Care and Maintenance of your Hedge Trimmer
A hedge trimmer is an essential part of the garden enthusiast’s equipment. A powerful piece of machinery, it is imperative that serious attention is given to its handling, use and treatment. Care and maintenance of your hedge trimmer is of paramount importance for the following reasons:
• Safety A hedge trimmer by definition is a potent piece of garden equipment. If it is not looked after in a proper manner, used in a correct and responsible manner, and looked after by following the guidelines set out by the manufacturer guidelines it could become very dangerous not just to the user but to people in the vicinity of its use.
• Durability Hedge trimmers are a sturdy piece of gardening equipment. If used appropriately, maintained before and after use, and stored in the correct way when not in use, there is no reason why it should last you many years. A well maintained hedge trimmer will always be an effective tool.
• Reliability As mentioned earlier you need to know that the equipment you are using is safe. If you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines as to how to maintain and care for your machine, you can feel safe in the knowledge that it will always be predictable in its behaviour. You can always expect the same high standards and reward from each job you do.
• Time saving in the long term By spending a small amount of time looking after your hedge trimmer each time you use it, you are in fact saving time. This small sacrifice certainly balances off the amount of time wasted having to take it in for repairs, trying to find reasons why it is not working properly and having to do a job slowly because it is malfunctioning.
• Financial gains in the long term Good maintenance and care is more likely to lead to a situation where you never need to take your hedge trimmer in for repair, replace parts that have ceased working or worse still, buy a completely new appliance. Looking after the hedge trimmer blades
It is important that you clean the blades after every use. When you are cutting branches and stems it is highly likely that sap will soon cover the length of the blade. If the sap is left it will solidify and prevent your blade from cutting effectively. There are one or two ways to deal with this. One way is to wash the blade with soap and water (always ensure the trimmer is completely unplugged before any maintenance or cleaning). This will normally do the trick but you must be sure you also dry off the blade thoroughly afterwards or it will be in danger of rusting. You can also use wd40 oil or a similar type lubricant.
Keeping the blades sharp
It is important the hedge trimmer blade is as sharp as when you bought it. A blunt blade will lead to extra work for yourself working with an ineffective tool or even damage to your plants. You can sharpen the blade yourself using a die grinder or a Dremel-type rotary tool(this should only be done if you feel safe using these kind of tools as it obviously has its dangers) or take it to a dealer approved by your manufacturer.
Upper and lower blades
For optimum performance you want the upper and lower blades to be as close together as possible. It is a good idea after every session to check if a gap has formed between them. If a gap exists between upper and lower blades, loosen the top lock nut, screw the blade bolt in until a snug fit and then loosen the blade bolt one half turn. Again if this is something you do not feel confident in doing yourself, you should take it to your approved dealer.
After every 25 hours of use you should grease the gearbox with appropriate lubricant.
Damage through dirt and use
The tasks your hedge trimmer will be performing will place it in situations where there is likely to be a lot of dust, dirt, and general natural debris, so ensure the fuel tank and especially the air filter is clean. This will prevent unwanted dirt finding its way into the engine. The most important switches on your machine need to be checked before actual use. That is the on-off switch and the throttle. Because your trimmer has quite a powerful engine the actual casing is going to feel quite a bit of vibration. Always check nuts and bolts are
screwed tight or replace where necessary. This vibration may also have an effect on the spark plug. Before using your hedge trimmer check the spark plug gap is the distance specified by the manufacturer.
Electric Hedge trimmers
Always check the length of the cord to the energy source for any cracks or cuts.
Fuel and carburettor area
If you have a petrol hedge trimmer you need to make sure that you have no leaks in the fuel line that lead to the carburettor. Also double check to make sure no cracks have appeared in the fuel tank itself as this can be a place where leaks will appear.
If you have a petrol hedge trimmer and you are going to store it away for a long periods of time it is important to empty out the petrol out beforehand. People often forget that petrol deteriorates. It will eventually turn to varnish and leave deposits in the engine. This of course will affect the engine badly. If you do not wish to take out the petrol you can always add a petrol stabiliser to the fuel. This will prevent petrol deterioration. Before storing away always make sure the trimmer is greased, clean and the blade cover is replaced. Now your trimmer is ready for next season.