended items for a lightweight first aid kit.

3. Survival Kit

survival kit

While a first aid kit is there to help with medical issues, if you are stranded or lost you will need a survival kit to help keep safe until help arrives. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has put together an excellent guide (pdf) to help you choose or assemble a survival kit.

4. Backpack

daypack

You'll need something to put all this gear in, as well as carry any other food, drinks, cellphone, photography gear or anything else you choose to take with you. Have a look at the reviews and prices of Amazon.com's range of hiking daypacks.

Essential things to do

One of the most important things to do is let somebody know where you're going, when you're leaving, and when you expect to be back. That way, if you do meet with any problems when you're out there, help will be on its way as soon as possible.

You should take a cellphone with you (even if you're trying to get away from it all and leave technology behind!): it may not work where you're going, but it could make all the difference if you do have to contact emergency services).

Now get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!​

The Ultimate Hedge Trimmer Buying Guide

Keeping your hedges and bushes neatly trimmed is no longer a chore. The days of manually trimming with shears are long gone. With the correct hedge trimmer, all your trimming jobs will be done quickly, easily and safely, leaving you time to enjoy a beautiful garden, without aching arms.

Generally, the longer the blade, the faster your trimming job will be, However, longer blades are more expensive to buy, and heavier in operation. This guide will help you choose the perfect hedge trimmer for your requirements.

Categories

Electric

Corded hedge trimmer

The most cost-effective choice, electric hedge trimmers are light-weight and quiet. They don't have the limited run time between chargers that cordless trimmers suffer from. As well as being the least expensive type of trimmer to buy, there shouldn't be any expensive ongoing maintenance.

With no fuel to mix and no gasoline engine to service, an electric hedge trimmer will start with push of a button, even after being stored all winter.

The power and performance of a modern electric trimmer may surprise you. While gasoline is still the power unit of choice for commercial users, modern electric trimmers can be almost as powerful.

Electric hedge trimmers are normally lighter than cordless or gasoline trimmers of equal performance. They are less noisy than gasoline trimmers, and don't come with the noxious exhaust fumes of the gasoline type.

The main drawback is that you can't use an electric trimmer too far from an electrical outlet - 100 feet away is the commonly-accepted limit. You should never use multiple extension leads to make up the distance. If you have an older home with few outdoor outlets, or a large yard, bear this in mind.

If you have a small yard that needs only an occasional trim, an electric model may be ideal. Make sure you use a GFCI power outlet in case you accidentally cut through the cord.

PROS

  • Cost effective
  • Light weight
  • Quiet
  • Environmentally friendly

CONS

  • Needs mains power
  • Risk of cutting power lead
  • Less powerful than gas

Cordless

Makita XHU02Z

Modern cordless hedge trimmers are robust, quiet, and almost vibration-free. A cordless trimmer is more convenient than the corded type - you won't have to worry about straying too far away from the power outlet, or cutting through the power cord. Untangling power cords will be a thing of the past.

Like a corded trimmer, a cordless hedge trimmer will start immediately, even if it hasn't been used for a while. If you live in an area with strict noise or emission regulations, a cordless hedge trimmer may be ideal for you.

Older or cheaper models will typically come with a 14V or 18V battery. More powerful cordless trimmers with 36V or 40V batteries are becoming competitive with gasoline hedge trimmers.

You can expect to get around 20 minutes' use before recharging the battery, though some models will keep going for up to an hour. It may take as little as 60 minutes or as much as 3-4 hours to recharge the battery. This depends on the type of charger the manufacturer supplies with the trimmer. An extra battery can allow you to work for an entire day, using one battery while the other is charging.

Some manufacturers use the same battery and charger across their range of garden tools. This may be a factor if you already have a battery and charger, or are planning to buy more garden tools from one manufacturer.

Some reviews show that cordless hedge trimmer owners find their batteries to be unreliable. Make sure you buy a model with a decent warranty, and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for battery storage and charging. You may need to consider the cost of replacing the battery when calculating how much the hedge trimmer will cost to use in the long run.

You'll need to plan ahead when you want to use it, and make sure you have charged the battery.

PROS

  • Can be used anywhere
  • Emission-free
  • Cheaper than gasoline
  • No power cord
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Can be costly
  • Less powerful than gas
  • May require a 2nd battery
  • Batteries may be unreliable

Gasoline

Husqvarna gas hedge trimmer

Gas hedge trimmers are the most powerful category, and are suitable for trimming jobs of all sizes. A gas trimmer will cut through thicker branches faster than any other type. Unlike electric models, there is no extension cord to get tangled or cut, and no battery to recharge. Many commercial operators still use gas trimmers for these reasons.

However, there are several disadvantages to using a gas trimmer. They tend to be heavier, noisier, and generally less comfortable to operate. The gas engine causes greater vibration than an electric motor, and the exhaust emissions cannot be avoided.

Some cheaper and older gas trimmers use 2 stroke engines, which means you have to mix fuel and oil in the correct quantities for the device to function. Newer models have 4 stroke engines, which, just like your car, only require gas and an occasional check of the oil level.

All gasoline hedge trimmers will require more maintenance than any electric model.

PROS

  • Fastest
  • Most powerful
  • Can be used anywhere
  • Suitable for large areas
  • No power cord

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Noisy
  • Emissions
  • Vibration
  • More maintenance
  • Engine starting can be hard

Long-reach

Long-reach hedge trimmers are used to cut high hedges without the need for a stepladder or scaffolding. As your feet stay firmly on the ground, this is a safer option if your hedges are not all within easy reach. You can typically cut hedges up to 12 feet high using a long-reach hedge trimmer.

Long-reach trimmers are available with corded or cordless electric motors and gasoline engines.

Most long-reach trimmers will have an extendable shaft, so you can set the height to a comfortable level. A rotating head that can cut either vertically or horizontally is even more useful with a long-reach trimmer.

Be aware of the weight before you buy a long-reach trimmer – excess weight will cause fatigue sooner than it would with a conventional trimmer, as all the weight is concentrated at the end of the shaft.

Generally they are harder to maneuver than conventional trimmers, and it’s not always possible to see what you are cutting. If the hedge is too high or wide, it may be better to invest in a ladder platform and a conventional hedge trimmer.

Some long-reach trimmers are sold as a multi tool (e.g. the Black + Decker GSP401)​. This lets you use one tool for several different purposes.

PROS

  • Perfect for high hedges
  • Safer than using a ladder

CONS

  • Can be tiring to use
  • Lack of visibility

Hedge type

The best hedge trimmer for you will depend mainly on the size and extent of hedges and shrubs in your yard.​

Small or short

Elephant

You may be able to get away without a powered trimmer altogether if you have a very small amount of trimming to do. Alternatively, you could consider a mini trimmer, or a convertible grass shear / mini trimmer such as the Sun Joe HJ602C (read our review here).

If you only have a small amount of trimming and it’s not too far from an outdoor power outlet, a small electric hedge trimmer may be your best bet.

Large or long

Hedge

If you have a bigger trimming job, you should consider a trimmer with a longer blade – usually the longer the blade, the quicker the job, as a longer blade will cut more with one movement by the operator than a shorter blade.

If your job extends too far from an outdoor power outlet (generally about 100 feet), you will need to consider either a cordless or gas hedge trimmer. Pros and cons of each type are listed above.

Generally, if your hedges or shrubs are so extensive that they would take over an hour to cut, you'll need to either consider a gasoline hedge trimmer, or a cordless trimmer with at least 1 extra battery, so you can keep 1 battery on charge until the other runs out.

High hedges

Tall hedge

If your hedge is over about 5 feet, consider​ an extendable hedge trimmer - it's unsafe to use a hedge trimmer on a stepladder. Alternatively, consider using a regular hedge trimmer with a scaffold platform.

Features

Blade

In general, a longer blade will ​complete your trimming job faster. However, a longer blade also implies more weight & more fatigue for you, so the best length for your needs is a trade-off. Also, a longer blade can be unwieldy if you have a small hedge or a complex shape to cut.

Most hedge trimmers on the market today have double-sided blades - this makes the trimmer more versatile, and better for intricate work such as shaping, but is slightly heavier than a single-sided blade. If all the teeth are on one side of the blade, the blade can be longer for the same total weight, and a longer blade can do more cutting in a single sweep.

​You will also need to consider the tooth spacing - theoretically, a hedge trimmer can cut any branch that will fit between its teeth, though in practice you will need one of the more powerful trimmers to cut through thick, old-growth branches. Hedge trimmers with a 3/4" gap between teeth are now common.

​Weight

Using a hedge trimmer can cause fatigue, especially if you have a long trimming job, or are cutting at height. The heavier the trimmer, the faster it will tire you out, so be aware of the weight before you decide which model to buy.

Bear in mind it may be worth opting for a slightly heavier model if it has enough power to get your trimming job done faster than a slightly lighter but less powerful trimmer.​

Comfort

Vibration, handles and balance are the 3 main factors affecting operator comfort. You should look for a trimmer that has two handles, preferably with multiple power switches to allow you to use the trimmer in different orientations.

Dual-action blades (not to be confused with double-sided blades) cause less vibration than their single-action equivalents, but they are slightly heavier and generally more expensive than a single-action trimmer. Basically a single-action blade has 1 moving blade and 1 stationary blade, and a dual-action blade actually comprises 2 moving blades cutting against each other in opposite directions.

Gasoline hedge trimmers will always cause more vibration than either corded or cordless electric trimmers.

Noise

​A typical electric or cordless hedge trimmer will produce noise at around 90dBA (similar to a motorbike 25 feet away), whereas a typical gasoline hedge trimmer will be in the 97 to 103dBA region (similar to a jet flying overhead at 1000 feet, and around double the noise level of an electric trimmer).

Hearing protection is advised with all types, but the noise of the gasoline trimmer will cause fatigue sooner, not to mention upsetting the neighbors and potentially falling foul of local noise regulations.

Rotating Head

Many hedge trimmers are now available with a rotating head, which allows you to hold the trimmer in its normal position while cutting either horizontally or vertically.​ This reduces fatigue and contributes to safety.

​Hedge Clipping Collector

It is possible to buy a hedge trimmer with an attachable tray, which collects clippings for you to tip out, rather than leaving them all over your yard (or your neighbor's yard)​

Batteries

The most common battery technology currently available is Li-ion. This type of battery can store more energy in a smaller and lighter package than earlier rechargeable battery types – it’s the same type of battery used in laptops, mobile phones and Tesla electric cars.

Li-ion batteries don’t suffer from the “memory effect” of older battery technologies. However, there are some issues with performance and longevity. A Li-ion battery can be permanently damaged if it is allowed to discharge below a certain level, and it will last for more charging / discharging cycles if it is not overcharged. The chargers supplied with the batteries are sophisticated devices, meant to deal with these challenges.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for battery charging and storage for the best results, and never store Li-ion batteries for long periods fully discharged.

Check both the battery life between charges, and the time to recharge, before you decide which trimmer to buy. If the battery will not last long enough for you to complete your trimming job you may need to buy a second battery, or consider another trimmer with longer battery life.​

Warranty​

A two year warranty is fairly typical for hedge trimmers. Be aware that residential hedge trimmers are not built for commercial or continuous use, and this type of use will invalidate the warranty.​

Safety features

Hand Guard

Many trimmers now come fitted with a hand guard, to protect the operator from flying debris being flung back from the blades.​

Dual Switch

To reduce the chance of accidental starting, and increase safety, look for a trimmer which requires both hands to press a button before starting.​

Automatic Brake

Some trimmers come with a built-in brake, which will stop the blades​ almost instantly once the trimmer is turned off, reducing the chance of accident or injury.

Personal Protective Equipment

Ear, eye and hand protection is a must when using a hedge trimmer. Earplugs are an inexpensive way to protect your hearing. Wear safety glasses or goggles, and a decent pair of gloves. Non-slip footwear is also essential.​

Conclusion

Consider the factors above before you decide which trimmer to buy. For more information on the most popular cordless hedge trimmers available today, check out our reviews.​

Hawaii Garden Websites

A list of links to gardens open to the public, arboreta (botanical gardens dedicated to trees), community gardens, garden clubs, state associations, garden websites, gardening help and other useful government websites in Hawaii. If there's a link that should be here, or you see anything that needs corrected, let us know - contact details are at the bottom of the page.

Arboreta and Gardens

Captain Cook

Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden
82-6188 Mamalahoa Hwy., Captain Cook, HI 96704
Traditional Native Hawaiian Kona Field System at the Bishop Museum. Admission.

Honolulu

Contemporary Museum
2411 Makiki Heights Drive , Honolulu, HI 96822
Museum and gardens. Admission.

Harold L. Lyon Arboretum
3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI 96822
At the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Admission.

Honolulu Botanical Gardens
50 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu, HI, Honolulu, HI 96817
The five gardens are located in different ecological settings around the island of Oahu. Admission free.

Kalaheo

National Tropical Botanical Garden
National Headquarters, 3530 Papalina Road, Kalaheo, HI, Kalaheo, HI 96741
Includes four gardens and three preserves in Hawaii and one in south Florida.

Kaneohe

Senator Fong's Plantation & Gardens
47-285 Pulama Road, Kaneohe, HI 96744
"A 725 acre Garden owned by former US Senator Hiram Fong." Admission.

Papaikou

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
Papaikou, HI 96781
Contains 2,000 species of tropical plants in a non-profit nature preserve.

Wahiawa

Dole Plantation
64-1550 Kamehameha Highway, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Unique Pineapple Garden Maze (the world's largest) and 8 specialty gardens. Admission.

Garden Clubs

Honolulu: Honolulu Rose Society

Gardening Help

Extension and Outreach Services

Other Useful Sites

America's Byways - HI

Division of State Parks

Georgia Garden Websites

A list of links to gardens open to the public, arboreta (botanical gardens dedicated to trees), community gardens, garden clubs, state associations, garden websites, gardening help and other useful government websites in Georgia. If there's a link that should be here, or you see anything that needs corrected, let us know - contact details are at the bottom of the page.

Arboreta and Gardens

Athens

Founders Memorial Garden
609 Caldwell Hall, Athens, GA 30602
"In 1936, The Garden Club of Georgia began a fund to create a living memorial to the twelve founders of the Ladies' Garden Club of Athens, the first garden club in America, organized in 1891."

State Botanical Garden of Georgia
University of Georgia, 2450 S. Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA 30605

Atlanta

Atlanta Botanical Garden
1345 Piedmont Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Augusta

Georgia Golf Hall of Fame's Botanical Gardens
1 Eleven Street, Augusta, GA 30901
In keeping with the golf theme, our larger than-life-size size bronze sculptures honoring golf's greatest players are displayed throughout the gardens.

LaGrange

Hills & Dales Estate
1916 Hills and Dales Drive, LaGrange, GA 30241
Historic house and gardens. Admission.

Milledgeville

Lockerly Arboretum
1534 Irwinton Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061

Mt. Berry

Oak Hill and The Martha Berry Museum
Mt. Berry, GA 30149
Historica house and gardens. Admission.

Pine Mountain

Callaway Gardens
Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Statesboro

Georgia Southern Botanical Garden
1505 Bland Avenue, Statesboro, GA 30460
Open daily from 9 a.m. to dusk - free

Community Gardens

Atlanta: Atlanta Community Food Bank Community Gardening Program

Garden Clubs

Gilmer Garden Club of Ellijay

Cartersville Garden Club

Columbus Council of Garden Clubs

Garden Club of Georgia

Augusta: Augusta Rose Society

Fayetteville: South Metro Rose Society

Gwinnett: Greater Gwinnett Rose Society

State Associations

Dahlia Society of Georgia

Georgia Native Plant Society

Georgia Perennial Plant Association

Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance

Gardening Help

Georgia Cooperative Extension Service

Coweta County Master Gardeners

Georgia Master Gardeners

Gwinnett County Master Gardeners

Other Useful Sites

America's Byways - GA

Division of State Parks & Historic Sites

Georgia Tourism