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Help Your Lawn Live on the Edge by Edging and Trimming Properly

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering if there is a gremlin that tiptoes along the edge of your sidewalks and driveway in the middle of the night, scattering weed seeds along your lawn's perimeter? Don't waste time interrogating the garden gnomes: while the cause of your lawn's problem may not be obvious, there's no conspiracy going on.

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When Edging Becomes Abuse
Weeds along the edge of your lawn are usually the result of unintentional damage caused by you or your lawn service when edging or trimming. In particular, it is caused when string trimmers are turned sideways and used as edgers. Done properly this shouldn't damage your lawn, but it's almost never done properly. The problem is that when a trimmer's string makes contact with the ground, it tends to pull the trimmer head towards the lawn, chopping up the grass and underlying soil. The soil that gets kicked up creates greater opportunities for weed seed to germinate, and the regular beating the grass takes from the trimmer makes it easier for weeds to become established.

If you use a lawn service, insist that they use an edger, not a trimmer, to edge your lawn. If you cut your own grass and don't own an edger, use a straight-edge spade to cut a defined edge where your lawn meets the sidewalk or driveway at the beginning of the season, and redefine it every month or so. When trimming, hold the trimmer at an angle, and make sure that at the lower edge, the trimmer string is hitting the top edge of the sidewalk or driveway. This can protect the grass and keep dirt from getting kicked up.

About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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