Grass strimmer/brushcutter for brambles and long grass - clearing banks

03/05/2013 - 05:41

Can anyone recommend a reliable and easy to use grass trimmer/ brush cutter available in Italy or online to help in my task of tidying up the land around the house? We have banks with brambles too so it would need to be able to cut through this type of growth at an angle. Any ideas on preventing bramble regrowth? Once I've cleared the banks which are only 7 ft behind the back walls of the house (about 5-6 feet high) I'll be left with exposed earth and am trying to think of the most attractive but easy to maintain way of keeping these weed free long-term so it's not a constant job. Any thoughts?



a powerful 'man's' strimmer will do the job.  You can get blades to cut through brambles and saplings. You can also get chain flails but I haven't tried those yet. For anything more grass-like I always revert to the nylon line strimmer head as the cutting width is big and one soon gets used to restringing the reel head. Don't do more than an hour or two per day or you might get a dead hand throught the vibration.  If you cut back the brambles etc every year they eventually just give up and grass takes over.

You only get what you pay for.... We bought a cheap Excel machine and it burnt out within the year, mind you we did have some heavy duty work on about 50x the amount of land, which was well over grown. From what you describe, our Italian neighbour did a similar job on a bank with brambles last year. He went along it and every 3m or so poured petrol, went back setting a light to each area... I'm sure he knew the wind direction was just right and did it early in the year when you can set fires. It seemed to work very well, but  perhaps the strimmer would be safer. We replaced the above with a McCulloch, which I believe here in Europe is now owned by Husqvarna AB. The engine is Husqvarna and I would not have bought it had it been McCulloch based on web reviews. Difference with the first we bought is the fact it starts first time and never cuts out and just sounds right all the time. As to attachments, we did use the death star on it to start with, but then found 4mm nylon quad shaped is very, very heavy duty and does almost anything. Think brambles however may need the blade, our machine came with one.

SteveGW's comment brought back memories.  I once worked in the lawnmower/chainsaw repair shop in Takapuna New Zealand and there was a large dent in the wall after one of the guys rebuilt a McCulloch chain saw about 4 times and finding it still wouldn't start he threw it across the workshop in a fit of temper.

I would say whatever you buy, buy locally from your regular strimmer/equipment seller (ie not a big DIY store) and you'll always have someone to repair or service it in the future. I agree you get what you pay for. The Stihl website if very useful to give you an idea of what power yuo will need for that kind of job even if you end up with a different make.

Brambles are a pain and not only because of their thorns. The problem is that you can cut them back and then pul out the stumps and roots... and you are never sure whether you have managed to eliminate the entire root system. then, they quicly regrow and you start all over again. I always wonder why we insist on growing ornamentals instead of weeds. they certainly do much better. There is special machinery that excavate and rotate the soil, but again, some roots may remain.  Then, there are weed killers, such as Glyphosate (Glifosato in Italian) with all their dangers, but they will be effective in controlling a specific area. The most "natural" way to control brambles would be to get a few goats. They love brambles and they will pull out even the roots; however, they will also pull outany other plants and bushes. They are not "selective". And I agree with the others, in machinery, you always get what you paid for. And don't forget to burn the brambles you have trimmed or pulled out. Otherwise, you are simply propagating them.

Dont spend less than 400 euros because itll be rubbish.  Get petrol and at least 4hp.   You can get a 'bike chain' attachment now which are good for branbles or a disk- dont bother with nylon for brambles.  Better still get a donkey and a goat

I would also recommend long gloves.  Our friends in southern Marche told us about someone who died last year from a viper bite on his hand.  While working in the grass, he hadn't realized that he had been bitten.  By the time he realized that something was wrong, it was too late.

Roundup to most. If you are happy using such stuff, you might have to treat them a few times, but it will kill them, treat when in full growth. Or take a sample to the local Agri shop and they will provide something (very expensive no doubt) to kill them.

Thanks so much - especially for the advice about watching out for a viper or two! I'm not a serial weed killer - hate the thought of being considered the type who sterilises everything! - it's only for the overgrowth really close to the house and as much as anything I'm trying to clear areas where moquitos can breed undisturbed. Believe you me, we have donated much of our land directly over to the wildlife and am pretty sure enough brambles will remain to provide for plenty of jam making! Would late March/early April be considered too late to plant olive trees in Lazio do you think?

Hi, With reference to your request for info on which strimmer to buy. I decided after much speculating to buy the Honda model which is 4 stroke and therefor not requiring a 2 stroke mix and less fumes. I used it as a grass/weed cutter prior to buying a mower and I can safely say it has served me well. I was also able to use it for quite a while with out too much trouble. Switching it from left to right hand. I purchased it of a supplier through Italian Ebay which turned out to be a UK company so all my queries were sorted and delivery was a similar price to buying it in the UK.

Thanks David - will take a look at the Honda. Strickly speaking we are Rieti....Casaprota in the Sabina Mountains. Really happy with this area, kind neighbours and and just can't believe Rome is so close but this area so unspoilt!

Roundup and many other DIY pesticides contain Glysophate, made by companies like Monsanto, who created Agent Orange for the Vietnam war which not only cleared entire forests, but left Vietnamese with horrendous physical deformities and illnesses.Think very hard before you put poison onto plants, even if they are weeds.