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  • A mini weed whacker


    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_2214.JPG Views:	112 Size:	1.45 MB ID:	1945621

    The back story: we have an infestation of Garlic Mustard. It's an invasive alien plant that crowds out and poisons native plants. It spreads like crazy and there are 3 ways to control it: pulling it up is most effective (duh), but when you have thousands of them scattered over 2 acres, it's not practical. RoundUp will do it, but there's so much collateral destruction that it's not reasonable. Cutting them works and even if it's not as effective, it's what I'm doing. I use a full size string trimmer (16" diameter) when I can, but it's heavy & awkward in crowded spots. And it can't reach into that bramble patch to get the Garlic Mustard that's hiding there. So I made a mini trimmer. It's 3' long with a 1/4" drive shaft driven by a cordless Dremel and with a tiny 4" string.

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    The bearing carrier:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_2137.JPG Views:	116 Size:	48.1 KB ID:	1945620 There are 3 bearings, but there needs to be more, as there is a strong vibration.

    I made an adapter that threads onto the Dremel shaft, with a 5/32 hex socket soldered in. The drive shaft was ground to hex 5/32. The outside adapter was threaded to fit the Dremel nose and the tube is an interference fit over it. The tube is thin wall (0.035) aluminum for light weight. With the short 4" string I expected to have to run it at a very high rpm (10,000) to get the tip speed needed. But it turns out the that plant is delicate enough that a lower speed works fine.

    It works just as I hoped it would. It is easily maneuvered and an effective cutter. But certainly too slow for large patches of weeds. The aluminum tube is from my junk pile and I couldn't resist polishing it. Now I have to wear gloves to use it, as otherwise:
    Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_2145.JPG Views:	117 Size:	86.5 KB ID:	1945622 I guess that I'll give up the shine and paint it.
    Last edited by Bob Engelhardt; 06-06-2021, 10:07 AM.

  • #2
    Now that is slick indeed!
    Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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    • #3
      Nice.

      BTW, I use Roundup myself, mostly on certain very invasive stuff (the worst is a bulb plant called "Bethlehem Star" that would be a great early flower if it did not take over).

      My "trick" is that I use it with a PAINTBRUSH..... I can get the roundup on the plant I want to get rid of, and not get much if any collateral damage. OK, I know all too much about garlic mustard, and there can be an awful lot of it, you never have one, it's always at least dozens, if not hundreds or more.. But, hitting it with a paintbrush is a lot easier than pulling it, so you have a sporting chance of doing it, even with thousands of plants. I can hit 25 or 30 plants per minute with enough roundup to do the job.

      The good thing is that you can get the bottom of the leaves, which is often much better as far as getting the glyphosate into the plant's system as the underside of the leaves has the "stomata".

      Likely a good thing to wear gloves, but it works very well. No need to 'detail paint" the plants, usually a quick swipe on the new growth areas gets enough on a plant to kill it.
      2730

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan


      It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

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      • #4
        There are herbicide applicators made not unlike a paintbrush but fed from a knapsack reservoir also useful for eliminating rogue plants in large fields are gloves with a sponge pad on the palm also fed from a knapsack reservoir of herbicide. Grasping the plant, flexing your palm operates a small suction bladder that draws the herbicide onto the sponge.
        West Sussex UK

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        • #5
          For the applicators, google "weed wiper" - often towed behind a quad, they have a reservoir of weedkiller and some form of wide roller that the weed killer drips on. It brushes over the taller weeds, leaving the smallers stuff untouched. Easy enough for the typical HSM'er to cobble together.

          Ian
          All of the gear, no idea...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
            Nice.

            BTW, I use Roundup myself, mostly on certain very invasive stuff (the worst is a bulb plant called "Bethlehem Star" that would be a great early flower if it did not take over).

            My "trick" is that I use it with a PAINTBRUSH.....
            That's an idea I'd not thought of.

            So how much does it actually take? Does just swiping the underside of a couple of leaves on each plant apply enough to any given plant to kill it? I have heard of the weed wipers like Ian B mentioned but never made the connection of reducing the idea to a paintbrush. There is some elegant simplicity there.

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            • #7
              That's a cool idea but how do you change or lengthen the line ???
              I couldn't see having to loosen a set screw and slip a new piece of line in every time it breaks.

              I tried a similar idea with a string trimmer years ago. I made a disc that mounted in place of the head. I clamped two pieces of 1/8" stainless wire rope to it. Each about 6" long. It worked great for about five minutes and then the wire rope became all frayed untwisted and messed up. I tried fusing the strands (TIGging them) at the end but that didn't help any either.

              JL..............

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JoeLee View Post
                That's a cool idea but how do you change or lengthen the line ???
                I couldn't see having to loosen a set screw and slip a new piece of line in every time it breaks.
                So far the line has not worn or break like it does on full size trimmers. Either the conditions are different or I haven't used it enough to experience it. Time will tell.

                I tried a similar idea with a string trimmer years ago. I made a disc that mounted in place of the head. I clamped two pieces of 1/8" stainless wire rope to it. Each about 6" long. It worked great for about five minutes and then the wire rope became all frayed untwisted and messed up. I tried fusing the strands (TIGging them) at the end but that didn't help any either.

                JL..............
                One of the first things that I tried with my mini was to use small wire rope. Like yours, my trial was a failure. Mine unraveled and broke - too stiff, I suppose.

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                • #9
                  Sounds like you should be cultivating it and selling it to restaurants.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arcane View Post
                    Now that is slick indeed!
                    Thanks ... I love appreciation!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
                      Nice.

                      BTW, I use Roundup myself, mostly on certain very invasive stuff (the worst is a bulb plant called "Bethlehem Star" that would be a great early flower if it did not take over).

                      My "trick" is that I use it with a PAINTBRUSH..... I can get the roundup on the plant I want to get rid of, and not get much if any collateral damage. OK, I know all too much about garlic mustard, and there can be an awful lot of it, you never have one, it's always at least dozens, if not hundreds or more.. But, hitting it with a paintbrush is a lot easier than pulling it, so you have a sporting chance of doing it, even with thousands of plants. I can hit 25 or 30 plants per minute with enough roundup to do the job.

                      The good thing is that you can get the bottom of the leaves, which is often much better as far as getting the glyphosate into the plant's system as the underside of the leaves has the "stomata".

                      Likely a good thing to wear gloves, but it works very well. No need to 'detail paint" the plants, usually a quick swipe on the new growth areas gets enough on a plant to kill it.

                      I do use a paintbrush & glyph. on some plants, but there are just too many of the G-M to do that much bending. The weeds that I paint are Oriental bittersweet, grapes, & poison ivy. The grapes & large bittersweet are best killed by cutting close in the fall and painting the stub with concentrated glyph. Interestingly, the small (1/4" diam) bittersweet is not killed and sends out new vines in the spring.

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                      • #12
                        What about a weed burner?
                        21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
                        1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bob Engelhardt View Post
                          ....................Interestingly, the small (1/4" diam) bittersweet is not killed and sends out new vines in the spring.
                          I have found that in some cases, if the glyphosate is mixed too strong, it seems to kill the peripheral parts, but that seems to keep it from getting drawn down to kill the entire plant. Mixing weaker can be better.

                          So it may be that the small plants have such an effect going on of killing the peripheral parts . Don't have that plant as a problem, so no clue.

                          A small amount of soap in the solution keeps it from just beading up on some plants. Ones with waxy coatings seem to be much harder to kill. That could be it also. I think there is some amount of such material in the Roundup, but not enough for some plants.
                          2730

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan


                          It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I like the mini trimmer idea a lot. Polishing, then regretting made me smile.

                            In production Ag. we use Roundup Powermax. Good stuff if you can get the full strength non-homeowner grade version. Lots of detergent and surfactant to get into the weed. 22-48oz per acre (43,567sq. ft.) in 10 gallons of water. 5 gallons of solution would be even better but it’s pretty tough to get a nice even spray pattern that won’t drift at that low a rate.

                            There is a lot of truth in the idea of a light even coat giving a slow but thorough kill. Click image for larger version  Name:	25D98EDB-FA75-4B46-AE95-567EC8707657.jpeg Views:	3 Size:	1.84 MB ID:	1945791

                            On edit:There are plenty of tough weeds especially biannual and perennial that shrug off roundup. Not to mention the poor job of resistance management demonstrated by the entire industry which has resulted in the completely predictable selection for Roundup resistance in some weed species once easily and cheaply controlled by glyphosate. Ugh!
                            Last edited by SVS; 06-07-2021, 05:47 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I use a scythe

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