The lawn edger has been a popular yard tool for homeowners for decades. Originally a metal blade mounted on the end of a long wooden pole, the edger has evolved to a more sophisticated, easy-to-use mechanical device. Present-day edgers have gas engines and are more convenient and more powerful. Electric edgers get the job done, too, requiring nothing but an extension cord. And for those of you wishing to expend as little effort as possible, some edgers have three or four wheels. All you need to do is push and guide.
A lawn edger is used to cut grass back and away from edges of gardens, driveways, sidewalks and other areas where grass is not desired. It is useful in maintaining a border around beds where no other form of define edging exists.
The first gas engine lawn edger was introduced to the public in the 1940s. It was invented by Louis Faas Sr. under the employment of King o' Lawn, Inc. The edger employed a 1.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine.
Gas edgers typically have a two-stroke engine that drives the edger blade at high revolutions. These edgers can be very powerful, and are used both commercially and residentially. Electric edgers are not as powerful, but weigh less and are far quieter and better for the environment. They are ideal for homeowners. Some edgers have three or four wheels to aid in operation. Although they are cumbersome along curvy edges, they are quite effortless to use along straight edges.
Edgers are primarily used to keep areas free of grass runners, but they are also used in gardening for bed preparation. When used on the perimeter of a bed, the edger severs the grass around the bed thereby protecting the flowers or other plants from being overtaken. The edger is also used in sod removal. The user cuts 12-inch x 12-inch squares of grass with the edger, then uses a shovel to pry the grass square free.
Edgers have duties that go beyond keeping grass off walkways. They are also a great help in breaking up the top layer of soil to prepare for planting. Running the edger blade through the top inch of soil in a crosshatch pattern tills the earth perfectly. Another task the edger does well is cutting back ground covers such as juniper, Mexican petunia and ivy.