Reaching the Sky with a Telescope
I have a problem with my neighbours, they don’t know what it means to have a tidy garden, they have hedges that grow to the sky and a rampant Russian vine that will wind itself into every tree and shrub in my garden. I similarly have some trees around my allotment that are putting on too much growth and blocking the sun from my vegetables. Cutting something at a height can be difficult, and working in somebody else’s garden when not appreciated can have an extremely uncomfortable after taste to our otherwise good relationship.
The answer to both problems is a long reach hedge cutter, no ladder is needed – just stand on the ground and cut at a height. There are some hedge cutters with longer blades on the market but they would still get me nowhere near my destination, what I was looking for was a telescopic handled hedge cutter.
I now had three options, electric, petrol or battery. Obviously electric is the easiest to use (with a power breaker of course, especially with all the wet weather we are having) , but that would not help me on the allotment as we have no source of electricity. The second option is a petrol powered one, which is usually the most powerful, but for my use there are too many draw backs, – my wife also likes having a chance, and pulling the cord of the starter is definitely a man’s job, the noise is deafening (that’s why they advise you to buy a set of ugly ear muffs) and it would definitely arouse the neighbours ire, and they tend to be expensive, heavy and smokey (if you don’t get the correct petrol / oil mix). So my only option was the battery operated telescopic hedge cutter – a newcomer to the market with only four manufacturers to choose from.
Black and Decker – have a classic orange model which retails at £120 (on offer) – I could only find it in their own outlets which makes it difficult to obtain and leaves no room for price competition.
Flymo – also have a model in classic orange Flymo colours, also with a price tag of £120, but it is widely available on Amazon at a reduced price of £95.
I found another two on Amazon sold by less common household names;
One sold by GTECH at £187, and the other by Garden Gear @£79 incl. delivery.
I felt the one sold by GTECH was out of my price range, this is not a tool that I will be using regularly and for occasional use £187 was too much to spend at the moment.
Although they all have 18V rechargeable batteries the Flymo still has the old fashioned Nicad type battery, these loose their charge when not in use. I find this a major drawback, because if you just decide to do a little job now you will have to wait for it to recharge. The others have a modern Lithium – ion battery which does not lose its charge by just sitting around and would therefore be ready whenever needed.
This drawback removed the Flymo from the semi- finals, I was now down to the final choice . I chose the Garden Gear over the Black & Decker (my wife says because it was £16 cheaper!) but really it was because the Black & Decker has only 12mm cutting teeth whilst the Garden Gear has 16mm cutting teeth, when cutting high up there you will often encounter slightly thicker twigs and the wider teeth are definitely a plus.
It arrived within a couple of days ,and it worked well, the problem is that since the motor is on the top of the pole it can feel quite heavy, although the extra sling shoulder belt does help, – my advice is to do just a small section at a time (and the neighbours won’t even notice!).
As it saved me buying a new ladder and stretching over into private territory, I think it is quite a good investment as stretching from a ladder with a heavy tool can be a dangerous acrobatic feat. This way I can keep my feet steady on the ground with my head facing the clouds.
Boris Legarni .