The right tool for the right job and all that…

Probably one of the most useful tools, in fact an indispensable tool, for how we are maintaining much of the house lot: i.e. moderately open mature woods with certain types of underbrush/ground cover, is our trimmer. 

Our landscape is actually not in equilibrium, it is always trying to fill in with brush and saplings.  Because we do not have a particularly severe deer problem here (thank you, George!) and I don’t think the fire department would approve of an annual burn (the other way to have an open understory) it has to be cut.  But because we don’t want an entirely open understory, but rather one filled with certain plants only, it is a matter of selective editing.  I cut the area once a year, at the most, and have to go around volunteers we want to encourage, cut the innumerable Norway maple seedlings, excess goldenrod, briar, wood aster (in the right place I want them, but not every where), etc. I need a tool, in other words, that can go through something an inch plus in diameter without slowingg, but has the accuracy to come within centimeters of a baby holly, dogwood, or viburnum. It is over five acres, so doing it by hand…not happening! I do it in the fall because the spring plants/ferns can tolerated being walked all over at this point.  If I squish some aster or goldernrod it isn’t a problem.  If I do it too late though, all the leaves are off the babies and I can’t tell a Norway maple from a Sugar maple from an oak.

The answer is a Stihl FS130 professional trimmer, with the brush knife essentially permanently attached.  The brush knife is the rather nasty thing that resembles an oversize three pointed star.  (The whippy little string head is a useless gadget as far as I am concerned).

(yes, I am pretty good at the memory game, I know where almost all the babies are!)