Hints & Tips
Any museum of rural life will include displays of old country tools, and among them will be viscous-looking scythes up to six feet long with an ash handle and metal blade.
There was a great art in swinging a scythe, with the knees slightly bent and a steady sweep and it was necessary to stop every few yards to sharpen the blade.
It might look easy in ancient, stuttering black and white films but it was back-breaking work especially on hot days.
Thankfully those old scythes are now the stuff of history as modern-day powerful brushcutters and scythe bar and flail mowers make controlling longer areas of grass and scrub far easier.
And as this is the time of year when many start this essential gardening job, here are ten top machines to make life a lot easier than bending over a metal scythe on a hot day.
The first is one for smaller areas but it nevertheless man enough to tackle long grass and brambles.
The Einhell GE-BC 43 AS Low-Vibration Brushcutter + Free Kit, on special offer, is a real value machine as it has been designed to do what it says, keep engine vibrations to a minimum.
To do this it is made with triple rubber shock mounts and a double bearing crankshaft. This also has the effect of prolonging the machine’s working life.
And a shoulder harness also makes it more comfortable to use over longer periods.
It has a 42.7cc engine which starts up readily and an aluminium shaft to resist corrosion.
It has both a strimming head for lawn edges and a metal blade for the rough stuff and is delivered free the next working day with a free helmet, face guard and ear defenders, free fuel mixing bottle and free work gloves worth together over £40.
You can also but 126 metres of spare strimming line for £19.99 if ordered at the same time.
It costs £229.95, a full £100 off the recommended price and has a two-year warranty.
The Oleo-Mac BC430TL Premium Professional Brushcutter has a 44cc Emak engine and has been designed for the professional and owners of large gardens and small estates.
The engine has a top quality filter to guard against dust getting into the engine and is supplied with a double shoulder harenss and ‘chopper; style handlebars which are less tiring in prolong use.
As well as having a tough metal blade with three cutting teeth it has a twin-line strimming head with the maker’s Load&Go line replacement which takes less than 20 seconds.
It is priced at £449.95, £150 less than the recommended price and is delivered free the next working day.
This machine has a three-year warranty.
Now one of our own which has been a best-seller for some years.
The MD Tondu Wheeled Trimmer Mower is a really versatile machine, easy to wheel through the roughest areas and has a strimming head out front with thick nylon line to cut through thick overgrown weeds likes banks of nettles and reeds.
And it can also be used on roadside and driver verges and the banks of ditches as it is very easy to control.
The engine driving the strimming head is 4-stroke and 160cc and with it low, snub nose it can be pushed under low branches and can work close to stone walls and trees as the nylon line will not cause any damage.
This is a very rugged little machine with 14in wheels and thick rubber tyres and it has a working width of 56cm with adjustable working heights from 35mm to 70mm.
Delivered with five sets of replacement line, it costs £299, £30 less than the recommended price and is delivered free the next working day with a two-year warranty.
You can also but a further ten sets of line for an additional £20.
And as a special offer there is an MD safety helmet with ear muffs and face guard for £19.95.
This one is a similar machine, but has the advantage that it is self propelled and is started with a key rather than a cord.
The DR TR4 Pro-XL Self-Propelled Wheeled Trimmer Mower – Electric Start (DRMP57) can handle really tough areas like brambles and grose as well as forest-like vegitation and is powered by a Briggs & Stratton 190cc engine.
The transmission is variable speed so it can handle rougher ground and you can work at the speed which best suits the conditions and vegitation.
There are five cutting heights from 38mm to 89mm and does its job using extra heavy duty cutting cord.
The cutter head is offset so you can cut right up to the edges of walls and fences and is built on a heavy duty steel frame.
A cutting blade is available as an optional extra.
It costs £959, is delivered free the next working day and has a two-year warranty.
Now the first of the mechanised scythes, much safer and easier to use than the old Allen scythes some of you may remember which were lumbering, heavy machines and very difficult to control
Al-Ko BM875III Scythe Bar Mower which is delivered the next working day fully assembled will cut through the thickest weeds and scrub including brambles which will take over unless kept cut back.
It has a 190cc Briggs & Stratton engine designed for very fast starting and this powers an 87cm cutting blade.
This blade has edge-protection so you won’t damage it when working close to walls and it can be height adjusted.
The handlebars are adjustable to suit the height of the user.
It costs £849, £50 off the recommended retail price and has a two-year warranty.
This next is a similar machine from an Italian manufacturer and is often the choice of professional gardeners and estate workers.
Bertolini 401 Scythe Mower has a 95cm cutter bar and can handle thick weeds and scrub with ease.
It can do this partly because of its 160cc Honda engine. This has gears sealed in an oil bath to ensure a longer, efficient working life.
This mower has a reverse gear as well as forward a very handy feature when cutting into dense scrub and in tight conditions.
The handlbars are adjustable for width as well as height and the whole machine has an efficient vibration damping system meaning less fatigue when working for longer periods.
This is a very versatile piece of equipment as a wide range of attachments can be fitted to extend it use.
It is delivered free within two to three working days complete with the cutter bar.
It costs £1599, £250 off the recommended price and has three-year warranty.
Here is another wheeled brushcutter and another from an Italian manufacturer.
Efco DR51-S6 Wheeled Brushcutter is ideal for cutting down large overgrown areas of thick weed and condensed vegetation and at its heart beats a 189cc Subaru engine delivering real power.
The dolly wheel at the front makes it very ease to use and gives excellent manoeuvrability. And the extra-large rear wheels give excellent grip and make turning in long grass less challenging.
The cutting width is 51cm and the cutting height is adjustable from 53mm to 116mm.
This is a substantial machine made for areas up to 2000m2.
It costs £739 compared with the recommended price of £919 and it delivered free within two to three working days.
There is a three year warranty from the manufacturer.
Finally machines made to cut through and clear unkempt land which is running to scrub.
The DR Premier 24 Field & Brush Mower can cut through 2in saplings growing in copses and unkempt fields as well as the thickest vegetation.
It has a 9.6hp Briggs & Stratton engine with two forward and reverse gear so you can back out of awkward corners where the thickest weeds and young trees often take root.
It can do this thanks to extra thick-tread tyres which means it can also deal with rough and muddy conditions.
Both drive and blade are stopped when controls are released so you can drive the machine around in safety.
It costs £1899 and is delivered free within two to three working days.
The versatility of this machine means you can buy other attachments like a 42in snow blade, and a bladeless mower attachment.
This is the previous machine’s big brother, the DR ProXL-26 20ES B & S Field and Brush Mower.
Designed and built in the USA, it is made to be used in overgrown paddocks, orchards and the like and has a Briggs & Stratton 17.6hp twin-cylinder engine and will cut down saplings and other growth up to 6cm in diameter,
It has four forward and one reverse gears and a differential lock which will give extra traction when needed.
The cutting deck is 66cm wide and pivots 12 degrees both sides to help the blade track the terrain more closely.
Wide tyres with deep treads give excellent grip.
The machine is delivered free within two to three working days and arrives fully assembled and ready to go.
It has a two-year warranty and costs £2899.
And finally, one made for the largest private gardens and estates.
The Efco DR65-HR8.5 Professional Flail Mower will handle the thickest vegetation and can also take on very muddy areas and sloping verges and the banks of drainage ditches.
This one is fitted with a 270cc Honda engine designed for a long agricultural life.
The secret is a set of Y-shaped flail blades which will hack through established scrub and bushes like gorse and thorn as well as dealing with saplings.
Cutting heights are adjustable from 20mm to 80mm and it has a four speed gear box with an oil bath and reinforced casing. The working width is 65cm.
The front wheels pivot to give it great manoeuvrability and the steering bar is adjustable and holds all the controls.
It costs £3295 compared with the recommended price of £3995, is delivered free within two to three working days and it has a three year warranty.
So you can see that we’ve moved well away from the old days of hand-wielded scythe and unreliable machines which could trundle away on their own and were heavy and difficult to control, even for really heavy-duty ones.
Please give us a ring if you are unsure which one is best for you. We’re on 08454 588905 during normal office hours.