Linda Benedict | 4/22/2005 12:41:55 AM
Maintaining the edges of beds in the landscape is easier than it used to be, says Dick Parish, an engineer at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station.
"For many years, the same mechanical edgers used for edging lawns along sidewalks and driveways were used to edge landscape beds," Parish says.
While these lawn edgers make a straight cut and do an excellent job of edging grass along a walk or driveway, they’re not the best choice for landscape beds.
"Some companies now offer landscape bedshapers designed specifically to lay out and maintain landscape beds," Parish says. "These machines are generally heavier, more powerful and more versatile than turf edgers."
Parish says landscape bedshapers typically provide a choice of several cutting wheels. Bed opening blades are relatively wide and are used for laying out new beds.
"The opening blades are typically aggressive, multi-fingered and carbide-tipped," Parish says. "They run straight with the axis perpendicular to the direction of travel. They leave a furrow that is straight-sided on the outside but tapered toward the bed. The soil and plant material removed from the furrow is thrown onto the bed."
Different blades can be used to maintain existing beds. These bed-maintenance blades are notched, concave disk blades and operate at an angle to increase width and throw.
"They basically clean out the furrow left by the opening blade and remove any vegetation that has grown into the furrow as well as any soil or mulch that has washed in," Parish says. "The material that’s removed is thrown up onto the bed."
The engineer says some bedshapers may also include trenching blades, which can be used to dig narrow trenches for irrigation lines, other pipe or underground wiring. Some models also offer a conventional lawn-edging blade for use along sidewalks and driveways.
"The cutting blades on these machines are aggressive and can be dangerous," Parish says. He warns that if you use one, you should always keep the shields in place to reduce problems from thrown objects and to protect your feet.
"Keep your hands and feet away from the machine," he advises. "Wear safety glasses or goggles and never operate when any bystanders are in the area. And be careful not to hit buried pipes or electric lines."
Parish says a landscape bedshaper can be a useful grounds maintenance tool.
"They allow you to lay out new beds with a sharp, neat edge and then maintain those beds easily," he says. "They’re better adapted to landscape beds than are conventional lawn edgers."
For related information on landscape topics, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office. In addition, look for Gardening and Get It Growing links in the Feature section of the LSU AgCenter Web site: www.lsuagcenter.com.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
On the Internet: www.louisianalawnandgarden.org
Contact: Dick Parish at (985) 543-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or email@example.com