Weeding Potato Beds Using a Trimmer (Lawn Mowing)

The classic trimmer is an electric hand-held lawn mower that is powered by a mains or battery. Sometimes they call the trimmer a lawn mower. a more powerful lawn mower with a gasoline two- or four-stroke engine.

The design and purpose of these devices are very similar, but it is better to use a lawn mower to process the beds, since the electric trimmer motor is not designed for serious and long-term loads.

Weeding potatoes with a trimmer in organic farming

While chemists are developing more and more toxic herbicides, and weeds are adapting to them safely, proponents of organic farming argue that the soil needs to be loosened as little as possible, and traditional weeding is generally a futile task.

Weeds assimilates the beneficial substances with which gardeners fertilize the beds. If weed weeds are removed from the site, the earth will lose a certain amount of trace elements. And if you cut the stems of weed grass under the root (but only until the seeds are formed) and leave to dry on the beds and in the aisles, they will play the role of mulch, attract useful worms and insects, and retain moisture. Of course, after some time new shoots will hatch from the roots. But only one weed will grow in the place of the cut, and if the weed is cut down (it is difficult to completely remove the roots from the ground), then a new plant will emerge from each piece.

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With periodic mowing of shoots of weeds, their roots will be exhausted and will die, and there will be nowhere to come from for a new weed, unless the wind will bring seeds. The only exception is the old wheatgrass, whose roots must be carefully weathered, as they are able to pierce potato tubers through.

Another method of organic farming is the sowing of green manure. Rye, barley, oats, phacelia significantly improve the soil structure (and weeds are suppressed at the same time), but they need to be mowed when the potato seedlings reach 15–20 cm in height.

Beds mulch with cut stems of green manure, and the roots die and rot during the season. It is more convenient and quicker to mow weeds or green manure with a trimmer: this is less likely to damage cultivated plants.

Nozzles on the trimmer for weeding potatoes

For cutting weeds and green manure, it is better to use a lawn mowing machine or trimmer, in which the electric motor is located in the upper part: then the device can work in wet grass. In the aisles, they are usually mowed with a trimmer head with fishing line (Fig. 1). It is noted that weeds mowed by fishing line with a circular cross section grow slower than after cutting with a cord with a cross section in the form of an asterisk.

Weeding Potato Beds Using a Trimmer (Lawn Mowing)

Fig. 1

Video: Weeding Potato Beds Using a Trimmer (Lawn Mowing)

Sometimes a three-blade knife is used to cut weeds (Fig. 2). But metal knives are worn only on straight-bar trimmers, if it is curved, plastic nozzles are used. The problem is that if the knife in motion stumbles upon a solid object, the trimmer will bounce back or even crack. Models with a curved bar are equipped with plastic knives.

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Fig. 2

Weeding potatoes with a lawn mowing head with a cultivator

Fig. 3

The nozzle width, diameter and number of cutters directly depend on the power of the trimmer motor. If you use too large a cultivator, the engine may overheat. Typically, the instructions for the nozzle indicate for which trimmers or lawn mowers it is intended. If the power of the lawn mowers is less than 2.5 liters. s., and there is no cultivator in the kit, it’s dangerous to use the separately purchased nozzle: this will significantly reduce the service life of the equipment.

Manually making a nozzle is not recommended, as it is difficult to choose its width and diameter of the cutters so that the trimmer motor is not damaged. The same rule applies to milling machines as for a mowing knife: a collision with a solid object will break the lawn mowers. Potatoes should not be trimmed with lawn mowing or trimmer on heavy clay soils.

It happens that the Chinese nozzle on the trimmer for weeding potatoes wedges after 10-15 minutes of work. To prevent an accident, experienced gardeners recommend thoroughly treating all rubbing parts of the cultivator with silicone grease before the first use.

Rules for weeding potatoes with a trimmer

  1. Before starting work, it is necessary to wear glasses and a respirator: the mills rotate very quickly, creating a cloud of dust and small pieces of grass;
  2. Watering should be done when the weeds are still very small and have not had time to take root. Since weeding with a trimmer takes several times less time than manual labor, it is better to process the beds every 7-14 days. When the tops of potato bushes close in rows, weeding is no longer needed;
  3. For weeding, it is recommended to choose a sunny morning. Then the weeds uprooted during the heat of the day will fade and turn into mulch;
  4. According to the principles of organic farming, it is impossible to deepen cutters more than 0.5-1.5 cm. With this method of processing, the dried crust breaks, and the top layer of soil on the beds is saturated with oxygen and nitrogen, which is very useful for the growth of tubers;
  5. Milling cutters cannot be deepened because if you press too hard on the trimmer, the motor will overheat and break;
  6. When weeding with a trimmer with a low-power engine, it is recommended to take a break every 10 to 15 minutes to allow the motor to cool;
  7. At the end of the season, the nozzle is thoroughly wiped with a disinfectant (a solution of bleach, potassium permanganate or copper sulphate), as potato pathogens can remain on it. If there were cases of diseases on the site, then this operation is performed after each use of the cultivator.
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Nozzle repair and milling replacement

A broken mill can be replaced by a self-made one, turning a circle from a sheet of metal, cutting and bending the blades. But the diameter of the new part should not be larger than the diameter of the old. In no case should additional mills be put on the axis of the nozzle.