Are Your Edging Skills ‘Certifiable’?

Do you think you and your crewmates can run neck and neck with the best landscape technicians in the industry? Do you operate trimmers, edgers and other handheld tools like true professionals, or just a bunch of hacks?

The following are excerpts from the Turf Maintenance Principles chapter of the “Employee Training Manual for Landscape Technicians”, produced by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC). This is the second edition of the manual; publication date this coming fall. Take a look and see if your knowledge and skills are worthy of being labeled as Landscape Industry Certified.

String Trimmer Operation

Always read operator’s manual before operating a string trimmer.

Wear eye and ear protection, long pants and footwear. Be sure footwear meets government-recommended safety standards.

Inspect string shields and shut-off switches before starting. Check the surrounding area to be sure there are no people or animals nearby. Keep hands, face and feet clear of rotating trimming line at all times.

Place yourself in a proper starting position with stable footing and the trimmer on the ground before pulling the starting rope.

Grip trimmer firmly with both handles while operating. Avoid over-reaching and maintain good balance at all times.

Immediately turn trimmer off and check for damage if it strikes a foreign object or becomes entangled. Make repairs before restarting. Stop operating when the hub or spool is broken.

Avoid extending trimming line beyond the length stated in the operator’s manual as this can cause injury or damage to the engine.

Edger Operation

Edging provides a more finely manicured appearance than can be accomplished with mowers or string trimmers. Operate edgers with special care as they can damage concrete flagstone, brick, asphalt, wood and sprinkler heads.

Always read operator’s manual before operating an edger.

Wear eye and ear protection, long pants and footwear. Be sure footwear meets government recommended standards.

Always operate an edger with guards and other safety devices intact and keep it on the ground while starting.

Remove rocks or other debris from the work area to reduce the potential for damage, vehicles, buildings, etc. or injury to pedestrians.

For information on how to become Landscape Industry Certified, visit and click on the logo.