How to Trim With a Weed Trimmer


Weed trimmers, also known as string trimmers, weed eaters and weed whips, are invaluable tools for putting the finishing touches on your freshly-mown yard. Perfect for reaching small, hard-to-get areas, and trimming tightly up against edging, foundations, fences and more, weed trimmers make the job easier and more professional-looking. Using a weed trimmer takes some skill. Understanding where the end of the string is in relation to what you're trimming is crucial. Practice using your weed trimmer in an inconspicuous area of your yard until you are comfortable with the machine.

Step 1

Add the proper gas/oil mix to your weed trimmer. Add more line to the spool if necessary.

Step 2

Wear long pants, shoes, eye protection and ear protection.

Step 3

Start the weed trimmer, and run it at full speed while slowly moving the head toward a solid surface such as a house foundation. When the line begins to hit the foundation, observe the distance between the weed trimmer head and the foundation. This is the ideal distance for trimming. Getting too close to the foundation, or whatever you're trimming, bogs the engine down. Staying too far away from whatever you're trimming causes ineffective trimming.

Step 4

Keep the weed trimmer head parallel to the ground as you trim. Angling the head causes excessive trimming in one area, resulting in bald spots.

Step 5

Sweep the weed trimmer back and forth slowly, advancing on the weeds or grass just a few inches at a time.

Step 6

Trim only the top 3 inches of excessively long grass, and then trim the next 3 inches, and so on, until the desired height is reached.

Step 7

Notice when effective trimming is no longer occurring. Activate the bump feed mechanism on your trimmer by accelerating and rapidly bumping the bump knob on the ground. Always maintain approximately 6 inches of line on your trimmer. Too much line stresses the clutch, and makes trimming cumbersome. Too little line results in ineffective trimming.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never operate a weed trimmer while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refrain from using a weed trimmer when people are nearby. Never use a weed trimmer without proper footwear, eye protection and ear protection.

Things You'll Need

  • Weed trimmer line
  • Proper gas/oil mix
  • Eye protection
  • Ear protection
  • Harness


  • Home and Garden Publications: String Trimmers and How to Use Them
  • This Old House: Choosing and Using String Trimmers
Keywords: trim with a weed trimmer, weedeaters, using a weed trimmer

About this Author

Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for over 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for "BIKE," "USA Today" and "Dirt Rag," newspaper articles for "Florida Today" and short stories published in "Glimmer Train" and "Lullwater Review," among others. She has a master's degree in education and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.