Selection and Use of a Landscape Bedshaper

Richard L. Parish  |  2/10/2005 1:23:55 AM

Figure 1. Landscape bedshaper.

Figure 2. Landscape bedshaper used to open new bed.

Figure 3. Landscape bedshaper used to maintain an existing bed .

Maintaining the edges of beds in the landscape is easier than it used to be. For many years, the same mechanical edgers used for edging turf along sidewalks and driveways were used to edge landscape beds.

These turf edgers make a straight cut. They can do an excellent job of edging turf along a walk or driveway, but are not optimum for landscape beds. Some companies now offer landscape bedshapers (Figure 1) designed specifically to lay out and maintain landscape beds. These machines are generally heavier, more powerful and more versatile than turf edgers.

Opening New Beds
Landscape bedshapers typically have several cutting wheels available. Bed opening blades (Figure 2) are relatively wide and are used for laying out new beds. The opening blades are typically aggressive, multi-fingered and carbide-tipped. They are run straight (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 are thrown onto the bed.

Maintaining Existing Beds
Different blades are used to maintain existing beds (Figure 3). Bed maintenance blades are notched concave disk blades and are run 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. Material removed is thrown up onto the bed.

Other Options
Trenching blades may also be available. These can be used to dig narrow trenches for irrigation lines, other pipe or wiring. Some models also offer a conventional turf edging blade to use along sidewalks and driveways.

Safe Use
The cutting blades on these machines are aggressive and can be dangerous. Always keep shields in place to reduce problems from thrown objects and to protect your feet. Keep hands and feet away from the machine. Wear safety glasses or goggles, and never operate when bystanders are in the area. Be careful not to hit buried pipes or electric lines.

In summary, landscape bedshapers are a useful grounds maintenance tool. They allow you to lay out new beds with a sharp, neat edge and then maintain those beds easily. They are better adapted to landscape beds than are conventional turf edgers.

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